As you move through your career you may be wondering about an advanced degree in healthcare and trying to figure out whether to be a NP or get an MBA (Master’s degree in Business Administration) in Healthcare.
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse with a graduate degree in advanced practical nursing; either a Master’s or Doctorate (DNP or PhD). Nurse practitioners are known as advanced practical nurses (APRNs) and, if they have a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, can be referred to as DNPs. Their daily practice closely resembles that of a doctor. With their many years of training, they are qualified and licensed to provide a wide array of health services to their patients, such as initiating and managing treatments, performing thorough examinations, diagnosing diseases and conditions, performing/assisting in minor surgical procedures, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing medications (where permitted) and providing counseling and education.
NPs either serve as primary care providers to adults, children and families or specialize in a particular area of medicine. They are trained in nursing, focusing on an evidence-based approach to addressing a patient’s mental, social, and physical needs to bring about long-term wellness (the bio-psycho-social model). In terms of achieving positive outcomes for patients, research shows that nurse practitioners are as successful as physicians. A career as a nurse practitioner is really rewarding for someone who is compassionate, and values responsibility and intellectual stimulation.
So if you want to work directly with patients then it is worth training to be an NP.
However, as health care reform transforms the economics of medicine, it is important to know about business. Those who want to use their business skills in the area of healthcare would be more suited to earning an MBA. MBA in Nursing degree programs take two years to complete. Students learn advanced nursing theories that enable them to take top-level administrative or managerial positions in the field of nursing, management or healthcare administration. Instead of dealing directly with patients (as a nurse does), a person with an MBA could work as a hospital administrator working behind the scenes to make sure a hospital is offering first-rate services to patients, managing a hospital’s budget, acquiring equipment and handling personnel issues. They can work in different healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and labs and can find employment in policy making in governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Both would lead to rewarding work. A person working as a nurse may love helping patients. They may be intrigued by the science behind different medications and procedures. On the other hand, a person working as a hospital administrator or in a related job within healthcare may feel proud of being able to handle the daily tasks of a highly-reputable hospital.
In order to decide between the two options, it’s worth evaluating your talents and preferences when it comes to working in healthcare. Both options are very rewarding.