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The Benefits of Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner

By Careers Desk

Friday, December 13, 2019.

As a practicing nurse with already impressive qualifications, you may be wondering how to take the next big step in your career. Have you considered becoming a family nurse practitioner? The reality is that countless families in the United States are relying on FNPs as their primary care providers these days, and it is a role for which the demand is increasing. Obviously, it is also a role that any passionate nurse would undoubtedly be thrilled to take on. 

Here are a few benefits to keep in mind. 

More responsibility, better pay 

Family nurse practitioners earn substantially more than registered nurses, and they are afforded a far greater amount of responsibility. For instance, while a registered nurse may treat and care for patients from the time they are admitted all the way through to recovery, FNPs are often authorized to admit the patients themselves, order various tests for diagnostics, and actually make a diagnosis. 

In many ways, FNPs are replacing the need for frequent visits a to a physician, offering a seamless level of care to patients with minor to moderate illnesses and conditions. 

Higher chance of finding employment 

The reality of the situation in the United States is that there is a dangerous shortage of primary care physicians at the moment – a problem which is predicted to increase as the years go by. This is bad news for the healthcare industry, but great news for family nursing practitioners themselves as it is them who hospitals and clinics are turning to in order to help fill in the gaps. Nowadays, many families will opt to visit a FNP instead of a doctor when they require treatment or medical advice. 

Keep in mind that you will also maximize your chances of employment by being selective about the FNP program that you choose to pursue. The Carson-Newman Online Post-Master's FNP Certificate Program, for example, is one of the most respected in the country. The highlights of this particular program include:

  • Maximum support when it comes to clinical placements in your area. 

  • A special focus on preparing you to take the family nurse practitioner certification exam and to pass it the first time around. 

  • All of the resources that you could need in order to build on your already existing knowledge and experience. Remember, you will require a MSN degree and have a certain amount of working experience in order to be eligible to study towards your FNP certificate. 

More perks 

As already mentioned, a family nurse practitioner will earn substantially more than a registered nurse. Along with a hefty pay bump in the right direction, many hospitals and clinics in various states will also offer a number of extras in an effort to entice FNPs to work for them. These extras may include:

  • Lucrative benefit packages

  • Attractive bonus packages 

  • Flexible working hours 

In other words, it will often be extremely easy to find a job in which you are likely to be very happy and treated extremely well. This is why it is often recommended that newly qualified family nursing practitioners keep their options open when looking for a new job (unless they plan to stay at the medical establishment at which they were working when studying to obtain their FNP certificate). Send your resume out to more than one medical establishment so that you have a decent chance of receiving more than one offer of employment. From there, you will have your pick between at least two attractive salaries and a slew of competitive benefits too. 

You might also want to consider sending your resume to medical establishments outside of your state (if you are open to moving, of course). This is because some states offer better working conditions for family nursing practitioners, some of which even allow you to practice will full autonomy. 

More autonomy 

Did you know that 22 states now allow family nursing practitioners to work without the supervision of a doctor? Many other states are set to follow suit. These states all have different regulations which change regularly, however, so be sure to do plenty of research before making any big moves. In alphabetical order, the states which currently allow FNP autonomy include:

  • Alaska 

  • Arizona 

  • Colorado 

  • Connecticut

  • Hawaii 

  • Idaho 

  • Iowa 

  • Maine 

  • Maryland 

  • Minnesota 

  • Montana 

  • Nebraska 

  • Nevada 

  • New Hampshire 

  • New Mexico 

  • North Dakota 

  • Oregon 

  • Rhode Island

  • SOUTH Dakota 

  • Vermont 

  • Washington 

  • Wyoming 

Some states allow for a certain degree of autonomy for family nursing practitioners, such as prescribing schedule V substances and making diagnoses, while other states allow for full autonomy. Some may require that FNPs complete a certain number of hours under a physician’s supervision before being granted autonomy, while others require FNPs to register with the DEA. 

For example, all family nursing practitioners in Alaska are granted full practice authority, meaning that they have complete autonomy and do not need to operate under the supervision of a physician whatsoever. However, if FNPs would like to have the authority to prescribe Schedule II – V controlled substances, they need to apply to the authorities. 

Colorado, on the other hand, make it possible for FNPs to gain full prescriptive authority but, in order to do this, they will first need to complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice alongside a provisional prescriptive authority, such as a more senior FNP or a physician. 

Family nursing practitioners also have full practice authority in Maine and those who have been granted their APRN licensure are also allowed to prescribe various medications. 

Family nursing practitioners in Montana do not require physician supervision. However, they are required to complete courses in disease management and pharmacology before they are allowed to practice with full autonomy. Just like in Maine, APRNs who apply to the Prescriptive Authority will be granted the legal ability to prescribe medication to patients.

How to become a FNP

Once you have made up your mind about becoming a family nursing practitioner, you will surely be wondering how exactly to go about it. Will you need to take time off from working as a registered nurse in order to obtain your qualification? Or is it possible to do both at the same time? If so, how.

Most registered, BSN prepared and Master’s qualified nurses will opt to study online in order to obtain their Post-Master's FNP Certificate. There are many advantages when it comes to this, the most obvious one being that of enhanced flexibility. By studying towards your FNP certificate online, you will be able to continue working and simply study during your off-hours or whenever you have some time available. It will obviously require a certain amount of persistence and dedication on your part, but with a bit of focus and determination, it can be done. 

Along with flexibility, studying online can also help you to gain a host of important skills that you will put to good use when you eventually begin working as family nursing practitioner. These skills go over and above what is taught to you directly in your coursework. For example, it teaches a new level of self-discipline. When working at the same time as studying, you will need to be exceptionally self-disciplined and able to avoid the overwhelming desire to procrastinate or give into the numerous distractions that surround you. This is certain to contribute towards transforming you into a dedicated, focus FNP who families know that they can count on to take proper care of them. 

Other skills that online learning can help you to develop include:

  • Improved communication skills: Due to the fact that you will not be attending lectures or classes in person, it will be up to you to be in constant contact with your lecturers and mentors. If you do not understand something, you have concerns, or you need to ask an important question, you will need to reach out and ensure that the relevant parties understand the issues with which you are faced. This will go a long way towards preparing you for communicating with different families in both positive and negative settings. For example, when you have to give a particularly troubling diagnosis.  

  • Problem-solving skills. Throughout the time that you take part in distance learning, you will be sure to experience a variety of challenges and obstacles that you will need to find a way in which to overcome in order to obtain your FNP certificate. This is true of any online course that you take. Luckily, the majority of these obstacles are easily side-stepped if you take the time to solve the problem in the fastest and most logical manner. Often, they will need to do this yourself while you await support and, as such, you will often develop into a hardier and more resilient nurse.  

  • Self-confidence: There is a tremendous amount of self-confidence and self-belief that comes with successfully ‘doing it all’ in terms of studying towards your FNP Certificate and working full time. It is a feat that not just anyone is equipped to handle and will aid you in believing that you ready to tackle the next chapter of your career head-on and full-force. 

Sign up to work towards your FNP certificate today. 

The Benefits of Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner

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