Family Nurse Practitioner

Lindsay Smith
Last updated at September 16, 2021

When it comes to nursing, there are many different specializations available to you. Out of the many, one of the most prominent is Family Nurse Practitioner or FNP. 

An FNP is similar to a primary care physician. Both care for patients over their lifetime, whether from infancy or adulthood. Because FNPs can perform similar tasks as a doctor, the role is positioned for high growth. 

What Is the Role of a Family Nurse Practitioner?

If you look at the healthcare sector and the services it delivers, physicians and nurses have significant roles. They are the ones who diagnose illnesses, prescribe the treatment and medication, and follow up regularly to make sure that the patient is improving.

From patient treatments to the prescription of medications, family nurse practitioners help doctor's offices and hospitals operate smoothly and efficiently. They provide comprehensive care through the lifespan of a patient including preventive health services and the following.

  • Performing physical exams
  • Ordering diagnostic tests
  • Maintaining health records
  • Developing treatment plans
  • Prescribing medications
  • Treating chronic and acute illnesses

An FNP is best to handle patients with chronic illnesses or problems that continue in the body for a sustained time and need permanent care to keep them in check, like Diabetes, hypertension, and etcetera. 

As an FNP, you can focus your career in family practice, geriatrics, pediatrics, Ob-Gyn, neonatal (ICU), urgent care, surgical/OR, internal medicine or primary care, and many other options well. 

Below are the responsibilities you will have to handle as an FNP. You will be working in a private physician or NP practice, nursing homes, urgent care sites, home health agencies, schools and colleges, public health departments, women's health departments, and more.

How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

The first requirement for becoming an FNP is to have a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). Once you've completed this degree, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam.  The test covers questions from all aspects of your learning experience. Upon passing, you can become a registered nurse (RN).

Once you are an RN, you can begin logging the professional hours necessary to become an FNP. You can do this while pursuing your master's degree in nursing (MSN), or doctorate. Once you've obtained your MSN and completed the practical hours required, you can apply with the American Nurses Credentialing Center to become a licensed Family Nurse Practitioner.

License and Credentials Needed

After you have obtained a master's degree in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP), with the focus on FNP, you simply need to take a certification test from the national examination center to be a credentialed NP. 

Consult your state's nursing board to see which national certification bodies it accepts, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). In addition to one of the nursing degrees above from an accredited program, other requirements include:

  • An active RN license
  • Total of 500 or more hours of supervised clinical practice
  • Coursework in advanced physical/health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology

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    Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-ce...

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Salary and Career Growth

If you want to pursue FNP, then there are many different career choices in the specialization. Each specialization has its importance and is very rewarding. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual salary for an FNP is around $111,000 and can be as high as $152,000. 

Nurses who go for FNP make a very comfortable living. And while the salary may vary from place to place, the average salary for an FNP is significant when compared with other nursing specialties. 

With an expected growth of more than 20% through the year 2024, the opportunity for growth is tremendous.

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Is Being an FNP the Right Specialty for Me?

Being an FNP requires a great deal of patience, a strong educational background, and strong clinical skills. If you have the time available and are committed to your career, this may be the right specialty for you. 

To be an FNP, you will be expected to manage the care of patients over a long period of time. This will give you the opportunity to understand your patients better and likely deliver a higher quality of care over the long term.