Are you a nurse who is considering a transition to providing more family-focused care? Would you enjoy the opportunity to work with patients of diverse ages and backgrounds and get to know them throughout different life stages?
Then a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program—such as Chamberlain University’s Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) Specialty Track—may be the right choice for you. An FNP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who focuses on comprehensive healthcare for families and family members across all ages, body systems and diseases.
Why Family Nurse Practitioner Career Options Are Worthwhile for Nurses
But, why become a family nurse practitioner? Here are six reasons to consider furthering your education and expanding your nursing practice with an FNP program.
1. Be prepared for a wide variety of potential roles and settings.
The first step in considering this career field is to learn how to become a family nurse practitioner. An FNP program can help prepare you to sit for national certification as an FNP and enhance your opportunity for advancement in a wide range of roles, including (but not limited to):
• College Health
• Family Practice
• Health Department
• Internal Medicine
• Pediatric Primary Care
• Retail Clinics
• Women’s Health
Keep in mind that some careers may require several years of experience in addition to educational credentials.
Because of their ability to work with a broad patient population across all age ranges, life stages and genders, FNPs are found in an equally diverse number of settings—from independent private practices with other nurse practitioners, physician’s offices and major hospitals, to schools, state and local health departments, community clinics and other ambulatory care facilities, according to Nurse Journal.
2. Be part of a job field ranked high for desirability.
FNPs are part of a larger field of nurse practitioners. US News & World Report ranked Nurse Practitioner as #3 out of 100 Best Jobs of 2021, and #2 in Best Health Care Jobs of 2021.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 50 percent increase in job growth for nurse practitioners between 2019 and 2029.*
3. Help fill a void in primary care.
According to a study commissioned by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States could face an estimated shortage of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033. For primary care, the estimated shortfall will be between 21,400 and 55,200 physicians. The study also found that the numbers of new primary care physicians and other medical specialists are not keeping pace with the demands of a growing and aging population.
This is where FNPs can help meet the needs in primary care. In some areas of the country, particularly in rural communities where physician shortages are persistent and prevalent, FNPs can be the sole healthcare providers in nurse practitioner-led clinics. They provide much-needed services to underserved populations that would otherwise have very limited access to preventative care, or healthcare of any kind, according to Nurse Journal.
To help fill a void in her own rural community of 3,000 people in Hull, Iowa, Chamberlain graduate Markie Van’t Hul decided to pursue an MSN-FNP program.
“It’s extremely difficult to get mid-level providers like nurse practitioners or family practice physicians who provide specialized care to live or work in a small town,” Van’t Hul explained. “That was the driving force behind my decision to give back to the region I have lived in—and now work in—for 20 years.”
4. No two days are exactly the same.
There’s nothing routine about being an FNP. You’ll have the opportunity to work directly with patients and take on different tasks and situations each and every day. As an FNP, you’ll deliver a range of acute, chronic and preventive healthcare services. In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, FNPs perform routine checkups, health-risk assessments, immunization and screening tests and can offer personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
One day, you may be managing an elderly patient’s chronic hypertension. The next day, you may be treating a child’s sprained wrist. On another day, you may be advising a mother-to-be on prenatal care and healthy eating habits. Each day will be a new adventure in patient care.
Chamberlain MSN-FNP graduate Jaime Henson agrees that day-to-day duties can vary greatly, with a few surprises thrown in.
“No matter what, there will always be a patient who comes in with something you’ve never seen in practice before,” she said.
5. Develop a rapport with your patients.
As an FNP, you’ll get to know your patients as you treat them across their lifespan—from infants to geriatric patients—and across an array of illnesses, conditions and injuries involved in primary care. You’ll also have the opportunity to treat the entire family, with each family member having unique medical needs throughout the years. You’ll truly be able to make an impact on the health of your patients and their families over the years.
“I am beyond pleased I chose this route and would not trade it for anything,” Henson shared. “I truly feel like I make a difference in people’s lives!”
6. Enjoy the independence of being an FNP.
Why do you want to become a family nurse practitioner? One great reason is that FNPs can enjoy a level of autonomy. In addition to being licensed for all ages (family), an FNP can:
• Independently diagnose and manage patients
• Care for their own panel of patients
• Prescribe medications independently, including controlled substances. An FNP’s scope of practice is determined by individual State Boards of Nursing.
• Co-manage patients with specialists
Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner can give you many exciting opportunities to help advance the health of individuals and families. But before you can embark on a new career as an FNP, you’ll need to learn how to become a family nurse practitioner and find the right FNP program for you. Interested in learning more about Chamberlain University’s MSN-FNP program? Request more information here.
*Footnote: Occupations with the most job growth: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) (visited May 2021)
Data reflects a projected percentage change in employment from 2019-2029 and may not reflect local economic conditions.
By Agnes Hicks
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