How to Become a Family Nursing Practitioner
Many nurses who pursue careers in advanced nursing do so out of a desire to obtain the autonomy that can come with becoming an advanced practice nurse. One of the best ways to achieve that goal is to become a family nurse practitioner or FNP. FNPs typically work in clinical settings or private physicians’ offices and use their training in those environments to provide a range of health care services to patients suffering from all manner of injuries and ailments. In many cases, these nursing professionals provide services that are all but indistinguishable from the care provided by physicians.
The role of a family nursing practitioner entails performing a variety of tests, diagnoses, and procedures, as well as providing education and counseling to the patients they serve. While much of their work is devoted to encouraging the prevention of diseases and other health conditions through a focus on wellness, they are also trained to recognize and treat some of the most serious conditions affecting patients in their care. Most family practitioners provide general care to any type of patient, though some do choose to specialize in the treatment of certain groups and specific conditions.
The path to becoming a family nurse practitioner involves the standard registered nursing degree, as well as additional education to achieve a master’s degree. The additional training allows these nurses to earn an advanced practice title and begin to work more independently. The family nursing practitioner is but one specialized focus within the broader category of advanced practice nursing, and like other forms of specialization, requires a Master of Science degree in nursing, as well as state board certification and any other requirements an individual state may choose to impose.
Family nursing practitioners work in many different settings, which makes it an extremely flexible career choice for any nurse. In fact, it is that flexibility – combined with the ability to act relatively autonomously – that makes a career as an FNP so attractive. These nurses can be found in many clinical environments, as well as schools, hospice settings, private physicians’ offices, and patient homes. They also fill critical niches within the nursing industry, including serving as administrators and policymakers within hospitals and clinics, and providing education to both patients and staff alike.
For anyone seeking a career in nursing that offers self-management and flexible opportunities, working as a family nursing practitioner provides those opportunities and more. Many family nurses have the opportunity to work with the same patients and their families on a long-term basis, enabling them to directly impact their patients’ health care in ways that many nurses cannot.
With salaries that can be as much as $20,000 higher than the average registered nurse receives, a career as an FNP is also one of the more financially satisfying nursing career paths. Perhaps even more critical is the fact that the demand for nurses and doctors is only going to increase over the coming decades. It is only natural that more and more of our health care services will be provided by these nursing professionals as time goes by.