The family nurse practitioner is a registered nurse. This heath professional specializes in primary and specialty health care.
Family Nurse Practitioners perform tasks such as diagnosing patients’ illnesses and conducting examinations. Some of them are allowed to prescribe medicines in some occasions. Other duties of this type of nurse include interpreting of medical tests, providing counseling, and performing limited surgical processes.
Certain states have rigid laws and require nurse practitioners to work under the direction of doctors. However, these nurses are being given more independence nowadays and act as the sole provider of health care in some localities. There are even practicing nurses who maintain private clinics. For young men and women who want to render service to other people, this medical career can be very lucrative. In fact, family nurse practitioners have more time for patients than the doctors. As an NP, you can specialize in disciplines like midwifery, psychiatry and even dermatology.
In case you want to become a family nurse practitioner, there are several interesting points that you have to know. The job outlook is very promising within the coming years. The growth rate right now is approximately 26 percent which is more than the average compared to other professions. This development is attributed to the ageing populace along with improving medical technology.
The US News & World Report published that “if you are currently training to be a nurse practitioner, you’ve hit the jackpot. Health care reform has ratcheted up the demand for medical professionals across the country. Baby boomers are beginning to see an onslaught of ailments brought on by age, and they are seeking medical treatment at increased rates. Job opportunities remain excellent and unemployment in this field is astonishingly low.”
Another factor is the seemingly mounting interest all over the country in employing registered nurses. These medical practitioners are highly capable of bringing primary care closer to poor families and remote areas. Residents in these places are often wanting in medical services. Nurse practitioners will help plug the holes and guarantee that more people are afforded access to principal health care. The bottom line is that private citizens as well as local governments are becoming more conscious of the value that nurses bring.
You can look forward to high compensation over the years. Majority of registered nurses earn a median income of $64,690 annually although this will ultimately depend on your place of employment. Nurses working in privately-owned general hospitals can expect an income of $66,650 every year. The next salary level is for nurses in doctors’ offices followed by community hospitals and facilities for home health care. Nurse practitioners assigned at nursing care centers have the lowest average pay at $58,180 every year. The standard salary for a family nurse practitioner is between $63,000 and $85,000. Again, the final figures will depend on the region and employment location.
All in all, the outlook is bright for nursing practitioners. Employment in the health care industry will likely surpass other sectors until 2020. Family nurse practitioners will have a significant role in this trending. Nevertheless, there is still a big need for more nurse practitioners since there are only a little more than 155,000 licensed NPs in the country. According to a recent review of health careers, the job postings increased by roughly eight percent which is a cumulative growth of 35 percent.
“Nurse practitioners must be licensed in the state where they practice. Additionally, there are numerous voluntary NP certifications available through organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. State regulations also determine whether an NP can work independently or if he or she must collaborate with a licensed physician.” (Source: Education-Portal.com)
Need for FNPs
Health Care Media Sources and Health e-Carrer.com have been monitoring the maturing “baby boomer” population carefully. An article in the American Medical News highlighted the fact that 12 percent of primary care doctors moved to other institutions or facilities, retired or passed away in 2012.
“The nurse practitioner population will nearly double by 2025, according to an analysis published in the July Medical Care, the official journal of the medical care section of the American Public Health Association. Nurse Practitioners really are becoming a growing presence, particularly in primary care, said David I. Auerbach, PhD, the author and a health economist at RAND Corporation. Nurse practitioners are being viewed as a possible solution because training someone for this occupation takes less time than for a physician. Becoming a nurse practitioner usually involves licensure as a registered nurse, work experience and a one- to three-year master’s program, although some receive a doctorate degree.” (Source: AMedNews.com)
With over 30 million patients by year 2022, there is a greater need to fill in the gaps. Up to this point, fields of specialization that have been largely in demand include adult, emergency and mental health/psychiatric nursing practitioners. Meanwhile, a medical employment fact sheet disclosed that from 2011 until 2012, there was a marked increase in nurse practitioner specialization for adult, psychiatric, hospital, and family medicine NPs.
State Requirements for FNPs
The top five states that have urgent requirements for FNPs are the following:
- New York
One of the reasons for higher job demand is the increasing number of clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities. This is expected to continue until 2014. On the other hand, Oklahoma and Maine saw reduced employment postings by around 33 percent. Compensation is considered good in many states with family nurse practitioners having median earnings of $89,960. The highest-paid first 10 percent of nursing practitioners brought home $120,500 in one year. The lowest-paid first 10 percent received $64,100.
Alaska remains as the top-paying state for this nursing profession with Anchorage as among the top-five urban centers that pay the highest for nurse practitioners. The best salary is San Jose in California where the average salary of NPs was recorded at $125,450 more than a year ago.
NP Salary Versus Other Jobs
Family nurse practitioners get higher wages by any standards. The average salary of these nurses was $91,450 as against the average take home pay of $42,400 for accredited practical as well as vocational nurses. Registered nurses had an average wage $67,930 while respiratory therapists were paid a median salary of $57,200. Physical therapists are also paid well with average compensation of $81,110.
NPs work in hospitals, clinics, offices, and managed care organizations. You can also see them in the country side, urban health centers, colleges and universities, worksites, and employee health facilities. Schedules depend on the practice. Work can be done during the regular week but it can also include Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. This means that the NP is on call any time he or she is needed.
The family nurse practitioner obtains the specialized degree through formal education like bachelor’s, masters or doctoral programs. The family nurse practitioner is given tasks based on the degree and certification. In fact, the work of the FNP can be compared to the family physician. However, it follows the concept or theory of health care rather than the traditional medical model. The nursing part consists of patient edification and preventive care/measures. Graduates of the degree of Doctor of Nurse Practice can perform vital responsibilities without supervision of doctors.
Autonomy for FNPs
As mentioned earlier, family nurse practitioners have become more self-sufficient. The cardinal rule is that low-level nurses should always be watched by doctors. Now, state and federal legislation is making it possible for FNPs to become independent. And because of this development, there are currently 250 clinics administered by nurses throughout the United States. Some of these facilities are even subsidized by a federal program for affordable care. Nurse practitioners are now providing both primary and preventive care including mental health services and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or diabetes testing.
According to the American Nurses Association, about 80 percent of primary and precautionary care can be performed by these nurses. You can expect that this will lead to more employment opportunities for them. Actually, the nurse fulfills the need for health care for people since fewer doctors go to the field while many have been retiring. Needless to say, FNPs provide inexpensive care for patients particularly those living in isolated communities.
As everyone can discern, the family nurse practitioner is a primary care provider for many people whether these are infants, children, teenagers, adults, or elderly folks. You have to inquire from nursing colleges or universities; school websites; and, experienced nurses or other medical professionals. Find out if this course will prove to be challenging and interesting for you. The job is rewarding enough. However, you need to learn details regarding education, training, possible employment, and salaries. You can ask for guidance from people close to you. If there is a nurse in the family, it will be better considering that person has the information you need to help in arriving at a good decision.