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USM Nurse Practitioner Program Prepares Students for Nation’s No. 1 Job

Wed, 02/07/2024 - 01:03pm | By: Van Arnold

Statistics suggest that no segment of the professional healthcare industry is growing more quickly than that of nurse practitioners and The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is producing graduates ready for success.

The nurse practitioner field is expected to see explosive expansion over the next few years with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 45 percent growth in the number of roles available between 2022 and 2032 – an increase of 118,600 jobs.

At USM, skilled faculty are preparing students for these distinctive careers that have been ranked No. 1 nationally in this year’s 100 Best Jobs list by U.S. News & World Report. Nurse practitioner also swept the top spots for U.S News' Best Health Care Jobs and Best STEM Jobs rankings.

Dr. LaWanda Baskin, Director, School of Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice at USM, said the U.S. News ranking should come as no surprise.

“I am not surprised to see that nurse practitioner was selected as the No. 1 job in 2024 because NPs have continued to meet the growing primary and specialized healthcare needs of patients in underserved areas, while providing cost-effective care that focuses on prevention,” said Baskin.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions at USM offers the following programs: Nurse Practitioner (Post-Graduate Certificate and BSN-DNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Post-Graduate Certificate and BSN-DNP). A total of 34 students are currently enrolled in NP programs, while 24 graduated in the last academic year.

Nurse practitioners remain an essential part of healthcare in the U.S. These advanced-practice registered nurses can provide primary and specialty care – they examine patients, create plans for maintaining or improving a patient’s health, order tests, and in many cases, prescribe medicine. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for nurse practitioners is $121,610.

Baskin points out that Southern Miss is the best choice for students wishing to pursue a career in advanced nursing. The program at Southern Miss offers:

  • A comprehensive curriculum designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and clinical experience necessary to excel in the healthcare sector.
  • Faculty members who are experienced clinicians and educators dedicated to student success.
  • Strong partnerships with healthcare institutions and clinics, which prove a wide range of clinical placement opportunities for students.
  • A diverse, inclusive and immersive learning environment to best prepare students for success after graduation.

“Our program values and celebrates individual differences, ensuring that students are well-prepared to meet the unique needs of a diverse patient population,” said Baskin.

She adds, “For those interested in contributing to the advancement of nursing knowledge, our program also provides opportunities for research involvement. Engaging in research activities enhances critical thinking skills and promotes a deeper understanding of evidence-based practice.”

To learn more about the Nurse Practitioner Program at USM, call 601.266.5527.

To see the full U.S. News & World Report list, visit: Why Nurse Practitioner Is the No. 1 Job of 2024 | Best Jobs | U.S. News (