Traditionally, nurses have provided direct care to patients under the direction of a doctor. Nurses take vital signs, update patient charts, give patients medication, and notify physicians of any changes in a patient’s condition.
Nursing evolved in the 1960s with the creation of a nurse practitioner program. The program’s objective was to equip advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with the skills needed to provide healthcare to underserved populations. Today, family nurses play a vital role in the healthcare industry and often serve as primary care providers for their patients.
Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are highly trained healthcare professionals qualified to serve as primary care providers. FNPs provide patients with preventative care. Although disease prevention is an objective for any primary care provider, FNPs evaluate patients, refer patients for medical tests, and issue a diagnosis in the event of illness. FNPs then develop a treatment plan to treat their patient’s illness. These advanced practice nurses can also prescribe medication and give medication to their patients. They’re responsible for assessing how patients respond to treatment and refer patients to specialists when required. Google “FNP meaning” to learn more about family nurse practitioners. Family nurse practitioners are qualified to treat infants, toddlers, teenagers, and adults of all ages.
Family nurse practitioners may begin their career as a registered nurse (RN), but typically obtain a master’s degree to advance to the role of an FNP. Registered nurses have completed an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or diploma in nursing. Once they’ve completed their postsecondary studies, RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to obtain a nursing license.
RNs with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can enter graduate programs to complete the training required to become an FNP. Graduate programs include studies in pathophysiology and pharmacology. FNPs are also trained to diagnose patients.
In addition to their classroom studies, individuals pursuing a master’s of science in nursing degree must obtain clinical experience. Each student must complete the required number of clinical hours to graduate. Individuals can also complete a post-graduate APRN certificate. Certificate programs allow students to concentrate on family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care, or psychiatric and mental health studies.
APRNs include family nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. Nurse anesthetists give patients anesthesia. They talk to patients in pain or who are about to have surgery, and identify any health factors that would affect the type of medication they use. Nurse anesthetists also monitor patients during surgery.
Nurse midwives provide healthcare services to women. These APRNs perform gynecological exams and provide prenatal care for women who are pregnant. Nurse midwives also deliver babies. They can continue to provide medical care for the mother and newborn, and may provide patients with a guide to strollers for new moms and pertinent information about cribs and car seat safety.
APRNs enjoy strong job prospects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the anticipated average job growth rate for all occupations from 2019 to 2029 is four percent. Nurse midwives are expected to see a 12 percent job growth rate during the same period. The BLS reports nurse anesthetists will enjoy a 14 percent job growth rate, while opportunities for FNPs will increase by 52 percent. The high job growth rates for APRNs underscore the strong demand for qualified APRNs.
APRNs enjoy healthy salaries. While the BLS indicates RNs earned median annual salaries of $73,700 in 2019, the BLS income reports for APRNs showed these healthcare professionals earned substantially more in the same year. The median income for nurse midwives was $105,030. Nurse practitioners earned median annual salaries of $109,820, while nurse anesthetists took home $174,790 the same year.
A family nurse is a highly trained nurse who has completed graduate or post-graduate studies to become a nurse practitioner. Family nurse practitioners are primary care providers who are equipped to diagnose and treat their patients.