Online Nursing Schools & Nurse Practitioners

writing notes into medical chart

By Susan Jostrom

Carolyn Hendrikson
Nurse Practitioner

Spokane, Washington

“I love my work,” Carolyn Hendrikson, a nurse practitioner (NP) in Spokane, Washington says emphatically. “And I love my patients.” 

Hendrikson works for a community health clinic and sees about 30 patients a day. She has a remarkable amount of responsibility and authority in diagnosing and treating patients from a myriad of backgrounds. And online nursing schools offer nurse practitioner degree programs, allowing a former registered nurse (RN) such as Hendrikson, the opportunity and flexibility to advance in her career.

Online Nursing Schools Present Unique Opportunities

Hendrickson views her interaction with multiple cultures as a wonderful opportunity. Her patients include recent immigrants from Nepal, Iran, Russia, Cuba and Latin America, as well as long-term local citizens. In addition to English, Hendrickson speaks fluent Spanish and a little Russian, but she frequently uses a phone interpreter to communicate with her patients. Hendrickson views this as a unique and interesting aspect of her practice. With a nurse practitioner degree earned from select accredited online nursing schools, you'll find the door is open to a waiting world. 

Online Nursing Schools Serve an Increasing Job Market

“Nurse practitioner work is extremely challenging because of the breadth and complexity of patients that we see,” says Hendrickson. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Overall job opportunities are expected to be excellent.”

Mayo Clinic experts agree: “The growing emphasis on prevention and public health will continue to create attractive job opportunities for NPs. It is one of the 10 occupations projected to have the largest numbers of new jobs.” And since nurse practitioners work independently in many states, an online nursing school degree holds the prospect of providing an independent practice in medicine for an NP. The personal career satisfaction that comes from the ability to make high-level decisions is just one more reason to pursue a nurse practitioner degree from an online nursing school.

NPs and Health Care Reform

With health care reform, there will be an increased demand for NPs, Hendrikson believes, as there are currently millions of people in the country that are uninsured, and there is a drastic shortage of primary-care physicians. Health care coverage will enable the previously uninsured to see a medical professional.

With NPs in many states able to work without the umbrella of a physician, NPs will likely play a key role in the reform; the need for primary-care practitioners will increase dramatically, Hendrikson says. This is a concern to her, as she believes she will see an increase in her patient load. She also expects an increasing demand for nurse practitioners.

Online Nursing Schools’ Role in Health Care Reform

Online nursing schools may well play a key role in health care reform. It is often less expensive to attend an online nursing school, as there are no out-of-state tuition fees, and schedules are more flexible. In some online nursing schools, accelerated programs are available as credit may be applied for previous experience.

Hendrikson has been an NP for 13 years and an RN for over 30 years, and she cannot imagine working in any other profession. A devoted nursing professional as well as a mother of three children, Hendrikson has loyal patients who have followed her from her previous nursing positions into her most recent career.

Nursing professionals who are seeking to advance their careers can take a cue from Hendrikson's passion and ambition. With a degree from a wide choice of accredited online nursing schools, you'll earn an NP degree and advance your career, as well as find great satisfaction and dedication to your profession.

Sources:, Nurse Practitioner Career Overview; Time Magazine, "If a Health-Care Bill Passes, Nurse Practitioners Could Be Key"