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Occupational Profile

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have advanced training in health assessment, health promotion and illness prevention. They diagnose and treat health problems, order and interpret tests, and prescribe drugs.

  • Avg. Salary $84,245.00
  • Avg. Wage $46.94
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Up
Also Known As

Nurse

NOC & Interest Codes
The Nurse Practitioner is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Registered Nurses
NOC code: 3152
SOCIAL

Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.

METHODICAL

Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.

DIRECTIVE

Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Duties and responsibilities in this occupation vary from province to province in Canada. In Alberta, nurse practitioners may:

  • complete advanced, comprehensive and focused health assessments
  • diagnose health problems
  • support and counsel patients regarding health problems
  • manage and implement patient care across the lifespan
  • manage complex chronic illness
  • order and interpret diagnostic investigations
  • critically evaluate the best evidence for care available
  • read, synthesize and integrate research into their practice
  • refer patients to other health care providers as needed
  • prescribe medications to treat diseases, disorders and injuries
  • consult and collaborate with physicians and other professionals 
  • participate in initiatives to promote community health and prevention of illness and injury.

Nurse practitioners work independently across the continuum of health services. They may work primarily with adults, children or families, or work in specific areas such as:

  • acute care
  • primary care
  • community health (including urban and rural community clinics and nursing outposts)
  • long-term care
  • caring for people in particular age groups (infants, children, seniors)
  • specialty units and clinics (for example, cancer care, mental health, occupational health, palliative care, women's health)
  • emergency care. 
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners work in a variety of health care settings, sometimes in isolated communities. They may work regular clinic hours and be on call for emergencies, or work shifts including nights, weekends and holidays.

Nurse practitioners often are exposed to infectious diseases and chemicals, and are required to handle items weighing up to 20 kilograms. Their work can be intellectually and emotionally demanding as well as physically demanding.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners need the following characteristics:

  • problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • excellent organizational skills
  • good judgment and the ability to make decisions quickly in stressful situations
  • patience, understanding and a caring attitude
  • flexibility and enthusiasm
  • the ability to lead and work co-operatively with others
  • general good health.

They should enjoy working with and consulting others, solving problems, providing care and directing the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners start their careers as registered nurses. After 4,500 hours of clinical nursing experience, the recommended education route is a master's degree in advanced nursing practice.

Prior to becoming a registered nurse practitioner, applicants must pass the required national registration exam.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have advanced training in health assessment, health promotion and illness prevention. They diagnose and treat health problems, order and interpret tests, and prescribe drugs.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Registered Nurses Profession Regulation, only members of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) on the nurse practitioner register may call themselves or practice as a Nurse Practitioner or NP.

Education

Nurse practitioners must: (1) be registered nurses in Alberta, (2) have completed a bachelor's degree in nursing, (3) have completed a recognized nurse practitioner program, (4) have 4,500 hours of experience as a registered nurse, and (5) pass the national nurse practitioner registered nurses examination. Nurse practitioners who do not meet these criteria may apply and be assessed under a Substantial Equivalent Competence process. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the CARNA website or contact CARNA.

Working in Alberta

Nurse practitioners who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory body elsewhere in Canada (except Quebec) are eligible for registration in Alberta if their scope of practice and competencies are similar. Applications from Quebec will be assessed individually.

Contact Details

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
11620 - 168 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T5M 4A6
Phone number: 780-451-0043
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-252-9392
Fax number: 780-452-3276
Website: www.nurses.ab.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Nurse practitioners are employed in health care facilities such as hospitals, community-based health centres and clinics. Many work in small or remote communities that do not have resident physicians.

Nurse practitioner is not an entry level position.

Nurse practitioners are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3124: Allied primary health practitioners.  In Alberta, 92% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 45,000 Albertans are employed in the Registered nurses occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.6% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 1,620 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As nurse practitioners form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for nurse practitioners.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners are exempt from nursing unions and therefore negotiate their own salaries.

Nurse practitioners are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3124: Allied primary health practitioners.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Allied primary health practitioners occupational group earned on average from $40.75 to $48.37 an hour. The overall average wage was $46.94 an hour. For more information, see the Allied primary health practitioners wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Community Care Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) website: www.nurses.ab.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 27, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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