The family nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who provides basic and specialty health care services. The FNP works closely to diagnose ailments as well as perform tests and prescribe medication in special cases.
State governments normally require nurse practitioners to be supervised by doctors. However, nurses are becoming more independent nowadays. In some states, the service provider remains as the solitary health care practitioner. In other words, the nurse is allowed to operate private practice independently.
While nurse practitioners cannot take the place of doctors, these providers have the know-how to provide affordable care for different patients. Nurses supply valuable services and serve as members of health care teams. State regulatory environments are evolving rapidly so nurse practitioners are becoming more empowered and acquiring additional complicated responsibilities. Moreover, FNPs can minister to patients with proper understanding of the importance of mutual and family-focused care.
Education and Accreditation
The potential FNP can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Registered Nursing degree. You have the choice of going back to the university college and obtain a master’s degree. The next position can be an Advanced Practice Nurse. The fundamental qualification for this position is a Master of Science in Nursing degree. After getting this degree, you need certification by the State Board of Nursing or accreditation from national organizations like the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. The bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for nurse practitioner programs. Look for a well-known and prestigious academic institution with clear-cut family practice curriculum. As a rule, colleges and universities require minimum undergraduate Grade Point Average as well as completion of advanced science courses. You will be awarded a Master of Science degree in nursing after finishing the nurse practitioner curriculum.
The national licensing examination is mandatory for nurses. Nurse practitioner programs make it obligatory for students enrolled in the course to acquire at least two years of experience. You also have to pass the Family Nurse Practitioner National Certification Examination administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The examination includes subjects such as clinical management, evaluation of acute and chronic ailments, and current rules and policies. This facility holds review courses for examinations in local hospitals or via distance learning programs. You can always check out various education portals of public and private colleges/universities that offer the courses mentioned above.
Programs for Potential FNPs
Aside from the core curriculum, nursing students are given the prerogative to pursue other fields like education or health policies.
Students who wish to take up this particular syllabus are obliged to enroll in the following subjects:
- Fundamental Health Care Concepts and Practices
- Family Nursing Theory and Intervention
- Approach to Research and Analysis
- Acute and Chronic Illness Management’
- Leadership Roles and Preparation
- Socio-Cultural Issues
Nurses can also attend seminars or modules that deal with application of knowledge, critical thinking and effective decision-making. Clinical practices provide practical experience within the scope of community and primary care environment. Students seeking the Master of Science degree with Nurse Practitioner preparations are required to comply with all admission criteria. Students aspiring for the post-masters certification should finish the MSN program in any accredited institution.
Be sure to understand the course work for the master’s program and advanced practice status if these are relevant. Eventual student recipients of post-master’s certificates should get in touch with the Nursing College before application for review of transcript and determine the most appropriate semester for admission.
Functions of Family Nurse Practitioners
The Family Nurse Practitioner is expected to perform the different tasks:
- Pre-pregnancy and pre-natal care
- Well woman, well baby and sickness care
- Periodic care for serious sicknesses along with minor critical injuries which cover all ages
- Management of recurring disorders like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases
- Monitoring and management of principal care conditions together with specialists for possible unpredictable conditions which include heart-related diseases and neuromuscular issues.
- Case management for permanent illnesses like memory problems.
The family nurse practitioner will only be authorized to perform all these responsibilities provided the candidate obtains the proper master’s degree and accreditation. The FNP can be likened to the family doctor. However, this medical practitioner adopts the concept of health care rather than the medical model. The nursing element encompasses patient education and preventive treatment. Certain states allow nurse practitioners to prescribe drugs to patients selectively. Yet, this specific function should be carried out under the direction of physicians. Only graduates of the Doctor of Nurse Practice program can perform this duty without the doctor’s supervision.
Independence for FNPs
Nowadays, family nurse practitioners are being given more self-reliance. The cardinal rule is simple. Low-level nurses should always work under the guidance of medical doctors. The case of nurse practitioners is entirely different. State governments permitting nurse practitioners to practice freely also allow these nurses to operate facilities or clinics for patient treatment. Right now, there are hundreds of nurse-administered clinics spread throughout the country. In fact, some of these facilities receive funding from unique federal programs for affordable care.
The American Nurses Association revealed that roughly up to 80 percent of nurses with this education and training can perform primary and preventive care. Growing demands for prevention and public health will definitely facilitate additional job opportunities for family nurse practitioners. This practitioner fills the requirement for accessible health care that benefits many families. The reason is fewer doctors are choosing this field and many family doctors are opting for retirement. The FNP provides exceptional, economical and timely care for patients particularly those living in isolated communities. The salaries and incentives that the nurse practitioner receives are comparatively higher than that of a registered nurse but not higher than the medical practitioner.
Scope of Responsibilities and Trends
The principal aspect of the job involves physical examinations, well patient testing and remedies for major health concerns. The nurse has the moral obligation to cultivate a harmonious relationship with patients. An FNP must always be around to provide support from birth until adulthood and death. The duties of the family nurse practitioner job calls for constant monitoring and treatment of continuing disorders and disabilities other than dealing with patients in good physical shape. Consistency of care for persons with current medical issues is also vital. Therefore, the family nurse practitioner is a vital piece of the patient and care team.
Scope of responsibilities will also surely increase in the coming years because of the following trends:
- Greater than before need for primary care – There is no doubt that there is a growing scarcity of doctors particularly family care practitioners. That is why more nurse practitioners are needed in this field. Nurses with primary care credentials have the better chance to find work compared to those engaged in other specialized disciplines. Moreover, the number of FNPs engaged in primary care has already gone up. For instance, The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published recently that 52 percent of nurse practitioners work in primary care.
- More requirements for outpatient care facilities – People can look forward to more demand for outpatient care clinics instead of officials. This may be caused by financial pressures on hospitals to release patients right away.
- Need for more nurses in remote and underserved locations – It is a given that just like outpatient care hubs, FNPs will be needed in far-flung places where there are not too many health care practitioners and hospitals. According to the Department of Labor, all advanced practice registered nurses like nurse practitioners will be in higher demand especially in these localities.
Financial Considerations for FNPs
The family nurse practitioner is saddled with more complex responsibilities compared to registered nurses. The earnings of FNPs vary depending on the area of specialization, type of employer and location of the facility. Recent employment posts that you can read in employment websites indicate the average annual income of a nurse practitioner which is $95,000. More than one year ago, the nurse practitioners with five years of experience earned $40.84 per hour while those with 20 years or more earned $42.56. According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, these nurses work for a minimum of 40 hours each week.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that nursing will be one of the fastest growing careers in the United States until 2018. Besides, it will remain a lucrative profession. The BLS also showed the steady six percent increase in the salaries of FNPs which is quite high even in a slumping economy. Based on other statistics from the Bureau, employment is still expected to soar by at least 34 percent from 2014 until 2022. This is relatively fast than any other occupation. The demand will be greater in rural areas.
The time has come for the family nurse practitioner. This is not to say that there will be less demand for doctors. It is just a manifestation that just as the administration of President Obama gives considerable emphasis to healthcare among US citizens, the future of nursing professionals is also very bright at this point.