Reasons to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioners have become quite important figures in the healthcare field.

Nurse Practitioners are essential ingredients of the nursing profession. These nurses have earned specialized degrees by way of formal education more than the responsibilities required of registered nurses. In fact, a big number of these NPs obtained masters or doctoral degrees. Statistics revealed that as of 2010, there were over 135,000 family nurse practitioners in the country.

Distinguishing Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses

Registered nurses do not have the authority to diagnose any form of sickness or administer treatment to patients. He or she cannot prescribe drugs or order diagnostic tests, acquire medical histories, perform medical examinations and undertake patient education. The family nurse practitioner is allowed to do all these duties with the corresponding master’s degree and certification. The role of the FNP is comparable to the family physician but follows the paradigm of health care instead of the medical model. The nursing component includes patient education and preventive care. Although nurse practitioners are permitted to prescribe drugs in some states, this particular task should be performed under the doctor’s supervision. However, graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can carry out this task without the doctor’s directions.

Autonomy and Need for FNPs

Family nurse practitioners are given more independence. The general rule is that low-level nurses must always work under the direction of medical doctors. This is not the case with nurse practitioners. State governments which allow NPs to practice autonomously also permit these nurses to open clinics or offices for patient treatment. At present, there are over 250 nurse-managed clinics all over the country. Some of these facilities have been funded by a special federal program for affordable care. Nurse practitioners offer both primary and preventive care to include mental health services and HIV or diabetes screening.

The American Nurses Association announced recently that roughly 60 to 80 percent of primary and preventive care can be executed by this category of nurses. The rising emphasis on prevention and public health will pave the way for more employment opportunities for family nurse practitioners. This nurse fills the need for accessible health care for more families because fewer physicians are taking on this field and a lot of family doctors have been opting for retirement. The FNP has been providing outstanding, affordable and exclusive care for patients, families, and communities especially those in remote areas.

The nursing practitioner has emerged as a vital piece of affordable health costs in different part of the United States. In fact, walk-in clinics now include health care for those not covered by insurance and employees who have self-insured health policies. More state governments have been giving additional responsibilities to nurse practitioners. This is what took place in Massachusetts where a recent bill filed by local lawmakers seeks to give more independence to nurse-midwives practicing in the state. This bill grants nurse-midwives authority to issue prescriptions, order and interpret tests autonomously while maintaining clinical relations with medical doctors. The compensation and perks of a nurse practitioner is also much higher than that of a registered nurse but of course not higher than the family physician.