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Career and Education Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners in Lubbock, Texas

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for nurse practitioners in the Lubbock, Texas area. There are currently 3,370 working nurse practitioners in Texas; this should grow by 30% to about 4,390 working nurse practitioners in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for nurse practitioners, which sees this job pool growing by about 13.0% over the next eight years. In general, nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients.

Nurse practitioners earn approximately $30 hourly or $63,760 per year on average in Texas. Nationally they average about $31 per hour or $65,880 annually. Nurse practitioners earn more than people working in the category of Nursing generally in Texas and more than people in the Nursing category nationally. People working as nurse practitioners can fill a number of jobs, such as: psychiatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and neonatal nurse practitioner.

The Lubbock area is home to nine schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Lubbock where you can get a degree as a nurse practitioner. The most common level of education for nurse practitioners is a Master's degree. It will take about six years to learn to be a nurse practitioner if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Nurse Practitioner

In general, nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients. They also perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans and prescribe drugs or other therapies.

Nurse practitioners prescribe medication dosages and frequencies on the basis of patients' characteristics such as age and gender. They also recommend diagnostic or therapeutic interventions with attention to safety and efficacy. Equally important, nurse practitioners have to read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing. They are often called upon to confer with or refer patients to appropriate specialists when conditions exceed the scope of practice or expertise. They are expected to diagnose or treat complex, unstable or emergency conditions in collaboration with other health care providers as needed. Finally, nurse practitioners advocate for accessible health care that minimizes environmental health risks.

Every day, nurse practitioners are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

It is important for nurse practitioners to analyze and interpret patients' histories or diagnostic data to evolve appropriate diagnoses. They are often called upon to maintain complete and detailed records of patients' health care plans and prognoses. They also design treatment plans on the basis of scientific rationale, standards of care, and professional practice guidelines. They are sometimes expected to prescribe medications on the basis of efficacy and cost as legally authorized. Somewhat less frequently, nurse practitioners are also expected to perform routine or annual physical examinations.

Nurse practitioners sometimes are asked to diagnose or treat chronic health care problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They also have to be able to schedule follow-up visits to track patients or evaluate health or illness care and recommend interventions to modify behavior associated with health risks. And finally, they sometimes have to treat or refer patients for primary care conditions such as headaches, hypertension, urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, and dermatological conditions.

Like many other jobs, nurse practitioners must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Lubbock include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Physician Assistant. Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
  • Registered Nurse. Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required. Includes advance practice nurses such as: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nursing is practiced by RNs who have specialized formal, post-basic education and who function in highly autonomous and specialized roles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Nurse Practitioner Training

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 3601 4th Street, Room 3B305A, Lubbock, TX 79430-8305. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is a small university located in Lubbock, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,928 students. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has a master's degree program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner which graduated forty-five students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: AACN Certification Corporation has launched the ACNPC, an advanced practice certification examination for Acute Care Nurse Practitioners.

For more information, see the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses website.

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Long-Term Care: Long-Term Care certification is comprehensive in that it covers the entire life-span, from cradle to grave, for people that are chronically ill.

For more information, see the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc. website.

Orthopaedic Technologist Certified: The Orthopaedic Technologist Certified (OTC) are those individuals that have demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to work as an Orthopaedic Technologist Certified and who have passed the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists Certification Examination.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technololgists website.

Diplomate in Acupuncture: The NCCAOM has established three routes of eligibility for certification in Acupuncture.

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy: It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate (NCCAOM).

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Diplomate in Oriental Medicine: Earning a credential from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) represents a significant professional achievement.

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Nuclear Cardiology Technologist: Professional certification is a vital component of a successful career.

For more information, see the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock, Texas photo by Voltin

Lubbock is situated in Lubbock County, Texas. It has a population of over 220,483, which has grown by 10.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Lubbock, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Lubbock are priced at $171,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, nine hundred twenty-nine new homes were constructed in Lubbock, up from eight hundred eighty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Lubbock are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 26.6% of Lubbock residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lubbock is 5.3%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Lubbock residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 59.7%, is more than both the national and state average. Pentecostal Holiness Church, Philia Temple Church of God and Christ and Pilgrim Baptist Church are all churches located in Lubbock. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Lubbock is home to the South Overton Residential Historic District and the Kress Building as well as Lowery Field and Rocky Johnson Field. Visitors to Lubbock can choose from Barcelonacourt of Lubbock, Circus Inn and Carriage House Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.