Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are widely recognized for their contributions to healthcare, and the popularity of the FNP specialization is helping shape the future of healthcare. It is also one of the fastest-growing professions.
Every day throughout the country, FNPs offer care to patients of all backgrounds and ages. Specializing in child and adult healthcare, their certification and education place them at the forefront of nursing, allowing them to offer care to families and parents at a deeper level.
An FNP’s role in healthcare comprises a wide range of activities. By obtaining advanced knowledge and hands-on skills through an online family nurse practitioner degree, which can be taken at Walsh University, FNPs in various states can fulfill the basic needs of their clients. Aspiring family nurses can build strong nursing teams through a master’s in FNP at Walsh University, aside from delivering excellent care, contributing to positive company culture, and more.
For graduates seeking a hands-on approach to helping their patients’ health and overall wellbeing, pursuing a career as an FNP is the foremost step toward achieving this goal.
What do FNPs do?
Professionals looking to become an FNP can expect a dynamic role that allows them to use their medical knowledge and skills. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), FNPs are typically focused on three primary areas of clinical care: urgent care, internal medicine, and primary care. This extensive knowledge allows them to address various types of patient concerns.
What FNPs do daily is similar to the responsibilities and activities of primary care physicians. Like physicians, FNPs can identify and diagnose health issues. They also hold the authority to prescribe medication to patients in some states without needing supervision from physicians. They evaluate patients’ medical records and chart their data. They can also work with patients to develop healthcare plans based on their history.
FNPs are also primary providers of preventative care services, helping patients to reduce the occurrence of repeat visits and avoid ER visits and hospital admissions.
An FNP’s tasks may involve a broad scope of responsibilities based on the type of health facility in which they work. FNPs play a crucial part in a patient’s aid, from checking their healthcare plan and making vital changes to evaluating blood tests and lab results and determining whether specific medications are worth prescribing.
FNPs can create efficacious patient plans by working closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals to promote patient wellbeing and prevent diseases. As healthcare advocates carrying out research to identify patients’ particular health concerns and introducing programs to offer healthcare education, FNPs also play a significant part in public health, delivering much-needed support and resources.
Moreover, family nurses also support clients through parenthood by offering various services – for example, planning a child’s care with their healthcare team and parents. They may also educate families about the impact of illness on a child’s development and growth, among other things.
Where do FNPs work?
FNPs are trained to provide services in nearly any healthcare institution. The most common workplaces for FNPs include:
- Physicians’ offices
- Emergency room
- School clinics
- Private practices
- Urgent care centers
FNP job outlook
With the increased recognition for the quality of care, FNPs are gradually edging toward the forefront of modern primary care and increasing in number. The FNP profession has evolved to become one of the most sought-out careers today.
There were more than 290,000 certified nurse practitioners in the US by 2020. According to the BLS, the number of nurse practitioners is expected to increase by 40% from 2021 to 2031. Compared to this, employment for registered nurses is only projected to grow by 6% during that same period. Meanwhile, the total number for all occupations is estimated to grow by 5%.
FNPs are in extraordinarily high demand, and the career also records some of the highest satisfaction ratings in today’s modern professions. The US News & World Report ranks the ‘nurse practitioner’ career as number one in its list of Best Healthcare Jobs, and number two in its list of 100 Best Jobs in the US.
Besides the appealing career opportunities, nurse practitioners also benefit from above-average compensation. For context, in 2020, nurse practitioners earned a median salary of $111,680.
The increase in demand for FNPs also comes from the ever-increasing autonomy of this job role. This is where many family nurses serve as primary care providers and see a scope of work very similar to that of primary care physicians.
Essential qualities that every FNP must have
Before you decide to enroll in an FNP degree, below are some characteristics and qualities you need in order to prosper in your role.
Whether you are interacting with managers, patients, parents or colleagues, note that every FNP must possess active listening skills. Active listening constitutes ensuring that others feel heard and understood.
You may only accomplish patient-focused care by listening to patients’ perspectives and needs. For instance, helping parents understand their children’s wellbeing should not be restricted to constantly instructing them. Listening to their concerns is just as crucial. Moreover, there are various benefits associated with effective listening, such as:
- Strengthening teams.
- Ensuring improved outcomes.
- Garnering trust.
- Ensuring that anyone you interact with is satisfied and feels heard.
- Gaining detailed information.
- Resolving conflicts.
Compassion and empathy
Compassion and working in healthcare are closely interrelated. The ability to see from another person’s perspective allows you to offer the best possible services. Empathy enables you to better fulfill the needs of both staff members and clients. The patients must understand that you genuinely care for their wellbeing beyond the clinical requirements. Clients will notice when you use empathy as your driving force and will trust you.
After all, you will deal with patients with various ailments. They will also be in varying states of mind, so to help them, showing empathy and compassion can help put their minds at ease. The desire to make your environment as positive as possible makes all the difference and ensures that everyone around you is satisfied.
FNPs experience various challenges in their daily routines. While they might not be directly accountable for diagnosing or establishing the course of care, family nurses must clearly know how to respond to emerging situations. Although some decisions may be more pronounced, others will be based on predefined standards of care. The benefits of critical thinking include the following:
- Guaranteeing that your opinions are educated.
- Making better decisions.
- Improving relationships between staff members and clients.
There will be various instances in your career as a family nurse where you must think on your feet and make quick decisions. Therefore, confidence is crucial.
You can only expect to have solid leadership skills with effective communication. Effective communication is necessary for any nursing or healthcare professional to guarantee the care of patients and foster cohesion among coworkers.
FNPs must know how to professionally address medical staff, clients and patients. It is vital to be able to convey information compassionately and clearly. Moreover, excellent written communication skills are critical in ensuring accurate patient records.
The way that you behave and come across to clients, managers and colleagues speaks volumes about your character. Trusting your position as an FNP, clients and patients put their lives in your hands, so you must always keep a professional attitude and ensure that they are heard and taken care of. When you are a professional FNP, you:
- Ensure quality work.
- Are responsive and take accountability for your actions.
- Are always helpful.
- Are proud of your work.
- Are humble and good-natured when interacting with coworkers and patients.
How do family nurses support clients through parenthood?
Overall, the main job of an FNP is to work alongside children and adults in family practice or a clinical setting. These professionals provide primary care services to individuals of all ages – i.e., from infants to adolescents, teenagers, adults and elders.
FNPs also help families and clients take on parenthood by offering the following services:
- Answering queries concerning health issues.
- Performing procedures and tests.
- Planning a child’s care with the child’s healthcare team.
- Documenting health history and performing a physical exam.
- Treating common childhood ailments.
- Specializing in and managing chronic illnesses.
- Altering a child’s or infant’s healthcare plan with their doctor when needed.
- Educating families about the impact of diseases on a child’s development.
- Teaching children about self-care and healthy habits.
- Writing prescriptions.
- Ordering medical examinations.
- Providing referrals to civic groups.
- Educating other healthcare members, local groups and student nurses about child healthcare.
- Facilitating telemedicine care for children and parents.
- Educating parents to understand the importance of ‘language nutrition’.
- Evaluating childhood developments to detect signs of ASD.