A nurse’s role has been to maintain an environment conducive to patients’ faster recovery throughout history. While the role has evolved, the basic duties remain the same. They are still required to assist patients in overcoming their illnesses.
With diseases mutating and viruses evolving, today’s nurses need advanced skills to perform their duties. The necessity for nurses with specialized skills in certain areas of healthcare, such as cardiac care, acute care, primary care, and so on, has never been greater.
Consequently, many doors have opened for nurses, and they can now specialize in a field that interests them. These roles offer better autonomy and control, higher pay, and improved professional standing.
One of these specialties is a family nurse practitioner.
Who is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
The role of FNPs is not confined to a particular age group with family-focused care. FNPs carry out physical exams, administer diagnostic tests, prescribe medication, develop treatment plans, and treat acute and chronic illnesses, injuries, and conditions associated with primary care. Their work varies from community health centers to private practices, healthcare systems and universities.
Given the broader scope of their work, the need for skilled family nurses is increasing as the need for healthcare services increases.
How to become a family nurse practitioner?
Getting the right specialization in the field will prepare you to become a family nurse practitioner. The most chosen path of becoming a family nurse is to become an RN with an ADN or get a BSN degree. Next, you must enroll in a specialized MSN Family Nurse Practitioner degree program. After the degree, you have to complete the clinical hours. As the last step, you must pass the certification requirements and obtain a state license to become a professional FNP.
What are the benefits of choosing this career path?
As discussed earlier, the demand for FNPs is on the rise because of their broad scope of practice. Many states even allow FNPs to diagnose illnesses and prescribe medications.
As an FNP, you can practice anywhere in the world, regardless of the clinical environment. It is a flexibility that greatly extends your demand in healthcare. Besides all this, there are more perks associated with the role. Let’s explore them in detail.
1. Job security
Job security is the most important feature in a career, and given the demands of FNPs, you are assured of remaining employed.
Regardless of technological advancements, a need for healthcare services will always exist. A growing older population requires more routine patient care in today’s times, so the demand is more urgent. The Department of Health and Human Services reports a 33% rise in the number of older Americans, reaching 49.2 million in 2016. And by 2060, the number is expected to reach 98%. As long as there are patients, the job of a family nurse practitioner will always be relevant, which makes it unlikely that you will be out of work.
- Aging nursing population
A less-discussed aspect of healthcare is the older, more skilled nurses aging out of this profession. Naturally, it exacerbates the nursing shortage in healthcare and puts experienced nurses in a bind. According to estimates, nearly 60,000 nurses have been retiring every year since 2012.
However, the older generation is retiring, leaving room for the younger generation to fill their shoes. In other words, there will always be a demand for licensed nurse practitioners. In 2020, there were 290,000 licensed nurse practitioners and 65% of which were family nurse practitioners. The figures imply the attractiveness of this specialization is not slowing down for nurses and healthcare alike.
- Fill for the shortage of physicians
It won’t be skewed to say that healthcare lacks skilled professionals in all categories. Not just nurses, but there is a shortage of primary care physicians as well. In this situation, nurses fill the gap left by the lack of these physicians. They perform duties that were the sole domain of doctors in the past.
The June 2020 data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of 21,400 and 55,200 physicians by 2033. This shortage can be addressed by having more nurse practitioners perform the duties.
- Higher salary for FNPs
Most people seek a career that improves their financial standing. Since FNP is more in demand, it is naturally a lucrative nursing field. The salary of an FNP is attractive regardless of where you live. According to ZipRecruiter, FNPs in New York earn up to $121,101, which is the highest among all states. These figures vary based on the type of clinic and the individual’s experience.
- Minimally invasive procedures
Many nurses are not comfortable performing intensively invasive procedures. Those nurses will find FNP an ideal specialization as only minimally invasive procedures are involved. Techniques involve skin biopsies, stunning, or IUD insertions. But since FNPs are catering to a wider population, they will learn a lot of new procedures during their job. Learning new skills improves career options and makes one a desirable candidate for employers. So, although nurses may prefer this specialty as it involves fewer procedures, they must be willing to learn more on the job.
- Direct involvement with patient care
In caring for all family members, family nurse practitioners develop a personal bond with their patients. They observe the different stages of human development and their health conditions as each stage unfolds. Much like physicians, they work with patients directly, get to know the nuances of their health, diagnose and treat their illnesses. In addition, they develop a special relationship with their patients, helping them live better lives.
The job of a Family Nurse Practitioner is lucrative, but it is also highly respected. By working directly with patients, they can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. With the shortage of nurses in healthcare, there are more opportunities for FNPs in every state.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, hospitals struggled to cope with an influx of patients suffering from various illnesses caused by Covid-19. As a result, you have an opportunity to participate in this field. Many hospitals are willing to pay even higher salaries to attract the best candidates.