Top Reasons to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

Pursuing a career as an FNP is rewarding both emotionally and financially. Let's find out more

A stethoscope closeup

Nurses and doctors are the most respected professionals due to their ability to serve patients and help them improve their quality of life. A registered nurse (RN) can become a family nurse practitioner (FNP) by opting for an online post master’s FNP program.

FNPs are senior healthcare professionals that enjoy greater autonomy, stronger patient relationships, and hefty salaries as compared to RNs. If you’re interested in becoming an FNP, today we’ll examine why it’s a great career choice.

What Is an FNP?

An FNP specializes in the primary and advanced care of patients from all age groups, backgrounds, gender, and ethnicity. An FNP monitors long-term health, focuses on preventive care, and assists physicians.

A family nurse practitioner enjoys a personally and professionally rewarding career due to greater autonomy and hefty payouts. The best part is that they do not need to work overtime and can open up their own private practices.

How to Become an FNP

  • Get a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN exam
  • Get an RN license
  • Obtain experience by working with a nurse or under a physician
  • Get an MSN or DNP degree
  • Get NP board certification
  • Get NP licensure
  • Obtain your NPI (National Provider Identification) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) numbers
  • Get a job as an FNP and maintain practitioner licenses

Top Reasons to Pursue a Career As an FNP

1. Meet The Rising Demand of Primary Care Professionals

FNPs are crucial to meet the demand for expert primary care providers. Currently, the United States is facing a shortage of primary care physicians. The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) estimates that there will be a shortage of 124,000 physicians by 2034. The aging patient population, staff retirements, and identified health inequities are the reasons behind the growing demand.

A study conducted in 2018 showed that only 8% of students in the medical field matched primary care residencies. Of these, only 80% of nurse practitioners graduated with an FNP specialization.

2. Enter a Favorable Job Market

The gaps in the healthcare sector have not yet been filled, and there is still a continuous demand for new FNPs. The United States BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) has estimated that around 30,200 new NP (Nurse Practitioner) jobs will be added by 2031. This means a projected growth rate of 40% between 2021 and 2031.

FNPs cater to patients in various clinical settings, such as community clinics, private practices, and medical groups. The AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners) reports that the top nurse practitioner employers are:

  • Inpatient hospital units: 12.1%
  • Community health centers: 8.1%
  • Private physician practices: 24.2%
  • Hospital outpatient clinics: 14.5%

2. Cater to Patients From All Age Groups

The family specialization covers health conditions and ailments in patients of all age groups. An FNP is able to treat, diagnose and evaluate the long-term health of all kinds of patients. A 2021 AANP report shows that nearly one billion patients go to an NP. This volume is expected to rise as FNPs slowly take the lead in primary care settings.

3. Achieve Autonomy

FNPs get to enjoy greater autonomy as compared to RNs due to their licenses. A patient can rely on an FNP for all primary care needs as they are trained to perform the following tasks easily:

  • Perform exams
  • Order lab tests
  • Write prescriptions
  • Diagnose and treat patients
  • Create treatment plans

26 U.S. States, including the District of Columbia and 2 other territories, offer NPs full-practice authority (FPA). FPA states enable NPs to practice autonomy in primary care by eliminating the need for cooperative agreements or physician supervision. FNPs can open up their own practices or private clinics in underserved areas.

4. Enjoy Stable Work Timings

Emergency room nurses and those in patient care facilities must work around the clock to cater to patients. Early morning shifts, night shifts, and weekend hours can adversely affect nurse health and reduce the work-life balance. A 2019 report showed that nurses in various clinical settings had poor sleeping habits due to rapidly changing work schedules.

The AANP has reported that most nurses work in clinics and offices without 24-hour care. Standard clinic hours with reduced on-call and extra hours ensure better stability for nurses. This allows FNPs to enjoy better timings after working for several years in inconvenient and unconventional shifts.

5. Greater Earning Potential

A registered nurse completes additional education or clinic hours and obtains a license to become an FNP. The time spent on becoming an FNP ensures career progress, rewards, and better payouts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that RNs earn $77,600 on average every year, whereas NPs earn $123,780 on average per year. This marks an average salary difference of 55%.

The takeaway

Pursuing a career as an FNP is rewarding both emotionally and financially. Not only do you get to help patients from all age groups and fill the gap in the primary care sector, but you also enjoy greater autonomy, better salaries, and stable work timings.

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