A family nurse practitioner offers medical care in a primary care setting. Typically, an FNP is a nurse that has gained an advanced degree and skills. While many family nurse practitioners work in private practices alongside medical doctors, they may also work in hospitals, schools, elder care facilities, and urgent care clinics.
An FNP provides many preventative care services that help patients stay healthy and avoid more extensive medical procedures and treatments.
Becoming an FNP
If you already have your nursing license, you may be surprised how quickly you can earn an FNP degree. Some employers are even willing to help with tuition expenses for nurses wanting to further their education. The TWU online FNP program, for example, offers you the option of attending classes either part or full-time while still working your regular job, and clinical placements are organized by the University’s dedicated placement coordinator.
After you earn your degree, you will need to fulfill any licensing requirements for the state you intend to practice in.
Who should consider becoming a family nurse practitioner?
Essentially, someone who enjoys helping others. As a practicing FNP, you have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of your patients. At the end of a workday, there is a feeling of warmth and accomplishment.
You are an RN that wants to advance your career and work in a family-based setting.
Earning an advanced degree and specializing as a family nurse practitioner can increase your salary and qualify you for advanced positions at many locations and practices. The median annual salary for a nurse practitioner in 2021 was $118,040, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There is a huge demand for family nurse practitioners.
If you want job security and the option to pick where you work or want to relocate, then a career as a family nurse practitioner makes a lot of sense. Over the next decade, the demand for FNPs is forecast to grow a lot due to an aging population and more people utilizing preventative healthcare since they now have decent health insurance to cover the cost.
An FNP carries out physical exams that can be used to diagnose problems as well as exams for sports and school. Annual exams are recommended for most people, so physical problems are caught and treated quickly if there are any.
Prescribing medications for treatment plans
In almost all states, a family nurse practitioner is licensed to write and dispense prescription medications to patients. As an FNP, you will monitor patient progress and response to treatments that require prescription medications and adjust dosages or change medications as needed.
Consult with other medical professionals and create comprehensive treatment plans
To create a treatment plan that offers the best level of care, an FNP may consult with multiple doctors and specialists. This requires sharing patients’ medical information and possibly referring them to specialists for imaging, ultrasounds, or MRI scans.
Performing diagnostic testing or ordering testing from labs or specialists
There are many diagnostic tests that an FNP may perform in-house or order out to a separate lab. For example, FNPs may draw blood or have an assistant collect specimens. Testing throughout a treatment plan or illness may be routine to determine how a patient is responding so adjustments can be made, or other treatments prescribed.
Family nurse practitioners diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses and conditions but do not provide care for critically ill patients
An FNP provides preventative and routine care for healthy people while also treating common illnesses and conditions such as colds, flu, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and injuries. For example, suppose a patient is diagnosed with a condition where they are critically ill. In that case, their care is referred to a specialist or medical facility that caters to specific conditions or areas of the body.
Diagnose some mental conditions
While an FNP is not a trained psychiatrist, they can diagnose some mental conditions and prescribe medications to treat them. For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be diagnosed in adults and children. Depression and anxiety are other common problems for which an FNP may offer treatment options.
An FNP needs to be very organized and able to make independent decisions
Overseeing other nurses and nursing assistants is part of being an FNP. You must be very organized to direct others and offer quality patient care to succeed. In addition, an FNP must be able to make fast, accurate, and independent decisions when interacting with patients and staff.
Performing well in a high-stress work environment is required
While work as an FNP is very rewarding and fulfilling, it is impossible to deny that it is a high-stress work environment. As an FNP, many people depend on you to make the right decisions about their health. On top of that, all the staff you are in charge of organizing are relying on you to provide clear orders and directions for tests, treatments, and more.
An FNP needs to be very detail-oriented.
Noticing small details and being able to focus entirely on a patient is an important part of being a good family nurse practitioner. An FNP must be very thorough when assessing a patient and trying to determine a diagnosis. Great care must be taken to ensure a treatment plan is compatible with a client’s allergies, other health conditions, age, etc.
A career as a family nurse practitioner is a wonderful option for mid-career and senior-level nurses who want to advance their careers and practice medicine in a different setting than they are now. Online education makes it possible to get a degree while still working.
FNPs will enjoy great job security and salaries in the years to come, thanks to the high demand for skilled healthcare workers with advanced degrees.