A Family Nurse Practitioner has responsibilities similar to those of physicians. Their patient-base is family focused with an emphasis on the entire lifespan, from birth all the way through to end of life creating long-term relationships with their patients.
What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
The Family Nurse Practitioner can diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, and conduct physical examinations. They may also be their patient’s primary caregiver due to their graduate-level education and clinical training in family medicine. Their advanced training also qualifies them to work as administrators in both hospitals and clinics, and as policy makers.
Family Nurse Practitioners can also choose a specialty and there are many to pick from. Specialties range from acute care through primary care. Cardiovascular, oncology, critical care, emergency services, and women’s health are all popular subspecialties for Family Nurse Practitioners.
Family Nurse Practitioners are Nurse Practitioners with a focus on family primary care. Family Nurse Practitioners are highly degreed and therefore are able to work in a variety of settings, from clinics to opening their own facility.
Educational Path of a Family Nurse Practitioner
Once you graduate from high school, you’ll pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from a four-year university. You’ll need to work a minimum of two years as a Registered Nurse and pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam. From there, you’ll need to get a Masters of Science in Nursing with a focus on family practice which is a degree that is specific to Family Nurse Practitioners. Once you complete your graduate or postgraduate degree, you’ll be eligible for certification. Most states do require a FNP to have a license to practice so it’s important to verify this with your school. There are two common FNP certifications: The American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Both have their own set of qualifications prior to taking the exam. They require you to have worked for two years as an RN and have a set amount of faculty-supervised hours working within the FNP program. Both certifications need to be renewed every five years and there are continuing education courses necessary, as well.