Hi reader, Welcome to this helpful article about the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) Specialty!
In this article, you will learn about the education requirements of becoming a WHNP, the certification process, what these Nurses do, their skills, and more helpful information.
After you finish reading this article, you will understand this Nursing specialty better and decide whether it is the field you would love to pursue.
Topics that make up this article are as follows:
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Requirements
- Steps To Becoming A WHNP
- WHNP Daily Duties
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Skills
Here we go!
Do you have a passion for delivering primary health care to women from adolescence to child-bearing and advanced years, then working as the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) should be your line of work.
As a WHNP, you will provide gynecologic care, low and high-risk pregnancy management, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, family planning, and primary care for women.
Other duties could include health care management, disease prevention, and health promotion.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Requirements
Becoming a WHNP means acquiring the certification.
You must meet the following requirements to pursue the WHNP Certification:
- An updated United States Nursing License
- Complete an accredited Graduate Nursing program that meets the NCC Program requirements in preparation for WHNPs (Could be a Master’s Degree, DNP or Post-masters are also qualify you)
- Do the exam within 8 years of graduation from the Nursing program
- Submit a Diploma copy to NCC
- Submit an official transcript that the school registrar has issued to the NCC
- For applicants with a post-master’s qualification, a certificate of completion must be provided to NCC
- The certification will cost you $325, including a non-refundable $50 application fee
- You will also be required to pay a testing fee of $275
Steps To Becoming A WHNP
There are steps to becoming a Registered Nurse and meeting the Nursing education requirements, and they are as follows:
Step 1: Earn An Registered Nurse License
To qualify for a WHNP Certification Program, pursue a bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) and receive a certified Registered Nurse US License only after passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.
You must also gain a work experience of two years is recommended to enroll in a WHNP education Program.
Step 2: Acquire A Master’s Degree
Qualifying for the WHNP position requires you to graduate from a Master of Science in Nursing Program (MSN).
The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health are the associations that set the educational standards for the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
Suppose you happen to enroll in a WHNP education program.
In that case, you will encounter comprehensive women’s health courses, maternal, fetal, and newborn physiology, clinical evidence assessment, and pharmacology for Nurse Practitioners.
Step 3: Make A Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program Application
The WHNP Programs vary depending on student availability and whether they are enrolled full-time or part-time.
The virtual WHNP Programs enable students to study via flexible schedules, be part of discussions with other classmates and have the potential to earn accreditation standards the same as the students on campus.
Step 3: WHNP Exam Application From The NCC
The NCC, which stands for the National Certification Corporation, is an exam body whose exams test candidates on knowledge of physical examination, gynecology, primary care, pharmacology, obstetrics, and professional aspects.
As one of the exam requirements, you must present a diploma and official transcript that document the completion of your WHNP Program.
You must then pass the WHNP Exam by NCC to gain certification.
Step 4: WHNP Certification Application
You can apply for this certification in the state of residence or working.
That WHNP Certification is what makes women’s health care your specialty.
Ensure that you are conversant with the Nursing requirements in your state before making this application.
WHNP Daily Duties
A WHNP offers professional health care to women from their adolescent, childbearing, and menopause years.
This means women of different ages benefit from this Nurse Practitioner’s services.
As WHNP, you can choose a specialization such as gynecology or obstetrics, which involves health education, contraceptive counseling, and prenatal care.
This Nurse specialty also involves care for chronic illnesses, STDs, and eating disorders.
Most of these Nurses will make a diagnosis and treat diseases that women experience, while others will simply offer advice to women planning to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
They offer pre-conception advise and postpartum period advice.
Generally, a WHNP is given essential healthcare throughout the lifespan of women, and here are some of their everyday duties:
- Recording gynecologic and obstetric medical histories
- Discussing forms of contraception with patients
- Conducting assessments, diagnosis, and treatment of women’s disease factors
- Giving medication prescriptions
- Physical and social environment evaluations and establishing the effects on childbearing
- Inserting contraceptive options such as intrauterine or implanted devices
- Substance abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and risky behaviors screening
- Discussing infertility concerns with patients
- Conducting menopause education and counseling
- Helping patients during the perinatal period
- Carrying out papa smears and endometrial biopsies
- Fetal activity monitoring
- Closely working with health care providers when managing high-risk pregnancies
- STD assessment, diagnosing, and treating
- Interpreting ordered diagnostic tests
- Collaborating with OBGYN Physicians, especially when surgical or invasive procedures are happening
WHNP Scope of Practice
Most WHNPs work in various clinical settings such as hospitals, fertility clinics, prenatal clinics, OBGYN clinics, FPclinics, prison clinics for women, private clinic setups, Parenthood planning centers, and similar setups.
