A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who helps people of any age and gender manage all diseases. FNPs are responsible for:
- Diagnosing diseases and injuries
- Developing treatment plans that address patients’ needs and desired outcomes
- Prescribing medications and physical therapy
- Tracking patients’ progress
- Educating patients on wellness and how to prevent similar problems in the future
FNPs also collaborate with experts who specialize in specific areas of treatment. They select these experts based on how closely they match their patients’ needs.
Aspiring Family Nurse Practitioners have a long road of education in front of them, and some of it continues throughout the duration of their careers. After completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), nurses must also complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, preferably with an emphasis or specialization in family nursing.
MSN-FNP programs cover such topics as:
- Advanced health assessment
- Advanced pharmacology
- Advanced pathophysiology
- Nursing theory
- Professional role development
- Healthcare policy
Nurses in this field must also become certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Two organizations offer these certifications:
The ANCC and AANP certifications only last for five years, so practitioners will have to renew their certifications for as long as they remain employed as FNPs. Practitioners must also complete continuing education (CE) requirements. These CEs are evidence that practitioners are continuing to learn new methods of treatment and are continuing to refine their skills, staying on top of new trends and breakthroughs in medicine.
The median salary for Family NPs and other APRNs in 2016 was $107,460 a year, or $51.67 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Practitioners in the highest 10 percent earned more than $175,170, while practitioners in the lowest 10 percent earned $74,300.
There is apparently no shortage of job opportunities for Family Nurse Practitioners in the US. There were 203,800 APRN jobs in 2016, and that number is expected to grow by 64,000 from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)—that’s a 31 percent increase, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.
Family medicine is also one of the most popular practice areas for nurse practitioners. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), 62.4 percent of NPs are certified in family care.
As the baby boomer population in the U.S. continues to grow older, the needs for preventive care and the professionals who can administer it also increase. FNPs can look after these individuals’ well-being and coordinate with other practitioners to develop strategic plans that will make their lives better.
A registered FNP is qualified to work in many different healthcare settings. Some of these include:
- Private practice
- Emergency rooms
- Community health centers
- In-patient hospital units
- Outpatient clinics
- Nursing homes
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