Nurses are the backbone of the medical field, and while doctors might be the ones that you see whenever you are sick or need some serious help, you are more than likely interacting with nurses more regularly than you might think. In fact, without many nurses and the various medical fields they inhabit, the medical world wouldn’t move as efficiently as it does today.
Here’s why nurses are so important to the world at large and why being a family nurse practitioner is so important to the world of nursing.
What family nurse practitioners do
FNPs provide primary healthcare for the entire family, from infants to older people and everyone in between. Family nurse practitioners work with whole families, getting to know them and their various health problems before providing patient-focused treatment.
As a family nurse practitioner, you will work with a family full-time and often for a long time. It is not uncommon for multiple generations of the same family to work with one family nurse practitioner, and it’s not unusual for the nurse to see births, deaths, and new faces as the family changes. But the one thing that doesn’t change is the knowledge that the family nurse practitioner provides to their family.
They don’t just focus on diagnosing illnesses and injuries but can also treat them and provide education about why patients need to have the care that they do. Everything that a family nurse practitioner does is going to be focused on the patient because FNPs are the primary care providers.
This also gives them access to patient records, documents, and other data types that can be used if other doctors or healthcare providers are working with the same patients. The primary care provider is often the first point of contact with bigger healthcare teams, and their data is frequently requested for major operations and surgeries.
Preventive medicine and education
Probably the two biggest things that will separate a family nurse practitioner from other nurses in the field are the ability to focus on preventive medicine and education. Family nurses can diagnose health conditions for a certain family member and conduct physicals. If they see something is wrong with their patient’s mental or physical health, they will reach out and try to help them through medication and therapy.
A family nurse practitioner knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and they will seek to keep their family safe, especially when it comes to educating the patient about health changes. Surprisingly, many patients resist doing preventative things even if they know those actions will produce positive results. This is true simply because they don’t understand why they must do it.
However, a good family nurse practitioner knows how to explain things in a way that teaches why these preventive actions must be taken, making it much easier for the patients to take them.
Prescribing plans of care and medication
Because so many family nurse practitioners see the same patients repeatedly, it becomes very easy to create a care plan designed to help their patients see the results they want. If a patient requires treatment for something minor or something major, they can draw up a medication plan to get the patient to their goals.
They can also perform routine checkups to make sure that a patient’s health improves, and if it is not, then those care plans come into play in order to get the percentage of health back to what it should be. Family nurse practitioners are also able to prescribe medications based on what they have found, and they can also monitor the use and the effect of this medication on the patient.
Then, they can continue to gather data and see how a certain medication or group of drugs is affecting the patient, and they changes to give out the best treatment option.
Family nurse practitioners are partners with their patients
One of the best things that you can do as a family nurse practitioner is to understand that you are building a relationship with your patients, and it is also a partnership. In some other hospital-based professions you a,re constantly working with patients you don’t know. You are putting out fires every day; you can get burned and long for a way to have a relationship with your patients that doesn’t end once you have finished patching them up.
As a family nurse practitioner, you will be able to get to know an entire family and work to guide them to give them the best health you can. They will be able to ask you questions and use your knowledge of health to help them feel empowered, and they will also feel better about taking control of their health. So don’t be afraid to seek out what it takes to become a family nurse practitioner because you can hone your skills in a family and watch them grow.
Additionally, you will not just be working with patients, but you will also be making sure that the voice of the patient is being heard whenever it comes time for you to talk to the primary physician. If you enjoy communicating and have the skills to communicate with both patients and doctors, then this is something you will want to take advantage of.
While many family nurse practitioners do work independently as the primary care provider for the family, they also will work closely with other healthcare providers and with the primary physician. Basically, if one of your patients has a team of medical professionals around them to deal with a health issue, you are going to be on that team and also sharing the data and insights you have.
What skills does a family nurse practitioner need?
One of the biggest skills that a family nurse practitioner needs to have right off the bat is the ability to manage a lot of data correctly. You are not just working with a patient but also with an entire family, and sometimes, you might even be working with multiple families at once. In each one of those families, you will be working with various people who are different ages, have other health conditions, and will need additional things from you.
You will also need to maintain accurate health records for each person and have all the data in case the primary physician or other doctors need it, giving you the best chance at staying on top of all the people you need to work with.
It is also useful to be good at teaching because a lot of the information you will be giving out is information that is educational and supportive for your patients. You want to show them their medical history and explain why it matters, let them know about any issues that they might have that will require preventive care, and your patients will also be coming to you with questions that they might have about their health.
You must be able to answer those questions in a calming way that pushes your patients to understand and want to implement those solutions.