In the above settings, the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners offer women-tailored services such as:
- General physical exams
- Fertility evaluation
- Pregnancy testing
- STD screening
- Menopause health promotion
- Urinary tract problem treatment etc.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Skills
As a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, you will need more skills apart from the professional skills to succeed in this field.
Here are a few skills that you need to master:
This is a very sensitive Nursing field where you get to address health problems that women face.
You might find yourself dealing with patients with fertility problems, sexually transmitted diseases, endometriosis, and other health problems requiring you to discuss them professionally and culturally.
You must try and put yourself in their shoes and understand what they might be going through.
Strong verbal communication skills are essential because they must know how to explain those complicated health issues so that patients will be best understood.
With great communication skills comes excellent listening skills so that you can adequately understand all patients’ concerns and respond to them.
You must have the ability to multitask because you will most likely have a busy schedule with multiple patients.
With strong multi-tasking skills, you can attend to your patients quickly.
These are known as people skills that allow Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners to collaborate well with the other Health Practitioners and Office Personnel.
Teamwork is an integral part of working as a professional.
Being a WHNP is no different because you will be working with different Healthcare Providers and professionals in the industry.
We have looked at the WHNP Certification requirements, steps to becoming a WHNP, and the required skills for you to be an effective WHNP.
This is a career that requires passion and dedication from the beginning.
It is also a rewarding career because, according to the BLS’s Nurse Practitioner occupational employment and wages 2020 statistics, most Nurse Practitioners earn an average salary of $111,680 per year.
The same report states an increased market need for women’s healthcare thanks to the large aging population, which is why Nurse Practitioners’ and Midwives’ employment is expected to increase by 52% between the years 2021 to 2029.
A significant number of Nurse Practitioners happen to be employed in New York, California (Los Angeles), Ohio, Florida, and Texas, which also happen to be the highest paying states for Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners.
Nurse Practitioners also happen to earn the highest in Metropolitan regions such as San Francisco, Salinas, CA, and Vallejo-Fairfield.
A Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner can be a great career choice and quite fulfilling because you will be making a difference in the health of women of all ages.
Who is a WHNP?
This is a Registered Nurse with clinical experience and certification in Women’s Healthcare. WHNPs often have these variable levels of expertise in various specialties related to women’s health, such as gynecology, infertility, obstetrics, urogynecology, obstetrics, gynecologic oncology, and maternal-fetal medicine.
What does a WHNP do?
The WHNPs are tasked with diagnosing and treating the health care needs of women. WHNPs give preventive care such as well-woman examination, pap tests, breast cancer screenings, and contraceptive care. They also offer adolescent health care, fertility evaluation, pregnancy testing, prenatal visits, menopausal care, and after-birth care.
How Much Is Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Salary?
According to a 2017 survey by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the average base salary for a Nurse Practitioner was $105 546. The WHNPs earned an average salary of 93 266 in 2021, with factors such as work setting, work experience, and geographical location becoming a major salary influences.
Can FNP work in Women’s Health?
Yes, just like WHNPs, the Family Nurse Practitioner can also offer care in various clinical settings that provide women’s health services. Good examples of these clinical setups are family planning clinics, women’s health clinics, planned parenthood centers, and private practices.
Are a Registered Nurse and a Nurse Practitioner different?
The main difference is the scope of practice. Nurse Practitioners have diverse roles and even have their own practices, while Registered Nurses will often work under a Doctor or a Nurse Practitioner. NPs can prescribe treatments, diagnose patients, and order tests, while RNs can’t do that.
Which are the best Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Schools?
There are various reputed Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Schools in various states such as Rutgers School of Nursing – Newark, NJ, Frontier Nursing University – Hyden, KY, The Ohio State University – Columbus, OH, The University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, AL, Kent State University – Kent, OH.
Can a WHNP attend to male patients?
It is true that WHNPs mainly attend to female patients. However, they can still offer sexual and reproductive health care for everyone regardless of their gender identities or sexual orientations. This means they are not precisely exclusive Nurses for women.