One of the great aspects of being a nurse is the multitude of career development options that are open to you. Whether you want to specialize in treating newborn infants, working with cancer patients, or crafting health policy, there’s a perfect pathway out there for you.
An especially popular option is to work as a family nurse practitioner, which is the focus of this article. Keep reading to find out more about the role, and how you can become one.
What Is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
A family nurse practitioner, commonly referred to as an FNP, is an advanced nursing role that gives you greater responsibilities and autonomy in comparison to a registered nurse. They work with patients of all ages and backgrounds, in settings as varied as hospitals, clinics, schools and assisted living facilities.
Family nurse practitioners provide a broad range of primary healthcare services, in addition to educating their patients about healthy living and disease management. The role grants more freedom to prescribe medication and develop treatment plans than in less advanced nursing roles.
FNPs often develop close ties with the patients that they work with, and many specifically choose to help communities. You may find yourself treating the same people across their lifespan and multiple members of the same family. As such, it’s a great choice for those who truly want to make a positive impact on the local community.
The Route to Becoming an FNP
The specific pathway you need to follow to become an FNP will vary slightly depending on your existing qualifications and level of experience. However, one of the most common routes to follow is:
- Study for a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN)
- Take your certification exam and become licensed as a registered nurse (RN)
- Gain some clinical experience in a relevant healthcare setting
- Obtain either a Master of Science in nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Get certified and licensed as an FNP
- Begin applying for jobs as a family nurse practitioner
Both MSN and DNP courses are available to study on a part-time and full-time basis depending on what best suits your circumstances. Some degrees such as the MSN-FNP program at TWU enable you to complete your coursework online and your clinical placements at a location close to where you live. All these options are equally valid and highly regarded, so feel free to choose whichever mode of study you prefer.
Studying for Your FNP Course
When choosing your MSN or DNP program, be sure to pick one that has an FNP specialism. This will ensure that you can study the topics most conducive to this career path. You’ll normally complete a series of compulsory academic modules, plus a few elective ones from a longer list. This helps you to craft a curriculum that truly interests you.
You’ll also need to complete a specified number of clinical placement hours at a relevant healthcare setting. This will be under the supervision of an experienced professional and is a wonderful chance to put your new knowledge into practice, gain valuable feedback and broaden your professional network ready for when you’re job hunting.
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