How to become a women’s health nurse practitioner will depend on what level of education the nurse decides to pursue. He or she may earn a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice with a specialization in women’s health. The curriculum for these women’s health nurse practitioner programs includes learning about key topics such as gynecological health, contraception, hormone therapy, breast and ovarian health, and sexually transmitted diseases. For admissions, women’s health nurse practitioner schools are likely to require that the student be a registered nurse for a minimum of two years or obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
The amount of time to finish women’s health nurse practitioner programs usually range between three and four years to receive a DNP. MSN degree programs are typically shorter and can be finished in approximately two years. Many courses from women’s health nurse practitioner schools are available as distance learning classes. However, the school will also require that the nurse fulfill at least 500 clinical hours in the field of women’s health. Nursing graduate school may also offer dual degree options for those who specialize in women’s health. As an example, Vanderbilt School of Nursing has a dual degree track for Women’s Health and Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.
How Important is the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Certification?
The women’s health nurse practitioner certification, also called the WHNP certification, was created to provide a standard for nurses who have graduated from women’s health nurse practitioner programs. Through a competency exam, this allows registered nurses in the United States and Canada to carry the credential that demonstrates their expert knowledge in the field. The WHNP certification is ideal for nurses who plan to provide nursing services in gynecological, obstetrician, and primary care offices. The certification is appropriate for nurses who work with both inpatients and outpatients.
The WHNP certification is also important because only nurses who have attended an accredited nurse practitioner program are eligible to take the examination. Only MSN and DNP degree holders are eligible for the WHNP certification exam. Registered nurses who have completed prior certificate programs without a degree are not eligible. The NCC board for the WHNP certification exam also asks that test-takers be graduates of the program within the last eight years.
With the WHNP certification, nurses have an advantage over the competition. Although applicants may have a similar experience, healthcare organizations will appreciate candidates who have passed an exam that proves their competency.
How Can I Prepare for the WHNP Certification Exam?
A WHNP certification review class is useful to assist nurses who have already earned an MSN or DNP without passing the examination. It is especially important if the nurse graduated several years ago and needs a refresher on the topics that may be included on the exam. The WHNP certification exam is a three-hour test with 175 multiple-choice questions. Out of the 175 questions, only 150 questions are scored with the remainder of the problems used to develop future exams. The cost to take the exam is $325 along with a completed application with credentials uploaded online for verification purposes.
WHNP certification review courses will provide study guides and testing modules to prepare for the exam. Modules are developed through former test questions and the testing blueprint provided through the National Certification Corporation. Online study guides are self-paced and allow nurses to complete modules on their specific timeline. If the nurse has just completed an accredited women’s health nursing program, he or she may be able to pass the examination without enrolling in a review course. WHNP certifications are valid for three years and require renewal through the National Certification Corporation.