How Do I Become a Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner?

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  • Written By: Tiff Finkle
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A hospitalist nurse practitioner is a nurse practitioner who specializes in providing inpatient care to people in a hospital setting. To become a hospitalist nurse practitioner, you usually will need a minimum of a master’s degree in nursing. Certification as a nurse practitioner is often also required to practice medicine in that capacity.

Hospitals have begun employing the services of hospitalist teams more often. Hospitalist teams are comprised of physicians, specialists and other healthcare professionals. These teams typically treat hospitalized patients who do not have primary care physicians or whose primary care physicians are unable to come to the hospital to manage their care.

A nurse practitioner is an advanced care provider who generally functions in a role similar to that of a primary care physician. He or she is prepared to diagnose and treat a multitude of illnesses and conditions and, unlike general registered nurses, nurse practitioners also are able to prescribe medications and treatments, in addition to ordering diagnostic tests, recommending hospital admissions and coordinating patient discharges. Nurse practitioners have become increasingly popular candidates for hospitalist teams. As hospitalists, they work in conjunction with other physicians to provide quality inpatient care.


If you want to become a hospitalist nurse practitioner, then you will typically will begin by entering a nursing program at the college undergraduate level. Upon completion of an approved nursing program, you generally will be required to pass a licensing examination to become a registered nurse (RN). The licensing exams are most often administered at the regional level. Sometimes, there are local eligibility requirements that you will have to meet to become a hospitalist nurse practitioner as well — often an exam and a review of your education and credentials.

After completing undergraduate studies, future hospitalist nurse practitioners usually pursue advanced education at the master’s or doctoral levels. Schools typically require that you be a registered nurse before entering a graduate level program. To qualify to become a hospitalist nurse practitioner, you often will need a minimum of a master’s degree. Hospitals often look for hospitalist candidates to have completed a doctoral degree in nursing.

To become a hospitalist nurse practitioner, you usually should obtain certification as an acute care nurse practitioner. By passing the certification examination, you will show that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to work in the hospital setting. The acute care certification also shows employers and patients that you have an observance of a higher standard of care.


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