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Career and Education Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners in Alexandria, Virginia

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for nurse practitioners in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for nurse practitioners 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.

A person working as a nurse practitioner can expect to earn about $33 per hour or $70,190 per year on average in Virginia and about $31 hourly or $65,880 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for nurse practitioners are better than in the overall category of Nursing in Virginia, and better than the overall Nursing category nationally. People working as nurse practitioners can fill a number of jobs, such as: neonatal nurse practitioner, neurosurgical nurse practitioner, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can study to be a nurse practitioner, among eighty-four schools of higher education total in the Alexandria area. Nurse practitioners usually hold a Master's degree, so 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 Alexandria 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

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a master's degree and a post-master's certificate program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner which graduated nine and zero students respectively in 2008.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has a master's degree program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner which graduated two 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: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.