Family Nurse Practitioner
Family Nurse Practitioner
The healthcare landscape’s success depends on the input of a variety of professionals operating in different areas. The family nurse practitioner (FNP) provides the necessary care services and wellness guidance to patients in need. As patients struggle to access care resources in some areas, the FNP becomes an important resource. So, what roles do these professionals perform in the industry?
The roles of family nurse practitioners
Family Nurse Practitioner
The family nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse whose advanced training and education allow them to practice in primary care. FNPs have the broadest practice scope of any advanced practice registered nursing profession. The training offered to the professionals will enable them to provide care for patients from newborns to the aged. The implication is that they can assess, diagnose, and treat patients from different age groups and for a variety of diseases.
The core of the FNP practice is within the primary care setting. The practitioners can assess, diagnose, and treat a large number of diseases and have the skills needed to monitor and maintain chronic conditions. Considering that an FNP can have the same patient for decades, this means that they can perform regular checkups and identify conditions before they occur.
The family nurse practitioners also work closely with other professionals such as physicians, nurses, and doctors within the normal operation of the medical practice. FNPs have access to many patients and across different groups and hence can serve as central communication with members of multidisciplinary teams. The day to day interactions is typical of other nurses, where they meet, greet, examine patients, provide a diagnosis, consult with the physician, and provide treatment. An individual working as an FNP will have the opportunity to interact extensively with the patient and help them in creating personal treatment plans. Importantly, the FNP has greater autonomy and flexibility than other nurses as there is the necessary training and experience to perform most tasks independently.
Much as the practitioners are involved in diagnosing and treating illnesses, they also provide preventative care services. The proactive actions taken by the practitioners include counselling patients on healthy living, disease prevention, and upholding the medical recommendations. The professionals also establish procedures, develop individualized care plans, and create educational materials for their patients. The essence of these actions is to help reduce the likelihood of hospitalization or repeat visits. Essentially, there is a commitment to promoting general health in the population.
Responsibilities of a nurse practitioner
Family nurse practitioners can work in different settings in the health industry. Some of the areas they can work in include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, community care centres, physician’s offices, government installations, private practice, or occupational settings. Within some states, the FNPs can operate their practices without supervision from physicians. With the roots of the family nurse practitioners being the primary care setting, most of them prefer to work in such environments. In the United States, the practitioners have three basic scopes of practices that include;
- Full practice authority- states conferring such authority allows the practitioners to assess, diagnose, and treat patients independently. The notion of full authority implies no need for any form of oversight. The implication is that FNPs can open their practices.
- Reduced practice authority- within such states, the practitioners still have a higher level of latitude in seeing and treating patients. Even so, the actions of the professionals are subject to the general authority of the collaborating physician. The FNP needs to have a collaborative practice agreement with a doctor who can approve treatments and prescriptions. Importantly, the doctor does not need to be on site.
- Restricted practice authority- this approach places the FNP under the strict supervision of a physician. The doctor has to sign the treatment plans and write the necessary prescriptions.
Education and certification
To qualify as a family nurse practitioner, one must earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a four-year program to become a registered nurse. The individual also has to earn a master’s degree as graduate-level training to become a licensed nurse. One has to complete the clinical hours required to meet certification and licensing. At least 500 clinical hours are needed before the individual can sit for the FNP certification exams. An important part of being an FNP is to become board certified. With such credentials, the individual can begin working as an FNP where the median salary is over $110,000.
Family nurse practitioners play a vital role in the health system based on providing the needed care across demographics and age groups. The contribution to preventive health services indicates a commitment towards the health and wellbeing of the population. Individuals willing to pursue this as a career choice offer a fulfilling path towards service to humanity.