What is an FNP?
Professionals interested in working with patients of all ages may want to pursue a career as a family nurse practitioner (FNP). FNPs perform exams, prescribe medications, and create treatment plans for patients of all ages.
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What Does a Family Nurse Practitioner Do?
FNPs provide primary care for patients at all life stages, often in collaboration with healthcare teams. While FNPs prioritize preventative care, they can also treat serious illnesses. Other responsibilities may include ordering and interpreting lab tests, diagnosing patients, and managing treatment plans. FNP coursework focuses on these topics:
Where Do FNPs Work?
FNPs can work in nearly any healthcare facility, including hospitals, urgent care establishments, or emergency rooms. However, nearly 14.5% of FNPs work in hospital outpatient departments, while 13.3% work in inpatient areas in hospitals.
FNPs conduct check-ups, order tests, and treat illnesses; they also perform procedures or assist in procedures, such as surgical or bedside.
FNPs record patient health history, observe and assess symptoms, and prescribe medication.
Internal Medicine Clinic
FNPs perform exams, treat illnesses and injuries, and prescribe medication.
Why Become a FNP?
Prospective FNPs should explore what this speciality offers before enrolling in a program. The table below looks at the career path’s common advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages to Becoming a FNP
- FNPs can focus on preventative care, teaching healthy patients to maintain their condition.
- Practitioners build genuine relationships with their clients and clients’ families.
- Graduates enter a growing field. Government data projects a 45% job growth increase through 2029.
Disadvantages to Becoming a FNP
- FNP schedules do not offer much flexibility outside of inpatient care, where practitioners can work three 12-hour shifts a week.
- FNPs cover a broader scope of the field, requiring practitioners to stay current on more information than specialties that focus on a target population.
- FNPs carry significant legal responsibility.
How To Become a Family Nurse Practitioner
Earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).
Aspiring FNPs can begin their career by earning an ADN or a BSN. ADN holders must go on to earn a BSN or enroll in a bridge program.
Pass the NCLEX-RN to receive RN licensure.
ADN and BSN graduates from accredited programs qualify to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)
in their state. Licensure lets graduates acquire professional experience as an RN.
Earn an MSN.
RNs with 1-2 years of experience can enroll in an MSN program
. FNPs need an advanced nursing degree to practice.
Obtain state licensure as a nurse practitioner.
Applicants who pass the national FNP exam can apply for state licensure. Students should review their state’s guidelines to identify any additional requirements.
Certification Options for FNPs
FNPs do not need additional certifications to practice. However, certifications allow FNPs to establish a competitive advantage in the field and specialize in certain diseases.
Careers Related to FNP
Pain Management Nurse Practitioner
Pain management nurse practitioners work with patients experiencing chronic or acute pain and prescribe treatments.
Family Nurse Practitioner
A family nurse practitioner typically works as a primary care provider for patients of all ages in different healthcare settings. Most nurse practitioners work as family NPs.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Neonatal nurse practitioners provide nursing care for newborn infants, generally in hospitals. While they care for infants, they also work with the new parents.
msn or dnp Required
Adult Nurse Practitioner
Adult nurse practitioners provide primary care for adults in a range of healthcare settings, including hospitals, health systems, and independent practices.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Psychiatric nurse practitioners, also known as mental health nurse practitioners, specialize in providing mental health treatment, in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Women’s health nurse practitioners specialize in women’s health, especially obstetric and gynecological (ob/gyn) health. They typically work in hospitals, health systems, and independent practices.
How Much Do Family Nurse Practitioners Make?
Licensed FNPs enter a growing field that offers lucrative opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a projected 45% increase in employment through 2029. Geographic location also plays a part in earning potential. States with the highest job growth rates include Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia.
FNPs should also note that multiple factors influence compensation. For instance, the 2019 AANP Compensation Overview indicates that nearly 70% of nurse practitioners hold salaried jobs, while the remaining hold hourly positions. Specialty areas also influence earning potential, and FNPs can earn $114,000 on average.
Find State-Specific Salary Data Here
Frequently Asked Questions About FNPs
How long does it take to become a FNP?
Earning a FNP license can require 2-5 years depending on a student’s education level. For instance, ADN holders do not complete the liberal arts portion of a BSN and may want to consider bridge programs. RNs with a BSN can apply directly to MSN programs.
Can FNPs prescribe medicine?
While nurse practitioners can prescribe medication, they must follow state regulations. Certain states require FNPs to establish an agreement with collaborating physicians, while other states offer full prescriptive authority. States may also require a probationary period during which FNPs collaborate with a physician.
How much does a FNP make in a year?
Multiple factors influence FNP earning potential, including geographic location, salaried positions versus hourly positions, and the type of healthcare organization practitioners work in. For instance, FNPs managing their own practice may earn more than practitioners working in clinics. However, FNPs earn about $114,000 on average.
What is the difference between a physician and FNP?
FNPs face increasing responsibilities, allowing them to perform many of the same duties as physicians. However, physicians spend more time training, which gives them more authority. Physicians obtain licensure from a medical board, while FNPs acquire their license from a nursing board.
Resources for Family Nurse Practitioners
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
AANP exists to improve the quality of healthcare through education, practice, and research. FNPs gain access to a vast network with over 118,000 members. Other membership benefits include free continuing education credits and free access to the Journal of American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Members also qualify for scholarships and grants.
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties
The NONPF promotes cutting-edge education and resources for nurse practitioners. Member benefits include discounted rates for conferences, webinars, and Fitzgerald publications. NONPF also provides a free career center listing each year. Online resources include archives, papers, newsletters, and a simulation portal.
American Nurses Association
Established in 1896, ANA supports RNs by advocating for medicare reform, workplace safety, and reimbursement for healthcare services. Members can access free webinars, continuing education credits, and a career center. The association also hosts online forums, conferences, and state-level meetings.
National Black Nurse Practitioner Association
Founded in 2010, the NBNPA primarily works with practitioners in Houston and the surrounding areas to improve healthcare-related disparities in underserved communities. NBNPA membership includes networking opportunities, discounted AANP membership, continuing education courses, and access to monthly meetings. Members can also access a career center and scholarship opportunities.
State Nurses Associations
State nurses associations offer a powerful platform that protects members and strives to advance the nursing field. Core values include social responsibility, integrity, and collaboration. FNPs can access continuing education credits, career guidance, grants and scholarships, and weekly updates on important trending topics on the website.
Related FNP Career Resources
Related FNP Program Resources
Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW
Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Clarke tired of the cold and snowy winters and moved to Coral Gables, Florida in order to complete her undergraduate degree in nursing at the University of Miami. After working for several years in the UHealth and Jackson Memorial Medical systems in the cardiac and ER units, Clarke returned to the University of Miami to complete her master of science in nursing (MSN). Since completing her MSN degree, Clarke has worked providing primary and urgent care to pediatric populations.