What does a Family Nurse Practitioner do?
The role of a family nurse practitioner extends beyond those of a registered nurse.
Due to their high level of skill and education, FNPs often take on the roles of primary care physicians — delivering family-focused patient care — this entails diagnosing, monitoring, and treating patients, from infants to the elderly, to every age in-between.
However, FNPs will still work under the supervision of, or in close collaboration with, a physician. They also work with regular nurses and other specialists like sonographers and lab technicians. Other responsibilities of an FNP includes:
Management and Collaboration
The management and collaboration duties of an FNP are similar to regular nurses. These duties include managing patient accounts, maintaining health records, providing information or referrals, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals in providing the best patient treatment.
Family nurse practitioners communicate with and help educate their patients and their families. They cover a wide range of subjects, from paediatric issues with children to geriatric problems with the elderly.
FNPs inform them about their health status, help inculcate preventive habits, and be available whenever they have health questions.
FNPs are expected to diagnose patients across a wide age range effectively. They must combine physical examinations, medical history records, and diagnostic tests to develop an informed patient diagnosis.
After diagnosis, family nurse practitioners may transition into the roles of treatment providers. The extent to which an FNP may function in this case varies from state to state. However, FNPs typically carry out treatments similarly to a primary care physician. These duties include; assisting, ordering, performing diagnostic tests, prescribing medication, developing a safe care plan, and treating injuries and illnesses.
How do I become an FNP?
To become an FNP, you must first be a registered nurse. While some programs will allow a direct transition from undergraduate to postgraduate courses, others require real-life work experience. Here are the steps involved in becoming an FNP:
Step 1: Earn a Nursing Degree
There’s no alternative path to becoming a nurse practitioner without earning a nursing degree. You need to obtain an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited program.
Step 2: Become a Registered Nurse
Nursing graduates are expected to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN) exam to become licensed nurses. After passing the exam, you will become certified and qualified to apply for licensure.
Step 3: Earn an MSN-FNP or DNP Degree
Like all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), to become an FNP, you need to earn at least a Master’s FNP degree on top of your Bachelor’s. Getting a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with an FNP specialty involves classroom education and clinical hours with patients. Most programs offer both full-time and part-time options, along with online or on-campus learning experiences.
Step 4: Become Certified
Before working as an FNP, you must become certified in your state, bypassing the FNP certification exam. Each state has its regulation and board that provides certification.
Step 5: Apply for State Licensure
After completing your Master’s degree, clinical hours, and passing your certification exam, you can apply for licensure as an FNP through your state nursing board. You must renew your licence every five years to practice as a family nurse practitioner. To restore your licence, you need:
- A minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practice
- A minimum of 100 contact hours of advanced nursing continuing education courses.
Family nurse practitioner salary: How much do FNPs make?
Becoming an FNP is a great way to boost your income as a nurse. The average salary a family nurse practitioner makes in the United States is around $54.47 every hour, which calculates to anything between $77k – $126k annually. In European countries, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Italy are among the top-paying countries for FNPs globally, with average salaries ranging from €74k – €137k.
What’s the difference between FNP vs. NP?
An FNP is a nurse practitioner specialising in family medicine after being educated at the Master’s level or higher.
While most nurse practitioners may specialise in paediatrics health, women’s health, or adult-geriatric care, among many other possibilities, family nurse practitioners specialise in family health care. This revolves around the family unit, including all ages and genders, across the entire lifespan.
In short, all FNPs are NPs, but not all NPs are FNPs.
Can a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) work in a hospital?
Like a regular nurse, a family nurse practitioner can work in different settings. This includes public and private, general, medical, surgical, and specialty hospitals.
While getting a job as a family nurse practitioner in a hospital is not the easiest thing to achieve, online platforms like Velju has made life easier for FNPs looking for better jobs across Europe.
What are the benefits of becoming an FNP?
FNP ranked #4 among best healthcare jobs and #5 among the best STEM jobs. Here are some other reasons why you should consider a career as an FNP:
- High earning potential
- Low unemployment rate (1.2%)
- FNPs get to build a genuine relationship with patients and patient’s families.
Whether you choose a full-time or part-time schedule, becoming a family nurse practitioner can take 2-8 years, depending on where you are in your nursing career.
You will need at least a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) to become a family nurse practitioner.
Furthermore, a perk of this job is that employers usually immediately provide training for it, so you can be sure you will always be properly educated.