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Family Nurse Practitioner: Education and Career Information

If you are interested in working in the medical field and want to take your education and training up a notch, consider becoming a family nurse practitioner. Although the role is that of a nurse, it entails so much more, and is a lucrative and exciting career step for the future. Many people in this role are satisfied, as it is the bridge between nursing and becoming a physician.

What is a family nurse practitioner?

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a registered nurse (RN) who can operate much like a doctor, but is under the supervision of a physician. They diagnose illnesses, can write prescriptions, conduct routine wellness checkups, order labs, assist in surgical procedures and create a wellness regimen for patients to follow. A family nurse practitioner is someone who can operate as a primary care point person for their medical care. An FNP can work in a number of places, including private practices, doctor’s offices, private homes, clinics, schools or in a hospital setting.

How much does a family nurse practitioner earn?

The salary of a family nurse practitioner fluctuates with the amount of experience and education they may have, in addition to the type of facility in which they are working. On average, the salary for an FNP in 2012 was $90,629. For those in specialty areas, the pay was a lot higher. Advanced degrees also make a huge difference in the pay scale. On the high end of the scale, a family nurse practitioner can earn as much as $126,000.

What skills are needed to become a family nurse practitioner?

Skills needed to become a family nurse practitioner include:

Speaking: A family nurse practitioner should be able to speak clearly and effectively to a wide range of individuals to get their point across. They conduct a number of education and training sessions, and should be able to convey information efficiently.

Problem solving: A family nurse practitioner should be able to assess and solve a number of problems administratively and for the patient. They should be able to work through a diagnosis and come up with a viable and effective resolution.

Decision Making: A family nurse practitioner should be able to make sound decisions based on the information they have gathered to assist the patient in their well care regimen.

Science: A family nurse practitioner should have a firm grasp of science in order to diagnose problems. They should also be willing and able to keep up with any new developments in the field.

Monitoring: Monitoring patients and their health status is one of the main duties of this role. A family nurse practitioner should be able to recommend additional visits and stay on top of any illnesses or injuries that are present.

Critical Thinking: A family nurse practitioner should be able to work with other healthcare professionals to apply critical thinking skills to ensure the patient has the best care and solution for their issues.

Time Management: The family nurse practitioner must be able to organize and coordinate a number of items within different time frames effectively. They should be a champion in time management.

Negotiation: The powers of negotiation are important in this role. A family nurse practitioner should be able to successfully negotiate with clients, vendors and other healthcare personnel in getting things done.

Customer Service: When working with a diverse set of individuals, being the best at customer service is key. This person should be able to speak and communicate with anyone, operating at the highest standards of customer service and respect.

Technology: Having a firm grasp of technology is a must. Every record and transaction that occurs between a physician and patient is now computerized. Knowing how to use the software and equipment that is used in medical offices and hospitals is a must in being successful in this position. Taking classes to stay abreast of new developments in equipment and software is important on the administrative and physician side of things.

Additionally, this role should have some background in psychology, medicine and dentistry, counseling, mathematics and English.

Internship Requirements

This is a highly specialized position, so there are a number of years of internship and clinical practicum experience required. The number of hours will fluctuate based on the individual program and specialty area, but generally, the internship component will consist of at least two years at a minimum.

Education Requirements

The educational path for a family nurse practitioner is that of a registered nurse, with more intensive coursework along the way. The first step in becoming a family nurse practitioner is to enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. This is a four-year program that will teach and develop students on the fundamentals of nursing. Typical coursework for the BSN program includes:

•Anatomy & Physiology
•Psychology
•Mental Health Nursing
•Principles of Ethics
•Critical Care Nursing
•Community Health Nursing
•Pharmacology

Once the program is finished, students must sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Once passed and the student is a licensed RN, they can begin working to gain experience. After they have obtained the RN, they must enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program. Coursework in this program includes courses in family nursing theory, intervention, leadership preparation, acute and chronic illness management, primary healthcare concerns and research.

Once the master’s program is completed, the RN must obtain board certification in family practice through the American Nurses Credentialing Center of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, which will result in becoming a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (CFNP).

These credentials must be updated after a certain number of years, which requires ongoing continuing education to stay on top of the latest trends and news in the industry.

Although there is extensive work to be done to achieve this designation, it can be worth the time and effort if you are someone who has thought about going to medical school, but did not want to sacrifice the years it would take in schooling. An advanced nursing designation that will allow you to care for patients may be the next best thing.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association

South University

Several nursing programs are available at the bachelor's, post-graduate, master's, and doctoral levels.

Programs:

  • Nursing (BS)

Colorado Technical University Online

A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education

Liberty University

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
  • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University - College of Nursing & Health Care Professions. Online & Campus - Bachelor's and Master's Degrees!

Programs:

  • B.S. in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to B.S.N)
  • M.S. in Nursing: Health Care Informatics (Bridge)
  • M.S. in Nursing: Public Health (Bridge)
  • And more...

Kaplan University

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

Programs:

  • MS in Nursing
  • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
  • Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
  • And more...

Southern New Hampshire University

Give your career a boost with an education from Southern New Hampshire University.

Programs:

  • MS Nursing
  • MS Nursing: Patient Safety and Quality
  • MS Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • And more...

Medical Careers Institute

Start a great career in healthcare with Medical Careers Institute.

Programs:

  • Nursing (RN-BSN) - Bachelor's
  • Nursing (RN) - Associate's
  • Practical Nursing - Diploma
  • And more...

South University

As a student at South University, you will have the opportunity to learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them.

Programs:

  • Nursing (BS)

Keiser University Graduate School

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing

Fortis Institute

At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information


Programs:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Practical Nursing
  • Medical Assistant

Northcentral University

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

Programs:

  • Doctor of Education - Nursing Education

Centura College

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.

Programs:

  • Practical Nursing Diploma
  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Clinical Concentration

Ashford University

Technology changes everything®

You’ve found Ashford University, where school comes to you

Programs:

  • BS/Nursing (RN to BSN)

Miller-Motte Technical College

Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) can help get you from here to a new career!

Programs:

  • Medical Assisting - Associate of Occupational Science

California University of Pennsylvania

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

Programs:

  • RN-BSN (Bachelor of Science) - Online
  • Dual Degree: MSN-MBA (MSN-MBA) - Online
  • MSN Nursing Administration & Leadership (Master of Science) - Online

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