Family nurse practitioners rank as the #1 job in healthcare, according to the US News & World Report. With 71% of FNPs working in healthcare, while others work in the education or government sector, this field has the highest demand. The BLS reports a 70% demand for family nurse practitioners, which means FNPs have a positive career outlook with 118,600 job openings by 2031 and a 40% growth rate.
As a family nurse practitioner, you’ll save patients from long waiting hours, give them the proper care they deserve, and fulfill your role in reducing health inequalities. FNPs contribute significantly to healthcare, so they are in demand. What makes family nurse practitioners valuable? Read ahead to find out why you should become an FNP.
Family nurse practitioners are specialised nurse practitioners that have a broader scope of responsibilities. While N.P.s only treat specific age groups on particular problems, FNPs can treat patients of all ages and diagnose various health problems. However, their primary difference is their education and training.
Master of Science in Nursing
While both FNPs and N.P.s pursue a Master of science in nursing, FNPs pursue a specialization that centers on:
- Nursing Science
- Providing primary care
- Analyzing social issues of healthcare
- Contributing to research investigations
Pursuing an FNP program can advance your healthcare skills and let you explore more opportunities. However, if you work as a hospital staff nurse like many others, consider enrolling in universities like YSU that offer online courses. Having a life beyond nursing is very important to maintain a healthy balance, and by pursuing an online FNP programme, you can advance your education by studying part-time. This approach lets you focus on your family and work alongside your education. But before you enroll in this university, consider the following requirements:
- Official transcripts from previously attended institutions
- A BSN degree with a 3.0 GPA
- A valid R.N. license
- One year of practice as a registered nurse
Certification and licensing
After you complete your Master’s, you must obtain certification and licensure to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). The specific certification requirements vary by country and state but commonly include passing a national certification exam. You can apply for FNP credentials from two major organizations:
- AANP: 150 questions
- ANCC: 175–200 questions
Obtaining certifications and licensure means you pass all standards to become a practicing FNP. You can prescribe medications within your responsibility. These certifications are essential to your professional development.
Why pursue a career as an FNP?
As an FNP, you can impact individuals and families meaningfully by providing comprehensive and compassionate healthcare. Your role is noble and highly rewarding as you work to improve the lives of others. The following reasons also make this role more appealing:
- Gain advanced knowledge of primary care. By gaining the knowledge and skills to administer primary care, you can reduce the burden on specialists, decrease E.R. visits, and improve patient health services. Suppose you have a patient with diabetes. Instead of having them wait long hours to get surface-level care, you can give them continuous care by prescribing them medication and measuring their condition over time.
- Building lasting patient relationships. Unlike other healthcare professionals who may only see patients occasionally, as an FNP, you have the privilege of being a consistent presence in their lives. For example, you can witness a child’s growth from infancy to adolescence. You can become a trusted healthcare provider for the entire family, caring for parents, children, and even grandparents. This continuity of care allows you to develop a deep understanding of your patient’s health histories and unique needs.
- Meeting the demand of healthcare professionals. With 100 million Americans in areas with a shortage of primary care professionals, you can make healthcare more accessible by providing services in these underserved areas. In states like California, which has the highest demand for FNPs with an HPSAs score of 1,833, you can administer preventative care by providing health screenings and managing common illnesses.
- Leadership opportunities. As an FNP, you have the potential to take on influential roles where you can make decisions, shape policies, and advocate for improving your patient’s healthcare. You can become a director of nursing to improve patient healthcare strategies or a clinical supervisor to oversee the efficiency of other nurses. You can also venture into entrepreneurship and establish a private clinic.
Benefits of becoming an FNP
The appeal of pursuing an FNP career is endless, with numerous benefits. This field gives back to the community and improves the lives of your patients, but how does it benefit you? Read the following list to know how becoming a family nurse practitioner is beneficial to your success:
- Autonomous responsibilities. As an FNP, you can diagnose, treat, and manage patients’ health without always needing a doctor’s direct supervision. For instance, if a patient comes to you with a common illness, you can assess their condition by yourself, prescribe the proper medication, and offer guidance on self-care. You can also look into their lifestyle habits, advise on healthy behaviors, and connect them with other healthcare specialists if necessary.
- Competitive salary. Due to the increasing demand for primary care providers and the expanded scope of practice for family nurse practitioners, many healthcare organisations offer attractive compensation packages to attract and retain talented professionals like you. The average salary of an FNP is around $100,500. However, it can vary from state to state. For example, San Francisco, CA, pays the highest annual wage to FNPs in the US, around $123,300.
- Higher job satisfaction. Being a nurse is often the best part of making a positive difference in someone’s life. FNPs have higher job satisfaction because they give them a purpose and make them feel like respectable members of society. The flexible nature of an FNP’s job also increases job satisfaction as you can work from anywhere, either from home, in clinics, or privately, leading to a versatile career.
- Continuous professional growth. The healthcare field is constantly evolving, and as an FNP, you will have continuous opportunities for growth. You learn new skills during your residency, and as you work, you gain endless knowledge through workshops, certifications, and conferences. This ongoing learning keeps your skills sharp and allows you to provide the best possible care to your patients.
You can have any reason to pursue this field, whether for personal gain or the benefit of others. Once you enter this field, you must acknowledge the weight of responsibility. As a family nurse practitioner, you can improve lives, help people in need, and help generations of families. An FNP career is one of the most rewarding careers.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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