The demand for family nurse practitioners has never been higher. Therefore, job options, job satisfaction and earning power are great. The need for family nurse practitioners continues to grow for several reasons: The Affordable Care Act is making healthcare insurance available for more and more Americans; the aging baby boomer generation requires more healthcare; and there are physician shortages in many areas. This means that family nurse practitioners have the opportunity to give quality patient care and be well compensated for their high skill levels.
Job description of a nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with master's degrees who serve as primary and specialty healthcare providers. Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are primary care providers who diagnose illnesses, conduct exams and, usually, prescribe medications.
While some states still require FNPs to work under the supervision of a physician, FNPs are swiftly gaining autonomy. In some cases, they serve as sole healthcare providers and have established private practices. Many studies have confirmed that FNPs provide a high quality of care whether working with physicians or independently.
The path to FNP
The requirements for becoming an FNP include earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), which includes courses in family nursing theory and intervention, acute and chronic illness management, research, primary healthcare concerns and leadership preparation. To become a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP-Board Certified), you must pass an exam given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Family nurse practitioner is a good career choice
FNPs have numerous options for independent work in many settings, including primary care clinics, community health centers, physicians' offices, private practice, college clinics and urgent care. FNPs focus on health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention and the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic illnesses.
The roles of FNPs have grown immensely in the past few decades, with career opportunities beyond clinical settings. FNPs also work as educators and research scientists at schools of nursing, and are actively involved in legislative activities on healthcare policy, which promote quality healthcare delivery for the nation.
Earning power of FNPs
Because policymakers are looking to FNPs to fill the growing gaps in care, the demand for FNPs is high and salaries are respectable. As of 2012, the salaries for FNPs are greater than those for NPs working in women's health or pediatrics and comparable to physician's assistants' income. Glassdoor, a site that contains more than six million company and career benefit reviews and salary reports, recently named family nurse practitioner as one of the top 25 best jobs for 2015.
Career benefits of earning an FNP
With healthcare delivery constantly evolving, FNPs are well positioned for career longevity. They will play a vital role in the expansion of healthcare services because of their unique ability to provide high-quality and cost-efficient healthcare.
If you are considering taking your career to another level and value advanced skills and job satisfaction, this may be the time to explore the requirements necessary for earning a master's degree and becoming a family nurse practitioner.
Learn more about the University of Texas at Arlington's online Family Nurse Practitioner program.
Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow Coalition. "Nurse practitioner."
The Campaign for Nursing's Future, Johnson & Johnson. "Family nurse practitioner."
Glassdoor team. "25 best jobs in America for 2015."
Nurse Practitioner Schools. "How much does a nurse practitioner make?"
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