The role of the family nurse practitioner (FNP) was first developed over 50 years ago, and since then, there has been increasing evidence of the value it brings to the quality of patient care. Taking a holistic approach to healthcare, FNPs support the patient as a whole rather than as a condition, supporting the entire patient experience.
How to become an FNP
To become an FNP, you will first need to be a registered nurse. It is recommended that you work for at least two years before becoming an FNP. To become qualified, you will need an accredited FNP program on a master’s, post-graduate or doctoral program. The course will need to include 500 hours of clinical, supervised patient care hours. After that, you will need to gain certification from the ANCC or the AANP.
Courses can be taken in person through a university or via an online program. Many online programs today reach the same or better standards than in-person courses, as can be seen at Texas Woman’s University, which offers one of the country’s top nursing graduate programs. The TWU online MSN-FNP program teaches students the clinical skills and knowledge they need for an FNP role and also provides support to secure clinical placements local to the students.
Once qualified, you will find several ways that you can deliver quality healthcare as an FNP.
FNPs have extensive medical knowledge across areas including pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. To qualify, nurses must gain extensive knowledge in these areas, including research and case studies, and once working as an FNP, their knowledge only develops further. With extensive knowledge on diagnostic procedures, disease prevention, and both medical and alternative therapies, they are also leaders who can deliver crisis management, patient counseling and clinical decisions.
Because an FNP works with patients of all ages from newly born to geriatrics, they can offer care to all the family and to individuals at different stages of their lives, allowing them to build long-term relationships with patients. This gives them greater knowledge of a patient’s unique health needs and an understanding of how the family history can affect their health.
Health and wellness
FNPs do not just treat one condition – they look at the patient as a whole, allowing them to help patients make informed decisions about their treatment. They can also support disease prevention, helping their patients make healthier lifestyle choices. Their knowledge of the patient can make them better at asking the questions needed to make a diagnosis than a medical professional who does not know the patient so well.
The FNP can coordinate the different aspects of patient care, even if other medical professionals are also involved. The FNP provides vital support during the assessment process, being there to answer the patient’s questions and ensuring that they understand every step of their treatment. They can also help put the patient in touch with the other medical services they may need.
As an FNP, you will be at the forefront of a patient’s care through many stages of their life and different conditions. As such, you will play a hugely important role in the quality of their healthcare.