When it comes to career pathways, nursing professionals have many options. The U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks a specialized advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) as a top healthcare job. Many in this role go on to become certified as a family nurse practitioner (FNP).
The position of an FNP is an ideal opportunity for nurses seeking upward mobility and greater autonomy. In as few as 31 months, nurses can complete an Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN – FNP) online program and begin reaping the rewards of this advanced level of practice. Here are three worthwhile reasons to consider this career:
- Unprecedented Job Demand and Career Opportunities
The demand for nurse practitioners has exploded over the last decade and shows no signs of slowing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment is projected to grow 52% between 2019 and 2029 — a rate much faster than other occupations. This would result in more than 110K additional nurse practitioner job openings over that same time period.
"APRNs will be in high demand, particularly in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas," says BLS, and overall "growth will occur because of an increase in the demand for healthcare services." This can be attributed to the greater emphasis on preventive care, the rising number of chronic and acute conditions and the needs of an aging population.
Physician shortages are also driving demand. By 2034, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) anticipates a shortage of 48K primary care physicians — a gap that hospitals, clinics, physician practices and other outpatient settings increasingly recognize want to fill with capable FNPs.
The evidence is compelling: "Patients under the care of NPs have fewer unnecessary hospital readmissions, fewer potentially preventable hospitalizations, higher patient satisfaction and fewer unnecessary emergency room visits than patients under the care of physicians," according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
- Six-Figure Salary With Perks and Benefits
With above-average demand and job growth, making the transition from RN to NP carries the potential for a significant boost in compensation, too. In 2019, the median base salary for a full-time nurse practitioner exceeded $109K. The top 25% earned $127K, notes the U.S. News & World Report, with base salaries for NPs between $20K and $45K more than the average salaries for other popular healthcare careers such as RNs, physical therapists and respiratory therapists.
Some employers offer sign-on bonuses of $10K or more, profit-sharing incentives and other bonuses linked to patient care metrics or productivity. Benefits packages are often generous and may include health insurance, life and disability coverage, paid vacation, professional liability insurance and reimbursement for tuition, continuing education, licensure and certification. Between tuition assistance and the additional compensation, RNs who choose an affordable online MSN – FNP program can often quickly recoup their initial investment.
- High Job Satisfaction
Nurse practitioners tend to enjoy their jobs and be satisfied with their career paths. This may be due to several factors of the role, like being able to work more independently, develop long-term relationships with patients and their families and holding responsibilities that are generally less physically demanding.
According to the Medscape Nurse Career Satisfaction Report 2020, 95% of NPs are happy with their career choices and said that the most rewarding aspects of the job are making a difference in people's lives, building relationships with patients and having a good work-life balance.
From a promising job outlook and six-figure earning potential to greater independence and career satisfaction, these are just a few of the many great reasons to become a family nurse practitioner. During a time when nursing professionals are desperately needed, this role is an excellent option for nurses seeking a change and a challenge.
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