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Are You Considering a Career as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner?

Female NP discusses health with a female patient

Take a closer look at the role of a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP).

Are you interested in reproductive, obstetric or gynecological health? Do you have a passion for preventative health and a comprehensive approach to care? If you answered yes, you should consider a career as a WHNP. WHNPs provide comprehensive care to women of all ages.

What Is a WHNP?

The role of the WHNP is to assess, diagnose and treat the health care needs of women throughout their lifespan. Many WHNPs work in private practice settings, where they provide preventive care such as well-woman exams, breast cancer screenings, Papanicolaou (Pap) tests or contraceptive care. WHNPs may also provide adolescent health care, pregnancy testing, fertility evaluation, prenatal visits, after-pregnancy care and menopausal care. When providing care, WHNPs consider the inter-relationship of social class, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender.

Since 1967, NP academic programs have been preparing WHNPs to address the health care needs of women. Graduates from the inaugural programs were called obstetric-gynecologic nurse practitioners (NPs), but the role was later renamed to WHNPs. Nurses interested in becoming WHNPs can achieve national certification from the National Certification Corporation (NCC).

As your national NP community, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is here to help guide you through the stages of your career. As a student member of AANP, you have access to resources created specifically for you — from NPs who have been in your shoes. You can use the NP program directory to search for NP programs by specialty and geography to find the program that best fits your needs.

Perspectives of a Working WHNP

“I love having the ability to dive deeply into the issues that women uniquely face and being an expert resource for patients and other providers. I found early on in my career that I derive great satisfaction from teaching — whether it is educating patients about their body, what they can expect or medication options or whether it is progressing students, technicians or other staff members. The variety I see in clinic for both obstetric and gynecologic patients ranges from urgent visits and routine well-woman care to procedures of many types. Each day is different, and each patient is unique. As women, we tend to take care of others — sometimes ignoring our own needs — so I especially like helping women figure out ways to incorporate self-care into their own daily routine. What better way to keep them healthy?
“As a WHNP, I have knowledge and skills to support my primary care counterparts and collaborate with them to provide specialized care that benefits our patients in the long run. I am proud to be a WHNP.”

— Jennifer A. Korkosz, DNP, WHNP-BC, Associate Professor, University of Delaware

Five Facts You Should Know About WHNPs

  1. On average, WHNPs have 16.3 years of experience.1
  2. On average, full-time WHNPs have a total annual income — which includes base salary, productivity bonuses, incentive payments and more — of $110,000.1
  3. On average, full-time WHNPs reported that they see approximately 19 patients per day.1
  4. The top practice settings for WHNPs are private physician practices and private group practices.1
  5. The top diagnoses that WHNPs treat are vaginitis, urinary tract infection and abdominal pain.1

Career Resources for WHNPs

Learn more about job opportunities available to WHNPS by visiting the AANP JobCenter. You can filter your search by state, experience level and job type, including full-time positions, part-time positions or internships. You can also upload your resume to the JobCenter and let employers find you!

If you need help navigating the process of finding a job, please check out the JobCenter’s resources. The JobCenter is dedicated to helping you prepare for interviews, negotiate your salary and polish your resume. AANP also offers tips on becoming certified, finding the right practice setting and staying informed on important health issues at every stage of your NP career.

Professional Development Tools From AANP

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about women’s health, you should complete the Updated Guidelines for HPV Vaccination: Preteens to Adults, Endocrine Therapy for Breast Cancer and The Impact of Bioidentical Hormones on Women's Health continuing education (CE) activities. These 1.0-contact-hour CE activities are available free to AANP members at the AANP CE Center.

By now, you may have decided that this career path is right for you. If you are not already a member of AANP, you should consider joining to gain access to:

  • More than 150 hours of CE activities through the AANP CE Center.
  • Discounted registration to AANP conferences so that you can connect with your fellow WHNPs and NP colleagues of all specialties.
¹ 2020 AANP National NP Sample Survey: Practice.