Becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP) is one of the most popular and in-demand career paths in nursing. FNPs work with patients of all ages, taking a long view of their health and well-being as well as attending to the immediate problem. As advanced nurse practitioners, family nurses have a greater degree of autonomy and can command a significantly higher salary than ordinary registered nurses.
To become a family nurse practitioner requires further courses of study beyond qualifying as a registered nurse (RN). It generally involves completing a master’s degree and then going on to an advanced practice qualification. Online FNP programs are the most effective and direct route to becoming a family nurse practitioner.
A family nurse practitioner needs to be self-motivated and a strong team player. The critical skills required are leadership, communication,management, and all-round solid medical knowledge. An FNP will need to be confident using technology, well-organized and attentive to detail. Compassionate, independent, and resilient, they will be capable of critical thinking and informed decision-making, plus of course, working long hours under considerable physical, mental, and emotional stress.
Everyday duties may include recognizing physical and mental health conditions, observing and assessing symptoms, performing physical examinations, and maintaining patient records. An FNP will order tests and analyze the results, often carrying out their own blood work. They will work with patients to develop a treatment plan, monitoring and updating this when necessary.
An FNP will treat injuries and viral conditionsand attend to the concerns of basically healthy patients and treat chronic ailments such as diabetes and high blood pressure. They will not treat critically ill patients but will provide preventative care to reduce hospital admissions and repeat visits.
Education and advocacy
Because FNPs often attend to the same families over many years, part of their role is to provide proactive counseling on disease prevention and living a healthy lifestyle. They will carry out well-check visits and create care plans and other educational materials. They may also work with the broader community to address specific health concerns, carrying out research, and establishing educational programs.
As patient advocates, FNPs help secure access to specialist treatment, making referrals, and promoting the health interests of their patients generally. While many FNPs work independently, some liaise between patients and physicians, helping patients understand and adapt to diagnoses.
Wide range of knowledge
The duties of an FNP can be similar to those of a primary care physician, diagnosing, treating, and in some states prescribing medicine independently. They will see patients at all stages of life, from young children to the very old. Typically, an FNP may see around 18 patients in a day. This work requires a wide range of knowledge as every patient is different, and although FNPs may specialize, there is no limit to the types of health problems they might encounter.
The work of a family nurse practitioner is varied and demanding but also highly rewarding. They will form intimate personal relationships with their patients, often acting as a counselor and a sympathetic ear and being a primary care provider. It’s no wonder that so many advanced practice nurses choose to work in an FNP capacity.