A Family Nurse Practitioner is someone who offers more in-depth and comprehensive care compared to registered nurses. Being an FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) means added responsibility and a variety of career prospects.
Working toward becoming an FNP might be a natural progression to many practicing registered nurses. For those wondering if this is the right move for their career, read more to understand the reasons why registered nurses aspire to be Family Nurse Practitioners.
Reasons to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner
Greater Autonomy and Responsibility
Family Nurse Practitioners have a few duties that overlap with the duties of registered nurses; such as, examining patients, monitoring patient health, maintaining health records, etc. However, the duties of an FNP go beyond this as they can make a medical diagnosis, develop comprehensive health plans for patients, monitor chronic health conditions and supervise healthcare teams.
Since FNPs generally offer more in-depth and comprehensive care, they can assume greater healthcare management roles.
FNPs have greater autonomy when it comes to prescription authority. Currently 22 states and the District of Columbia allow full practice, which means nurse practitioners have similar prescriptive authority compared to physicians. In 16 states, there is reduced practice, where nurse practitioners can prescribe as long as they are in collaborative agreement with the physician, along with staying within the limitations of the medications they are allowed to prescribe. According to a survey by AANP, most nurse practitioners hold some form of prescriptive privileges, which includes controlled substances, in all 50 states and D.C.
Better Career stability
Jobs in healthcare are projected to grow around 36% from 2016 to 2026. With such a high demand, healthcare organizations and hospitals are keen to retain highly qualified family nurse practitioners. This offers greater stability (financial and professional) and growth opportunities in career.
Work While You Learn
Some colleges offer family nurse practitioner courses online. This means that registered nurse practitioners can continue working while studying to be FNPs. This ensures that a registered nurse does not have to take a break to pursue higher education.
West Coast University (WCU) offers an online MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner program. The University is institutionally accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). WCU’s online nursing education programs are programmatically accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE.)
Maintain Connections with Patients
Many registered nurses prefer and thrive in the connection with patients that their profession offers. As they obtain higher positions, many nurses lose out on that patient-connection. However, as FNPs, nurses continue to work closely with patients and physicians.
Many healthcare settings require FNPs. Apart from independent practice, family nurse practitioners can also look forward to increased leadership opportunities. Extended fields like patient education, research, and academia, and policy advocacy have seen a rising need for qualified healthcare professionals like FNPs to help their causes.
Family nurse practitioners can work actively in developing patient education programs, conduct medical research and have a say in healthcare policy matters. Qualified family nurse practitioners are also essential in academic roles like program administrators and mentoring.
A Family Nurse Practitioner is able to work across the entire spectrum of patients and assumes a greater responsibility in terms of patient care. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 87.1% of NPs are certified in an area of primary care, and 72.6% of all NPs deliver primary care. This means that most FNPs have a chance at having a greater impact on health communities. As many FNP’s have prescriptive authority, they offer healthcare services which are cost-effective and can be utilized by a larger percentage of the population.
Apart from these core reasons described above, a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner could make a difference in the lives of people.