A family nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed graduate-level coursework in nursing and holds a master’s degree of science in nursing (MSN).
These professionals specialize in providing health care to the entire spectrum of an individual’s lifespan, typically seeing patients anywhere from newborns to seniors.
Family nurse practitioners take the medical histories of their patients, perform physical examinations, and order appropriate tests.
They may also establish relationships with allied health professionals, such as physicians or social workers, in order to provide treatment for patients.
How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner
The route to becoming a family nurse practitioner usually begins with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, completed either at the associate or bachelor’s level.
Nurses pursuing this degree typically work in hospitals or clinics, gaining clinical experience and working alongside family nurse practitioners during their education.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, nurses may enroll in graduate programs to pursue their master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctorate degree in nursing (DNP).
The NCSBN recommends that students earn both an MSN and DNP to qualify as family nurse practitioners.
Family nurse practitioners can also choose to pursue an alternative certification program.
Benefits of Being a Family Nurse Practitioner
Despite the numerous responsibilities that may be associated with this position, there are several benefits associated with being a family nurse practitioner. It is important to take these into account when considering a career in the field of family nursing.
Some people enter a career as family nurse practitioners because they are passionate about providing efficient and effective care to their community and others around them.
Here are a few benefits for students who want to become family nurse practitioners.
Flexible Work Schedule
Unlike many nursing career paths, a family nurse practitioner may be able to enjoy a relatively flexible schedule while still working a full-time job.
Family nurse practitioners usually work in teams with other health care professionals and may take on shifts that allow them to spend time at home with their families during evenings or weekends.
Access to Educational Opportunities
Many schools offer family nurse practitioner programs that allow students to specialize in a particular area of nursing. For example, some schools provide training in pediatrics, geriatrics, or obstetrics.
The healthcare field is constantly changing, and graduates of these programs will have the opportunity to learn new techniques and skills as they continue their careers.
Less Stressful Work Environment
Family nurse practitioners tend to have less stressful workplace environments than other health care professionals.
Many family nurse practitioners are able to work in offices or clinics alongside other professionals and interact with clients and patients on a one-on-one basis.
Family nurse practitioners often enjoy the opportunity to spend time with their families and their children while they work.
Workplace policies may vary between different fields, but many of them allow family nurse practitioners to take a decent amount of vacation time during which they can spend time with their families.
Work at Home Option
In some cases, family nurse practitioners may be able to work at home if they live too far from the facility where they are employed.
Some employers will allow family nurse practitioners to telecommute if the distance from their homes to the workplace is too great.
Independence and Autonomy
Working as a family nurse practitioner does allow for some independence and autonomy, especially when the practitioner has earned a degree that allows them to work independently.
This can be very appealing to some people who want to make a difference in the world but also want to feel like they are making their own choices and decisions.
High Demand Job Opportunities
The healthcare industry is currently one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, which means that there are many job opportunities available to those looking for family nurse practitioner jobs.
It can be difficult for many nurses who have graduated from nursing school to find employment, but family nurse practitioners may have an easier time finding jobs within hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.
Variety of Patients and Conditions
Not all family nurse practitioners will enjoy the opportunity to take care of the same types of patients. Those interested in this career path should consider the type of patients they want to work with.
Family nurse practitioners who are interested in working with children may find that their jobs will include treating youths and adolescents, while those hoping to work with elderly patients may find that their employers will hire them for working with seniors.
Although all family nurse practitioners treat individuals who suffer from health problems, it is still important for students to decide which areas they would like to specialize in before starting a career.
Ability to Help More People with Your Skillset
Family nurse practitioners can enjoy the ability to help more people than other nurses who have not received specialized training.
They are able to care for individuals on a large scale without having to focus on one specific area of medicine.
Learn New Skills and Techniques
Family nurse practitioners are often exposed to many different ways of providing health care, which means that they may spend time learning new skills and techniques as they continue their education.
This will allow them to develop new abilities and skills that might interest them in the future.
Why Choose to Be an FNP Over Other Healthcare Careers?
Despite some of the benefits that come with working as a family nurse practitioner, many students are hesitant to choose this career path.
Learning more about family nurse practitioner jobs can help you decide whether this is the path for you.
While many career paths may seem stable, there is still a high demand for family nurse practitioner jobs, and many graduates of nursing programs can find employment in the field.
The Value of Being an FNP
Family nurse practitioners are responsible for managing and providing care to individuals who need medical services on an ongoing basis.
They are able to own their own businesses, work in teams with other healthcare professionals and enjoy flexible hours that allow them to take time off of work when necessary.
This is a very rewarding career path for people who enjoy making a difference in the lives of others and helping them to recover from illness or injury.
The Future of Family Practice (and Where Nurses Fit In)
Family nurse practitioners are a staple of primary care and family practice. However, they’re important as a leader or innovator within the scope of primary care.
They are not just one particular set of skills. There is a blend of knowledge and practice, and the FNP can play many roles in primary care.
The role of a family nurse practitioner has evolved over time but is not restricted to just those working in family practice alone.
Perhaps it’s more fitting to view them as the subset of family-centered healthcare, which is ever-evolving and moving further toward patient-centered healthcare delivery systems that integrate all aspects of care from pre-planning and post-care management; a 24/7 all-inclusive services delivery model.
The future of family nurse practitioners and the American healthcare system is no longer limited to just hospitals and family practice offices.
Family nurse practitioners are now in demand by the health insurance industry, which continues to expand the definition of family nurse practice.
Family Nurse Practitioner Certification & Licensing Requirements
Those who want to start a career as a family nurse practitioner should consider taking the National Board Family Practice examinations.
Nurse practitioners are physicians who are qualified to prescribe medications, perform minor surgery and provide other medical care, yet work in a clinic or hospital rather than in an office.
NPs have an extensive amount of training, and most have their own private practice. There are over 355,000 NPs in the United States, around 70% of whom work in family practice.
Some states require that nurse practitioners graduate from college with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, while others may consider a master’s degree/residency program more valuable.
In order to become a family nurse practitioner, students will need to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program in nursing and then continue with graduate study.
If you want to work as a nurse, then being a family nurse practitioner is the ideal career path that you could pursue.
The benefits of being a family nurse practitioner are many, and they include the ability to take care of patients on an ongoing basis as well as the ability to manage your own private practice.
There are more opportunities for advancement at this level, and many graduates of nursing programs will have no problem finding employment as family nurse practitioners.
Becoming a family nurse practitioner is a big decision for any graduate, but the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
This is a great field for anyone who wants to help others stay healthy on a regular basis and enjoy the ability to manage their own private practice.
Good luck in your future career as a family nurse practitioner!