Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman designated Nov. 11-17 as Nurse Practitioner week in recognition of the 837 nurse practitioners licensed in Nebraska.
Nurse practitioners, who diagnose and treat illnesses, manage chronic disease, and prescribe medication, have completed graduate-level education – either a master’s or doctoral degree – and 500 hours of clinical training.
To become licensed to practice in Nebraska, nurse practitioners hold national certification in specialty areas such as family, women’s health, mental health, pediatrics, adult/gerontology primary care, and adult/gerontology.
Experts are predicting an even greater need for NPs as the Affordable Care Act is implemented into practice. With the Affordable Care Act, many patients who were previously uninsured will enter the health care system and will require routine medical and preventive care.
Nearly two-thirds of Nebraska nurse practitioners work in hospitals (41.8 percent), physician’s offices or health clinics (26.7 percent), ambulatory care (8.2 percent), or nursing education (7.8 percent).
Creighton University and Clarkson College of Nursing in Omaha, and the UNMC College of Nursing, with sites in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Scottsbluff and Norfolk, offer educational programs for those wanting to become nurse practitioners.