If you are a registered nurse who is looking for career advancement opportunities, working as a family nurse practitioner could be the right choice. These advanced practice nurses have more direct patient care responsibilities, which many nurses find to be highly rewarding and fulfilling. The field also has excellent job growth potential and good potential income. Here is a closer look at what an FNP is and the benefits it can bring to your career.
What Is an FNP?
Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses. These healthcare professionals have additional training that allows them to provide medical care similar to that of a doctor. This means they may have the freedom to diagnose illnesses and prescribe medications for their patients. In many states, they can operate on their own, while some states require these professionals to work in conjunction with a doctor.
A family nurse practitioner, or FNP, is a nurse practitioner who is trained to work with all age groups. They can provide primary care to children, adults, and the elderly. This training provides a tremendous amount of freedom, and there are five specific reasons why it can be a good choice for a career.
1. Increased Autonomy
Nurses tend to have a lot of tenacity as they strive to help their patients day in and day out, but these professionals are always under the oversight of the physicians they practice with. If you crave greater autonomy but still want to deliver excellent care to your patients, working as an FNP could be the right choice for you.
If you choose to work as an FNP, you will have the responsibility of direct patient care. Most FNPs are primary care providers with the freedom to diagnose their patients and be responsible for patient outcomes. This autonomy can also provide a greater amount of variety to each day, since you will never quite know what is coming through the door for you to see and treat.
2. In Demand Skills
If you have skills that are in demand, you will find many job opportunities after you finish your degree. Working as a family nurse practitioner puts you in this category. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 45% growth in demand for nurse practitioners between 2020 and 2030. This is a tremendous amount of growth, and it is much higher than the anticipated demand for healthcare diagnosing and treating practitioners, which is just 12%. The expected growth across all occupations in this same time frame is just 8%, so FNPs have skills that are clearly in high demand. Training as a nurse practitioner puts you in a category of healthcare practitioners that is going to have many job opportunities in the coming years.
The demand for nurse practitioners matches the growing demand for healthcare services for two reasons. First, many healthcare professionals, including registered nurses, doctors and nurse practitioners, are leaving healthcare either to retire or to pursue a new line of work. Second, the population as a whole is aging, and this creates demand for more healthcare professionals who can work with all ages. Family nurse practitioners can meet both of these demands.
3. Career Opportunity and Growth
Because there is so much demand for nurse practitioners, you may find there is quite a bit of career opportunity in this field. You can work with people of all ages and provide care for entire families in one practice. You can work in your own practice, in a hospital, or in a clinic with other healthcare professionals. Some FNPs also hold positions in education or in public health departments. The is an extensive amount of opportunity for growth.
Financially, the career provides room for income growth as well. According to the BLS, the annual wage for nurse practitioners is $120,680 a year. Those in the top 10 percent of the field of specialty nurses, which includes nurse practitioners, can earn over $200,000. You have a lot of room to grow and develop yourself and increase your potential salary when you have this training.
4. Work Full-Time and Earn Your Degree
If you are already working as a registered nurse, you can continue working while earning your FNP degree. The large number of online FNP programs provide flexibility for busy full-time nurses. You can work and study at the same time, so you do not have to sacrifice your current career aspirations while you grow your skills and add FNP training. You can also continue earning income with your RN job while you go back to school.
Keiser University offers a Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner degree that is completed entirely online. Broken into eight-week terms and with the opportunity to transfer up to 12 credits into the program, this degree can be completed in as little as 18 months. Since it is online, you can continue to serve your patients as an RN while you study, and you don’t have to move closer to campus to start learning and earning your advanced practice degree.
5. Sense of Purpose and Impact
Ultimately, when you work as an FNP, you make a difference for your patients in a greater way than working as a traditional nurse. Not only can you continue providing compassionate and empathetic care to your patients, but you have the ability to diagnose and treat them directly. Patient outcomes become your responsibility, and this control can give you a tremendous sense of purpose. You also directly impact patient outcomes, and for many who choose this particular training, that fact is highly motivating.
FNPs not only help the community by diagnosing and treating patients, but they can also counsel patients about wellness and disease prevention. Patient education has a huge impact on helping patients live healthier and more productive lives. For many in healthcare, watching those outcomes provides a sense of purpose and a reason to get up every morning.
Going home at the end of the day knowing you directly made a difference in the lives of your patients is very rewarding. Working as an FNP lets you make this kind of difference with direct patient care, and this provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Expand Your Nursing Career at Keiser University
If you are considering expanding your career opportunities as an FNP, there are many reasons to pursue this career, and Keiser University can help. Our MSN family nurse practitioner program provides the flexibility and training you need to make this career path a reality. Learn more about our MSN FNP program today, or any of our graduate programs, and see how it could be the tool you need to expand your career.