Healthcare worker researches how to become a Nurse Practitioner in Mississippi
Healthcare worker researches how to become a Nurse Practitioner in Mississippi

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Mississippi

Now, let's review how to become a nurse practitioner in Mississippi.

Before you start the process, you must become a licensed RN in Mississippi or another state in the Nurse Licensure Compact. Make sure your RN license is current and unencumbered.

Also, consider your current level of nursing education. Many nurse practitioner programs require candidates to have a BSN.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that RNs earn a minimum of a BSN. Research compiled by the AACN links nursing preparation at the baccalaureate level and higher to:

  • Lower mortality rates.
  • Fewer medication errors.
  • Positive patient outcomes.

As a licensed RN with a BSN, you can get started on becoming a nurse practitioner in Mississippi.

Here's the process, according to the Mississippi Board of Nursing (BON):

  1. Be a licensed RN in Mississippi.
  2. Choose a nurse practitioner population focus.
  3. Complete a nurse practitioner program.
  4. Obtain nurse practitioner national board certification through examination.
  5. Get licensed as a Mississippi nurse practitioner.
  6. Find employment in Mississippi.

Step 1: Choose a Nurse Practitioner Population Focus

Your path to becoming a Mississippi nurse practitioner starts by choosing a population focus. This is an important step. According to the AANP, it ensures that your nurse practitioner education focuses on the clinical area in which you will ultimately practice.

Certified nurse practitioners are educated in one of six patient populations:

  • Family/Individual Across the Lifespan
  • Adult-Gerontology
  • Pediatrics
  • Neonatal
  • Women's Health
  • Psych/Mental Health

Almost 7 in 10 nurse practitioners nationwide are certified in family health. That’s more than any other patient population.

You can also choose a practice specialty, depending on your population focus. Specialties relate to the specific health care needs of a population. For example, an aspiring family nurse practitioner can prepare for certification in dermatology or cardiology.

Nurse practitioner programs educate candidates to become certified in a single patient population. However, certified nurse practitioners can seek additional education to become certified in multiple specialties or patient populations.

As you weigh the options, read on to learn why many nurses become family nurse practitioners.

Why Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?

Family nurse practitioners enjoy a broad scope of practice. As primary care providers, they treat acute and chronic illnesses and educate patients on disease prevention.

Unlike other nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners are educated to serve people across the lifespan. Their patients include infants, adolescents, adults and older adults.

The role has many benefits, including:

  • Broad Impact: Because they treat patients across the lifespan, family nurse practitioners can make a far-reaching impact on families and communities.
  • Positive Career Outlook: The growing demand for primary care providers means that family nurse practitioners benefit from ample job opportunities.
  • High Earning Potential: According to the AANP, the median total income of full-time family nurse practitioners is $114,000.

Explore more reasons to become a family nurse practitioner.

Your population focus and specialty area are personal decisions. Before deciding that, think about your clinical interests, career aspirations and the benefits of pursuing each area.

Step 2: Complete a Nurse Practitioner Program

Once you decide on a population focus, you can research and apply to nurse practitioner education programs.

The Mississippi BON requires licensed nurse practitioners to have graduated from a program granting a master's degree or post-master's degree. The latter includes post-master's certificates and doctorates.

In the U.S., there are more than 500 nursing schools and more than 2,000 graduate nursing programs. Consider the accreditation status and the type of degree that fits your educational background as you evaluate them.

Why Is Program Accreditation Important?

Mississippi nurse practitioner candidates must earn their nurse practitioner degrees from an accredited program. Accreditation is important because it demonstrates that a program provides a high-quality education.

The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes two nursing accreditation agencies – the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Certification boards and state boards of nursing accept both accreditations.

What Are the Types of Nurse Practitioner Education Programs?

There are three types of nurse practitioner education programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Post-master's Certificate

Master of Science in Nursing
Nurse practitioner programs at the master's level build on undergraduate nursing knowledge and skills. Graduates have an advanced understanding of nursing and, therefore, can practice at a higher level of the field.

Most MSN programs can be completed in 18 to 24 months of full-time study.

Doctor of Nursing Practice
The DNP pathway is ideal for aspiring nurse practitioners seeking a terminal degree in nursing.

Practice-focused DNP programs are similar to MSN programs in that they prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. However, earning a DNP will also prepare you to transform health care at the organization and systems levels.

In recent years, leading health care organizations have called for an increase in the number of nurses with doctoral degrees. The recommendation comes as the demand surges for nurse educators, nurse researchers, advanced practice nurses and nurse leaders.

DNP programs exist for nurses prepared at the BSN and MSN levels. Depending on your previous education, you can complete a DNP program in approximately three years.

Post-Master's Certificate
An MSN-prepared nurse can also become a nurse practitioner by earning a post-master's certificate.

These programs help candidates deepen their clinical skills and nursing knowledge for specialty practice. Post-master's certificates have a clinical focus because candidates already acquired other advanced nursing competencies, such as research and policy, through their MSN programs.

You can earn a post-master's certificate in one to two years.

What Is the Nurse Practitioner Curriculum?

Regardless of the degree type, the nurse practitioner curriculum is intensive and comprehensive.

You'll complete evidence-based coursework and clinical rotations, developing competencies in the following areas:

  • Scientific foundations of nursing practice
  • Leadership
  • Quality
  • Practice inquiry
  • Technology and information literacy
  • Health care policy
  • Health delivery systems
  • Ethics
  • Independent practice

Step 3: Obtain Nurse Practitioner National Certification through Examination

After completing a nurse practitioner education program, you'll be ready to obtain national certification.

Mississippi nurse practitioners must be credentialed by an approved certifying body. Two agencies grant nurse practitioner certification in the U.S. – the AANP Certification Board (AANPCB) and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

What Is the Certification Process?

The AANPCB and ANCC certifications require candidates to complete an online application and pass an exam. The latter will evaluate your knowledge and skills in your population focus and specialty area.

In Mississippi, the BON can provide a temporary state certification to graduate nurse practitioners preparing for the national certification exam. This credential allows them to work under the supervision of a licensed physician or licensed nurse practitioner with at least five years of experience.

Certification renewal takes place every five years following the respective process of each board.

Step 4: Get Licensed as a Mississippi Nurse Practitioner

Read further to learn how to finish becoming a nurse practitioner in Mississippi

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