Learning how to become a women’s health nurse or nurse practitioner is the first step towards this challenging and rewarding career. Women’s health nurses have many varied career options including work in college health clinics, community health centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician offices and primary care clinics. The job involves working under a doctor or nurse practitioner to provide a wide range of women’s health care services. There are many challenges to this kind of work, but there are many rewards as well.
The most important information regarding how to become a women’s health nurse pertains to the types of care that this nursing specialist must be prepared to provide. Women’s health nurses or nurse practitioners must be able to care for women with various diseases and disabilities (including STDs), women with substance abuse problems, women going through menopause and women who are suffering from abuse. They must also be able to provide assessment, counseling, health education, family planning services, prenatal and postpartum care, disease management and prevention services, well-woman care and more.
The degrees needed to become a women’s health nurse are the same as for any other nursing specialization – nurses must earn a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and nurse practitioners must also earn a master’s degree focused on this specialization. Women’s health nurses also gain hands-on experience in the field through internships and work study, and before they can become registered they must seek recognition by the state board of nursing as an APN. A women’s health nurse practitioner may also be required to pursue certification in this specialty after completing the master’s degree, depending on the state he or she lives in.
As a women’s health nurse, one can expect to earn an average salary of $57,280 or more with additional experience and over time. A women’s health nurse practitioner can earn between $64,000 and $76,000 per year. The job outlook looks good, as the demand for this nursing specialty is expected to rise. More information on how to become a women’s health nurse is available at local nursing schools and college campuses, so if this career interests you, speak with admissions personnel about your options.