California certified nurse practitioners (NP) are registered nurses with specialized education at the master’s degree level or higher. An NP can typically identify and treat illness, interpret lab work and x-rays, prescribe medication, do health research and educate patients on disease prevention. Current California senate bill 323 proposes NPs be licensed to perform all of the duties allowed by their expertise, education and experience. The bill cites a shortage of physicians available to meet the needs of patients, particularly with the growing numbers of people receiving coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
EDD projections for nurse practitioner jobs in the Sacramento-metropolitan area anticipate growth of more than 30 percent from 2012 to 2022. In the first quarter of 2014, the median salary for Sacramento NPs was $51.95 per hour, and positions are available in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and other facilities.
Granite Bay resident Kim Newlin works for Sutter Roseville Medical Center as a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist and adult nurse practitioner. Newline says, her role is very patient-focused, including designing and managing health programs for specific patient populations. As an NP, she looks at all factors impacting a patient’s health, not just the immediate presenting problem.
Newlin has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physiology and Psychology from UC Davis, and two master’s degrees, one in Nursing and one in Cardiovascular-Genomics Clinical Nursing. Through a post-graduate program, Newlin earned her gerontology/adult nurse practitioner certification.
Advanced-practice education was key to Newlin’s success and job satisfaction. “There are many classes you can pull from to actually create a job for yourself.” In 2011, Newlin opened a hospital-based outpatient clinic offering after-care and prevention for heart failure patients. By also considering non-medical issues, such as a patient’s living situation, self-care tendencies and available income for health and wellness needs, her clinic has educated patients and improved their level of re-admission.
“Nursing school is your chance to learn the basics,” says Newlin, “and the advanced degree helps it all come together.”
Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.