Nurses looking to further their careers may consider the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track. The process of becoming a licensed FNP is both rigorous and rewarding - it means you've completed an accredited master's program (like Texas Woman's University's online FNP), met the required clinical hours, and passed a national licensure exam - all of which allow you to serve as an advanced practice nurse.
Why become a family nurse practitioner? Here are some of the top reasons why earning FNP licensure is personally and professionally valuable.
Stay Connected to Patients
As an FNP, you will continue to work with patients, but have extended responsibility and authority than a registered nurse (RN). FNPs can provide treatment to patients of all ages, allowing you to connect with a variety of individuals as you evaluate their condition.
Benefit from a Bright Career Outlook
FNPs and other types of nurse practitioners (NPs) can anticipate a 36 percent career growth between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Several factors are impacting the need for advanced practitioners including a nationwide physician shortage, aging boomer population and longer life expectancy. Many more states are trying to meet this demand by allowing nurse practitioners to function as independent health care providers. As a result, career opportunities in advanced nursing are increasing.
Currently, 21 states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently of physicians, and this number continues to grow. In states that grant full practice authority, FNPs can even open their own practice. Since family nurse practitioners treat a wide patient base, they autonomously serve all ages.
Work in a Variety of Settings
Often working in primary care practices, family nurse practitioners experience high demand due to the broad age-range they serve. However, FNPs are not limited to this setting alone and can work in many areas including:
- Urgent care clinics
- Mobile clinics
- Specialty offices
Some FNPs even choose a subspecialty later on, such as dermatology, endocrinology, or cardiology. Flexibility in choosing your work environment is one of the best reasons to become a family nurse practitioner.
Increase Your Earnings
Family nurse practitioners earn substantially more than registered nurses. The median annual salary for FNPs is $92,548 compared to $62,850 for RNs. The potential to earn nearly $30,000 more per year makes earning your FNP degree a worthwhile investment.
Improve Patient Care and Long-Term Health
FNP students are taught how to provide holistic care. This comprehensive approach treats patients as a whole, addressing their physical and emotional needs. For instance, if a patient needs mental health services, they may be referred to a therapist, specialty providers, various therapists, or even a social worker. An FNP may also encourage lifestyle changes, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, to reduce the risk of certain diseases while addressing barriers within families or communities to assist in the achievement of this health promoting activity. Holistic care is traditionally linked to better patient experiences and outcomes.
Alleviate the Primary Care Shortage
Primary care is experiencing a nationwide crisis that is only expected to worsen. By 2030, the American Association of Medical Colleges estimates that the country could see the shortage of primary care providers rise from 14,800 to as many as 49,300 physicians. This means more patients will have difficulty receiving timely treatment.
Family nurse practitioners are in demand and uniquely poised to help bridge this gap, especially in rural areas. FNPs working in primary care fulfill a nationwide need for service. In states with full practice autonomy, the FNP impact is even greater.
Serve Your Local Community
Family nurse practitioners help their local community by providing holistic, high-quality care. In addition to supporting the well-being of individuals and families, FNPs can work in community health to help meet the needs of different patient populations. They may offer vaccinations, health education classes, training sessions, or drop-in sessions. FNPs are strong advocates and can serve as a voice for those in need.
Enjoy High Job Satisfaction
Aside from being able to help others, NPs and FNPs enjoy a satisfying career. U.S. News and World Report ranked nurse practitioners at #7 on the list of “Best Jobs of 2019.” Factors considered when ranking careers included:
- Employment rate
- Career growth
- Stress level
- Job prospects
- Work-life balance
In fact, nurse practitioners have been consistently ranked among the top 5 best occupations for the last few years. They are also noted as one of the most trustworthy professions.
Support for Working Nurses
There are many reasons to become a family nurse practitioner. Higher education is an enriching journey that will benefit you for a lifetime. Texas Woman's online FNP program offers flexibility for nurses to continue working and earn their degree. Online FNP students receive support to help balance workload including clinical placement assistance and a dedicated student success coach during the program.
Empower yourself to grow as a nurse and deliver patient-focused, compassionate care. Contact us today for more information.
American Association of Medical Colleges. (2018). New research shows increasing shortages in both primary and specialty care. https://news.aamc.org/press-releases/article/workforce_report_shortage_04112018
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019). Career overview: Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019). Registered nurses. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
Nurse.Org. (2018). Best jobs of 2018 - #4 Nurse Practitioner. https://nurse.org/articles/nurse-practitioner-ranks-2nd-US-2017/
Willett, W.C., Koplan, J.P., Nugent, R., et al. Prevention of chronic disease by means of diet and lifestyle changes. In: Jamison DT, Breman JG, Measham AR, et al, editors. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2nd edition. Washington (DC): The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank; 2006. Chapter 44.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11795/ Co-published by Oxford University Press, New York.
Payscale. (2019). Average Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Family_Nurse_Practitioner_(NP)/Salary