A medical emergency can occur anywhere at any time. It is difficult to make quick decisions and know how to proceed under such stressful circumstances. Panic and anxiety are bound to take over. This is where a nurse practitioner comes into play.
Who is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is a registered nurse with an advance degree. It is a career that perhaps has the broadest scope amongst all advanced practice registered nursing professions. They have expert training and skills that enable them to provide preventative, primary, and specialty care to patients ranging from newborns to those over 100 years old. Their degree allows them to serve as primary healthcare providers for individuals as well as entire families and work autonomously. In many states, family nurses hold independent practice privileges, allowing them to work freely on their own in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Being a family nurse is a rewarding profession as they are long-term trusted care providers for many patients.
How to become an FNP?
An individual interested in becoming a family nurse practitioner must first get licensed. After obtaining their license, registered nurses are required to gain additional experience and obtain an advanced degree like a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Once they have graduated from an accredited program, they need to obtain an NP (Nurse Practitioner) certification in a field of their interest. Lastly, they must pass an exam conducted by any certified nurse practitioners board like The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Becoming an FNP requires more rigorous educational requirements as compared to regular nurses because they have more professional autonomy. They can work independently in a clinic, hospital or even start their own private practice. As of 2019, the average family nurse practitioner salary was around $114,510 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, BLS reportedly predicted a 52% employment growth for nurse practitioners between 2020 till 2030, which is way above the national average across all occupations.
What does a Family Nurse Practitioner do?
FNPs specialize in both adult and child healthcare and are pivotal to the stability of the medical industry. Their advanced certification and training enable them to provide patients with care beyond the abilities of a traditional nurse. Since they have the skills to understand the concerns of patients of all age groups, they serve as a bridge between patients and specialists. They work alongside doctors, physicians, and other nurses at the hospital, utilizing their ability to assess, monitor, diagnose, and treat patients. They also provide additional support by managing, documenting, and communicating patient data to everyone on a multidisciplinary care team. On a day-to-day basis, this job involves dealing with patients firsthand. After greeting and examining your patients, you are required to diagnose their issues, direct them to the appropriate physicians and come up with individual treatment plans. The job also involves tons of paperwork, like managing patient history, records, test details, prescriptions, and so on.
As the name implies, FNPs also specialize in family-oriented healthcare. From pediatrics and psychology to gerontology and women’s health, they can help tackle a wide variety of medical issues. And as they work with several generations of the same family, a strong care provider-patient bond is established, which helps them provide continuous care. Being fully aware of the patient’s habits, medical history, and current state allows them to make well-informed decisions and give personally tailored advice and treatment. Not only do FNPs regularly check in with their patients, but they also assist in navigating chronic and long-term illnesses like diabetes, asthma, and cardiac conditions. Finally, they keep a lookout for symptoms that may cause concern and ensure urgent treatment is provided.
Why Choose to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?
If you’re someone who is considering pursuing this career but still has some doubts, we’ve got your back! Here we have compiled some reasons why becoming an FNP will be the best decision you ever make:
- Added Professional Responsibility:
With their advanced skills and training, nurse practitioners can work in almost any setting, be it hospitals, clinics, schools, urgent care centers, or even start their independent initiative. They play a vital role in any medical facility as they are the ones dealing with patients firsthand. This means not only do they assess and monitor patients but also order diagnostic tests and guide them to appropriate specialists or physicians. They manage patient records and files while creating a treatment plan that works best for the patient they promote their patients to be strong be healthy. Without their assistance, a medical facility simply cannot thrive.
- Job Opportunities:
With the shortage of primary healthcare providers, the demand for Family Nurse Practitioners is increasing rapidly. Thus, multiple sources, including BLS, have ranked FNPs amongst the top 10 for potential job growth in the coming years. The truth is NPs are needed at every medical institution due to their diverse skillset and the ability to handle anything thrown at them. With their broad, comprehensive nursing approach and advanced diagnostic and treatment skills, they are equipped to deal with any patient who walks through the door. They also have the option of sub-specializing and training further in their area of interest like cardiology, surgery, oncology, gynecology, and so on.
- Earning Potential:
It’s safe to say that FNPs earn a lot more money than traditional nurses. Their pay varies based on their area of specialization, years of experience, qualifications, and geographical location. According to National Salary Survey, the average salary of FNPs is between $90,000 to $100,000 annually. Basic salary is often combined with lucrative benefits and bonus packages to keep individuals motivated and attract them to work in certain geographical areas.
As an FNP, you’ll have much greater autonomy over your patients and will be free to manage and treat them as you please, as nurse practitioners qualified to deal with patients of all ages and symptoms. FNPs can work both in hospitals under the supervision of physicians and independently, as many states have now allowed certified FNPs to start their own practices.
From birth to the end of their life, making a difference and giving patients the best possible care is the main objective of any Family Nurse Practitioner. It is a job that requires tons of compassion and patience as you’ll be the first healthcare expert to meet patients when they come in for a checkup. Therefore, it’ll be your duty to ensure their comfort, hear out their concerns and then provide a treatment option that is in their best interest.