Family nurse practitioner’s (FNPs) are nurses that have chosen to advance their medical career by focusing on a path of direct and full patient treatment. This usually involves attending to the patient’s medical needs over an extended period, sometimes even for decades. The role itself can be a highly rewarding career with increased financial and emotional benefits. Many nurses aspire to this career because of the potential job satisfaction, however, there are many factors to consider before embarking on a career like this. Read further to find out more.
It May Take Longer Than Expected
Similar to the way nurses advance from high school education to care for patients, FNPs have to first earn a Bachelor or Master of Science in Nursing (BSN & MSN), which in itself can take anywhere from 4 to 5 years to complete. Graduates then need to gain licensure as a practicing Registered Nurse (RN). Many nurses stop at this point and are happy to care for patients in a hospital setting. However, those that want to become FNP have to prove their competence by completing a further two years of practical experience once becoming an RN. The last major step before certifying as an FNP will require a secondary qualification to earn your Masters or Doctorate in Nursing.
Keep in mind that each of these steps requires that a nurse has gained their degree and experience through reputable institutions and universities that validate their credentials. Becoming certified in family practice is often dependant on the type of certification earned. Based on the state you reside in different certifications will be preferential with different state boards. The certification must then be maintained and renewed every 5 years to continue practicing as an FNP. To understand more, check out this family nurse practitioner program.
Dedication is Key
This doesn’t just mean attending to every test, check-up procedure, and arising medical problem. FNPs often have to allocate a significant amount of their time to a patient. Many patients might need round-the-clock care that only an FNP can provide, and this includes emotional support. Since an FNP’s main aim is to provide family-focused care, they often assist with teaching certain healthy lifestyle habits that will prevent illness and disease.
As you can see becoming an FNP is not impossible, but it will take some serious dedication and time to pursue your educational qualifications so that a rewarding career can be achieved. You also want to make sure that you are young enough when you embark on this career choice. Work towards a minimum of 6 years of full-time studying and practicing towards nursing before settling as an FNP.
Your Stress Levels May Increase
Many nurses choose to be FNPs because the earning potential is much greater. The average FNP can expect a take-home salary of up to $150 000 per year, plus bonuses and incentive payments. Some may even be thinking that the workload and stress will be less because they will no longer be dealing with hundreds of patients in an immensely stressful hospital environment. Some FNPs see almost 20 separate patients in one day, and although this may seem manageable, FNPs are responsible for every aspect of that patient’s health and wellbeing. It may or may not be less stressful, but it will be a different kind of stress that you will need to get used to.
FNPs lookout for all primary and urgent care and internal medicine. This means performing regular patient check-ups, scheduling and attending specialist visits, draw blood and send for testing, and prescribing required medication.
The Work May Be Monotonous
Generally, nurses who go on to become family practitioners specialize in a particular field of choice of the medical field. This often entails performing the same procedures multiple times a day and dealing with the same disease and patient health issues regularly. Tasks may become redundant and boring to some, so you should continue your education throughout your practicing career. Take courses and seminars that will advance your knowledge on various medical procedures so that you can diversify your portfolio once you open a practice.
Working with Multiple Healthcare Professionals and Regulations
All FNPs need to have good communication and relationships with various healthcare professionals. These can include rehabilitation and physical therapy consultants, specialization consultations for advanced diseases, and paramedic and emergency services. The reason that these partnerships are important is to build a strong foundational support team for your patient that will have every health problem and need taken care of. If you have been working with healthcare agencies for a while you build more advantageous relationships that are ultimately beneficial to the patient.
The negative side to this is that depending on the state board registered, certain regulations will be limited to FNPs. For example, an uninsured patient being treated under a specific FNP who is bound by state board regulations may not be allowed to transfer to a government hospital, which would be cheaper. This results in a large and concerning medical bill that the patient is now liable for. The conflicts of interest can be detrimental to a patients’ treatment plan, especially since many FNPs report feeling disrespected by other healthcare professionals. Their career is not seen as important as a surgeon’s is for example, yet FNPs need to understand far more about anatomy and diseases, with less formal education and training.
Only a passionate individual that is willing to dedicate their time to caring for patients should pursue this career. There are many benefits to obtaining FNP licensure and certification, such as higher salary potential and greater job satisfaction, but the pros need to be properly weighed against the cons. There will be constant backlash and red tape from many of the healthcare agencies you choose to work with until legislation can be amended. If you know that at the end of the day you will love what are doing, then the rest will become manageable.