One of the most serious issues in the health care industry is the ongoing shortage of nurses. Due to factors ranging from stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic to overwhelming workloads, many nurses have resigned from the profession, worsening a shortage expected to last at least through 2030. Additionally, as America’s population ages, it needs more care — and more nurses to deliver that care. It’s clear that the nursing shortage is straining the health care system to its limits.
The silver lining? With nurses in shorter supply, opportunities abound for advanced practice nurses to further their careers and supply vital patient care. Often, these opportunities correspond to specific types of care, such as psychiatric mental health or adult-gerontology.
One way for nurses to become competitive candidates for these opportunities is to explore nurse practitioner (NP) certificate programs, allowing them to focus on specific types of clinical competency. The question is, which online NP program is best suited to help nurses advance their careers? It all depends on their career goals.
What Is an NP Post-Master’s Certificate?
Becoming an advanced practice nurse, and specifically, a nurse practitioner, requires a robust education, including completion of a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program or higher. By pursuing an MSN, nurses can hone clinical skills that qualify them to provide acute care for their patients and to sit for NP examinations.
NP post-master’s certificates are additional educational credentials, typically centered on a narrower field of health care. For example, an NP may decide to pursue a post-master’s certificate that focuses on pediatric care or diabetes care. These programs can give nurse practitioners a chance to develop new skills, expand their practice, and ultimately earn a valuable certification.
What’s Covered in an NP Post-Master’s Certificate Program?
In an NP post-master’s certificate program, nurses can develop a number of key skills that can help further their careers. Some of the curricula will vary from program to program, depending on the area of specialization. For example, a certificate program focused on mental health care might include training on performing a psychiatric evaluation, something that may not be included in other programs.
The following subjects are covered in most post-master’s certificate programs.
- Pharmacology: A typical NP program will include advanced training in how different pharmaceuticals work and interact, preparing nurses for broader prescriptive powers.
- Nurse leadership: NPs often supervise registered nurses (RN), making it vital to develop some basic leadership skills.
- Advanced health assessment: Because NPs often play a primary care role, being equipped to perform comprehensive health assessments is invaluable.
- Health promotion and disease prevention: NP programs also offer insight into promoting wellness and encouraging healthy lifestyles, equipping NPs to educate their patients.
Post-Master’s Certificate Professional Pathways
There are a number of professional specializations that may be pursued following the completion of a post-master’s certificate. Consider a few of the most common examples.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
In the pediatric nurse practitioner role, nurses care for infants, children, and adolescents, sometimes extending into early adulthood. The PNP’s role may involve conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, developing treatment plans, and educating patients about wellness promotion and disease prevention. The annual median salary for the PNP role is about $93,000 as of April 2022, according to the compensation data source Payscale.
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
The family nurse practitioner deals with patients of all ages, providing acute and primary care including examinations, diagnoses, treatments, pharmaceutical interventions, and wellness promotion. Payscale reports an annual median salary of about $98,000 for this role in April 2022.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
The PMHNP provides treatment and care for patients who suffer from mental health disorders, including substance abuse. For this role, Payscale reports an annual median salary of roughly $113,000 in April 2022.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
NPs who focus on women’s health may provide a wide spectrum of care, including primary, gynecological, and obstetrical care. The median annual salary is approximately $96,000 as of April 2022, according to Payscale.
Adult Gerontology – Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
NPs in this position offers primary care to adults of all ages, often focusing on issues specific to the aging process, such as memory care. The annual median salary is approximately $90,000 as of April 2022, according to Payscale.
Adult Gerontology – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
This adult gerontology role focuses on acute care needs that arise in older patients, which can include complications related to diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and more. Payscale notes an annual median salary of about $96,000 in May 2022.
Make a Difference in an Important Field
Advanced practice nurses play a critical role in the health care industry, delivering specialty care for various types of patients at every stage of life. One way to prepare for an advanced, specialized nursing role is to enroll in a post-master’s NP program.
The Regis College online Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing program includes specializations related to psychiatric mental health, pediatric nursing, women’s health, and more, supplying the skills that NPs need to advance their clinical practice.
Learn more about these certificate opportunities today.