The first Nurse Practitioner program was launched in response to the demand for accessible health care for children by the University of Colorado in 1965. This field of nursing is a combination of nursing and medicine into one scope of practice. Since the program was started, nurse practitioners were presented with endless opportunities career-wise. Their profession gave them authority, high income, and autonomy. They are highly sought by patients as they become a better alternative to physicians.

Their duties cover those that were only exclusive to physicians before. They are qualified to conduct physical examination, acquisition of medical histories for patients, provide diagnosis and treatment for chronic diseases and injuries, order and check diagnostic tests, and prescribe medicine.

Education and promotion of a healthy lifestyle are the two most important responsibilities of a nurse practitioner. Communication with compassion and understanding establishes a relationship with patients that make it easier to achieve their goals.

Some of nurse practitioners duties include the following:

1)      Assessment of health and medical histories to determine the right physical examination and preventive screening tests appropriate for the patient.

2)      Order, conduct and evaluate diagnostic tests

3)      Manage nursing care plan

Nurse practitioners are presented with opportunities to work independently with full autonomy. They may also choose to focus on one specialty in a field of nursing.

1)      Nurse Anesthetists work with surgeons and anesthesiologist during medical procedures to administer anesthesia to patients.

2)      Pediatrics Nurse Practitioners provide expert care to children, infants and young adults.

3)      Family Nurse Practitioners provide primary health care and usually the alternative to physicians.

4)      Geriatric Nurses provide long term care and treatment to elder adults either in hospitals or nursing homes and other community institutions.

5)      Neonatal Nurses diagnose and oversee care for newly born babies with birth defects or diseases.

6)      Nurse Midwife or OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner provides prenatal care to pregnant women and oversee the safe delivery of newborns.

7)      Other known specializations include pulmonology, endocrinology, neurology, gastroenterology, nephrology and cardiology.

Given the shortage of physicians, there is a greater need for more nurse practitioners. Hospitals, government agencies, long-term care facilities and other health care provider facilities seek their services. Furthering their studies also increase their chances of moving up into the career ladder; with better knowledge and skills, they become eligible for administrative and management roles in different clinical settings. Nurse practitioners are capable of working independently without supervision; they are qualified to do tasks without the approval or guidance of physicians. They are also listed as one of the highest paid professionals in the health care field with an annual pay that could be anywhere between $70,000 to $120,000 depending on the region they are based in, their specialization and their level of education.