Nursing Careers - Becoming a Family Nursing Practitioner
If you find fulfillment in building long-term relationships with patients
to the point that you personally know their kids or their other relatives by
name and you exchange gifts on holidays and maybe invite each other during
birthdays and other special occasions, then being a Family Nurse Practitioner
(FNP) may just be the right specialization for you. FNPs or simply, family
nurses, enjoy a rich and varied work environment, opportunities for personal
growth, and not to mention, very competitive salaries. Also, the demand for
family nurse practitioners is expected to increase quite significantly for
the next ten years.
Requirements for becoming a family nurse
To become a family nurse practitioner, you need to take up further studies
on top of being a registered nurse, typically a Master's in Science degree,
which takes about one to two years; after which you will have to pass a state
board of national certification exam. Agencies that offer certification
include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses
The role of the family nurse
The family nurse specializes in family medicine and provides a wide range
of patient care to different groups of patients, focusing on disease prevention
and health promotion beginning in childhood and continues all throughout
adulthood, being a witness to an individual's aging process. The family nurse
performs many duties that are commonly performed only by physicians and cares
for a patient through the cycle of family life.
The family nurse also provides specialty care such as perinatal and
gynecological care, as well as a broad range of care services and is trained
to diagnose and build treatment plans for chronic and acute diseases. He or
she may prescribe interventions through physical exams, interviews, and
diagnostic and lab testing, as well as prescribe medications and treatments
to patients. Counseling and providing education are also part of the job.
Typical career path for FNPs
Before they became family nurse practitioners, a lot of FNPs practiced as
RNs (registered nurses) as nursing staff in hospitals or other medical
facilities. They usually go back to school after some years of experience and
earn their master's degree to become an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN). APN
have advanced training and commonly deliver some medical services that are
reserved only for physicians.
One of the best perks about becoming a family nurse is being able to work
in flexible and autonomous settings; unlike registered nurses family nurses
can be their own boss. Family nurses can work in a wide variety of settings
including private offices, nurse-managed healthcare centers, hospitals,
long-term care facilities, hospice centers, clinics, schools, homes, and
community-based settings. There are various specific roles that FNPs can take
including patient and staff educator, case manager, researcher, policy-maker,
Nurse practitioners in general get paid better than registered nurses. On
average they make $20,000 more per year than the base salaries of RNs across
the country. Because family nurses can manage their own practice, they can
increase their income substantially with a bit of entrepreneurial savvy.
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