Finally, many family nurse practitioners need to become leaders. Even if you never break out and form your own business, you will still be leading both the patients and families you work with, and other nurses and those under you in the healthcare team. If you see yourself as a natural-born leader or just like to lead a team to make people’s lives better, being a family nurse practitioner is right for you.
Where can you work as a family nurse practitioner?
If you think a family nurse practitioner is the type of person who only works at pharmacies and other small areas, you would be mistaken. To answer the question of where can family nurse practitioners work is simple. They can work just about anywhere nurses are needed as family nurse practitioners. The best thing to know is that where you want to work will depend on what you’ve studied and the skills you have learned. Texas Women’s University’s program offers specialized education that encompasses the patient care, clinical expertise, critical thinking, and professional growth required for being a family nurse practitioner.
Family nurse practitioners are very important in clinics when treating individual patients and their families. They can also be found educating both their patients and the public at large whenever it comes to their health and health questions.
Family nurse practitioners can also be found working in doctor’s offices and hospitals, and some even have their telemedicine service to work with patients over the phone. A family nurse practitioner isn’t ever restricted to one area or another, and they can find work anywhere.
They can even help out in company or corporate-run clinics for businesses, giving healthcare services to employees, or even in schools. Again, their job is mostly educational in these environments. Still, they can also be heavily focused on preventative care, focusing on sexual health, the dangers of obesity or smoking, or providing all sorts of first aid services.
Plus, one of the best things about this job is that you can provide care to medically stable patients, which can help if you don’t want to go through the stress of saving lives or having to move quickly to keep patients steady. Instead, they come to you tough and seeking answers, which can be very calming. Many nurses who have been burnt out working in high-stress environments such as emergency rooms and intensive care units have been able to calm down and find peace as family nurse practitioners.
The only thing that changes based on location is what they do. In some areas, they focus on working with the patients, and in others, they take on more of a general education role. Depending on the type of family nurse practitioner that you want to be, you can tailor where you apply for your job accordingly.
How to become a family nurse practitioner
If you are looking for an easy path into the hospital world, then becoming a family nurse practitioner probably isn’t your career. It requires a lot of time and both physical and mental energy, and it can take around a decade to become fully licensed and certified. But if you have your heart set on becoming a family nurse practitioner, then here is what you need to do.
First, you must become a registered nurse, which requires four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. You will need to get your degree from programs that are from either the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Once you have the bachelor’s degree, you must pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination).
After the exam is passed and you become a registered nurse, it can be tempting to jump into the field of becoming a family nurse practitioner right away. However, don’t be afraid to break in your new registered nurse degree first and try to get some experience working for a diverse group of patients in a diverse set of locations. Since many workplaces have you working with patients at all stages of life, it’s perfect training for becoming a family nurse practitioner later on.
Once you have accumulated enough experience as a registered nurse, you must focus on earning your master’s or Doctorate in the family nurse practitioner field. You can get these degrees through many universities and can either take your degrees in person on campus, online, or through a mix of both classes. Many of the universities that offer nursing degrees know that you are still very busy, and you don’t need to spend a ton of time away from your busy nursing schedule.
Each of the courses will give you more skills that you need to become a family nurse practitioner, both in the classroom and with some hands-on experience. Finally, once you have your degree, you can focus on getting your FNP-C or FNP-BC certification to become a family nurse practitioner.
The board of nursing in your state might have different requirements depending on where you live and what state you plan to practice in. The ANCC offers the FNP-BC examination. The ANCC provides the FNP-BC examination of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPC). Both exams are done online, and you will need an active RN license and a master’s or Doctorate to take the test.
You will also need to be recertified every five years and continue to keep your RN license active.
There are different paths for a nurse practitioner.
While it might seem like the title of “family nurse practitioner” really locks you into working with families of all ages, you can specialize easily if you want. As a general nurse, you have the ability to do a lot of different things with your degrees and your skillsets. For example, suppose you are leaning away from being a family-regarded practitioner because you like to work with kids. In that case, you can be a pediatric nurse practitioner. In that case, care for children from birth until they become adults.
You still get a constant, long-term relationship with the kids and the families under your care, and you can still provide the same level of support.
You can also work as a women’s health nurse practitioner to work primarily with women and in the field of women’s health, or you can work as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner as well, which allows you to help all sorts of people and gives you some freedom in how you make your schedule.
A family nurse practitioner is important for an entire family’s lifetime
Just don’t forget that you will be taking care of a whole family from the cradle to the grave, and there’s something really special about that. You will be able to watch an entire family grow and be healthy because of what you have recommended, and sometimes, that is the most important part of the job.