Family nurse practitioners have become one of the most in-demand professionals in the healthcare industry. As an advanced practice registered nurse, family nurse practitioners earn a graduate degree in their specialty, preparing them to provide primary care to patients of all ages.
A family nurse practitioner can work in a variety of settings. Most work in hospitals and physician’s offices. But they also hold positions in medical spas, urgent care centers, nursing facilities, and university health centers.
Earning a Master of Science in Nursing with Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) emphasis prepares students to excel in one of the fastest-growing areas of the healthcare industry.
What Does an FNP Do?
Family nurse practitioners provide a wide range of family-focused health care services to patients of all ages. These services include performing physical exams, ordering or performing diagnostic testing, diagnosing acute and chronic conditions and developing treatment plans, including prescribing medicine, for various conditions.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) writes that advanced practice nurses “play a pivotal role in the future of health care” and often work “at the forefront of providing preventive care services to the public.”
Typical duties for an FNP include:
- Performing physical examinations
- Diagnosing and treating common acute illnesses and injuries
- Providing immunizations
- Helping patients manage chronic issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Ordering diagnostic tests and laboratory tests
- Prescribing medications
- Counseling patients and their families on healthy lifestyle choices and effective health care options
Demand for Family Nurse Practitioners
Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) call for the employment of FNPs to grow 45 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the national average for all occupations (8 percent). The median annual wage reached $114,510 in May 2020.
The steep increase in FNP job opportunities is partly driven by their skills in working with patients across their entire lifespan. According to the BLS, hospitals, outpatient offices, clinics, and other ambulatory care settings will also increasingly use FNPs as part of a team-based model of care.
Where Do FNPs Work?
Because of their advanced set of nursing skills, FNPs work in many different healthcare settings. They include the following.
- Hospitals. This includes all departments, such as intensive care and the emergency room
- Private practice medical clinic. In this setting, an FNP does many primary care duties for patients
- Urgent care centers. Walk-in clinics focus on providing treatments for minor injuries and illnesses.
- Nursing facilities. State-certified nursing facilities provide a variety of skilled nursing care, including rehabilitation and other health-related services for those who do not need hospital care.
- University health centers. These centers provide wellness and healthcare services for students and may also provide outpatient procedures for those in the surrounding community.
How to Become an FNP
Becoming an FNP requires earning a graduate degree and developing specialized knowledge and skills. Marian University offers a hybrid, 46-credit FNP program for full-time or part-time students who learn through face-to-face and online courses.
Students in the FNP degree program learn through didactic coursework and preceptor-supervised, faculty-guided clinical practicum experiences. Full-time students can finish the program in two and a half years.
Becoming an FNP puts graduates in one of the most important and growing fields in healthcare. For nurses aspiring to work at the pinnacle of their profession, an FNP master’s program is the first step toward achieving their goal.