Family Nurse Practioner

How to Become a Family Nurse Practioner

Many registered nurses choose to specialize in the field of family nursing care. A family nurse practitioner (FNP) provides nursing care to individuals and families of all genders and ages. The role of a FNP is extremely varied and offers diversity and life-long learning. To become a FNP, nurses must earn an advanced certification by completing an FNP online program or similar. The route to becoming a certified FNP can seem long and complex, but it should become clear with some research and preparation. If you’re considering training as a FNP or starting an FNP online program, then here is a breakdown of how to become a FNP. 

Research the role of a FNP

Training to become a specialist nurse requires substantial investment. FNPs are required to complete an FNP online program and build clinical experience before being granted a license to practice. It is, therefore, vital that you choose a nursing specialism that is right for you. Your first task should be to research the role of a FNP and gain a realistic understanding of the role and responsibilities. You can learn about the role of an FNP by visiting reputable websites like nurse.org or referring to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Here are some of the key things that you should know about becoming a FNP. 

What are the responsibilities of a FNP?

FNPs deliver family-led nursing care, which means they support patients from birth through to their senior years. FNPs are patient-facing and are responsible for diagnosing and treating a huge variety of illnesses and injuries. They can prescribe medication, order medical tests, and refer patients to medical specialists for further treatment. Another responsibility of a FNP is to conduct routine examinations and develop treatment plans to help patients manage the symptoms of chronic illnesses. FNPs also provide their patients with advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease. 

What is the salary of a FNP?

Advanced nurses, such as those who have completed an FNP online program, typically demand a higher salary than registered nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earned an average annual salary of $115,800 in 2019. The survey found that the top 10 percent of nurse practitioners earn just over $150,000 per year. The salary of a FNP will vary depending on several factors, including location and experience.  

Where do FNPs work?

Most FNPs work in physician’s offices, although they can be employed in various healthcare settings. This includes hospitals, hospices, outpatient clinics, schools, community centers, and other healthcare settings. 

Are FNPs in demand?

Government statistics estimate that the US population will grow by roughly 10% between 2013 and 2025, and the senior population will grow by over 45%. The aging population means that the demand for skilled healthcare professionals is growing. This means that FNPs are in high demand, particularly those who have completed an advanced qualification such as an FNP online program. The need for chronic condition management is rising, which means that the demand for nurse practitioners is expected to continue to increase over the coming years. This growing demand means that FNPs benefit from high salaries, fantastic job opportunities, and an excellent job outlook. Now is the ideal time to complete an FNP online program and join this rewarding and growing field of specialist nursing. 

Gain experience in the field of family nursing 

Every nurse must complete a certain number of clinical hours before they can apply for a license to practice. Most nursing qualifications require you to complete placement hours as part of the syllabus. For example, an FNP online program will require you to complete a clinical placement before passing the course. That being said, you shouldn’t rely solely on the internships offered during your BSN or FNP online program. Aspiring FNPs should be proactive when it comes to building their work experience and actively seek placement opportunities in their chosen field. Having hands-on experience will not only enhance your resume, but it will also give you a real insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of a FNP. This will help you determine whether a career as a FNP is the best option for you. 

Internships can also be an excellent way to make connections with people in the field of family nursing care. The relationships you form with people during your placements can prove extremely valuable when you start seeking employment in the industry. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities accept volunteers, and you may also have the opportunity to shadow a nurse practitioner. Your school or college careers advisor may also be able to help you find relevant work experience in nursing. You can visit nursejournal.org for more guidance on how to gain relevant experience in nursing. 

Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Once you have determined that you want to pursue a career as a FNP, then you must start gaining the formal qualifications needed for licensure. The traditional route to becoming a FNP is to complete a BSN followed by a higher qualification such as an FNP online program. Most full-time BSN degrees take four years to complete. You have the option to attend a campus-based course, or you can earn the qualification online. A BSN is designed to prepare students to become registered nurses. The degree program will teach you all of the skills and expertise that healthcare employers will expect you to possess once you become qualified. The course covers various critical nursing topics, including patient care, research, healthcare technology, and disease prevention. You will also be required to complete a specific number of clinical placement hours as part of your BSN course. If you are hoping to become a licensed FNP, then you will need to earn an advanced nursing qualification like an FNP online program once you complete your BSN degree. 

Apply for a license as a registered nurse 

You should be in a position to apply for a license as a registered nurse once you have earned your BSN degree. The criteria for licensure vary between states, so it’s essential that you check what is required before applying. For instance, some states require a higher number of clinical placement hours before granting BSN nurses a license to practice. Every BSN graduate must also successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam before they can achieve licensed status. This exam is designed to test your nursing knowledge and check that you are qualified to act as a registered nurse. You can register to take the NCLEX-RN exam online and must sit the exam within 12 months of registering. It is advisable to complete practice questions to help you prepare for the examination. 

Enroll in an FNP online program 

If you hope to become a licensed FNP, then you will need to earn a higher qualification once you have been granted registered nurse status. The simplest way to do this is by enrolling in an FNP online program. Distance learning is the preferred option for many registered nurses, as it means that you can balance study with your workload. An FNP online program gives you the ultimate freedom to study at your pace and earn the qualification in your free time. This means that you don’t need to give up paid employment to complete an FNP online program and become a specialist nurse practitioner. 

Generally speaking, an FNP online program takes just over two years to complete. However, this time frame may be longer or shorter depending on the course that you choose, placements, and so on. If you would like to earn your FNP qualification remotely, then make sure that you check that your FNP online program is accredited by the CCNE. Otherwise, you risk having to complete additional training and placements before being able to obtain FNP certification. You can contact the course provider to check that the FNP online program has been accredited. 

Apply for financial aid 

Enrolling in an FNP online program is a sizable investment, and many registered nurses worry about how they are going to afford the tuition fees. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of financial aid to support nurse practitioners. Scholarships and grants can cover the full cost of your FNP online program or subsidize some of your expenses. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AAAC), student nurses can apply for the following funding to support an FNP online program.

 

  • CastleBranch-GNSA Scholarship – This scholarship is awarded to help student nurses advance in their careers. The scholarship awards eligible students nurses $2,500 each semester. 
  • GNSA Scholarship – This scholarship awards $5,000 to nursing students who can demonstrate a commitment to making a positive impact on the country’s health care system. 
  • AACN Nursing Scholarship – This scheme awards $2,500 to student nurses who demonstrate outstanding academic performance in their field. Students must maintain a 3.2-grade point average to be eligible for the funding. The scholarship is awarded three times a year to deserving nursing students. 

 

Financial scholarships make it possible for student nurses to complete advanced qualifications like an FNP online program. They can also remove some of the financial stress associated with paying for higher education and getting into debt. Take the time to research available financial aid and apply for any schemes that you are eligible for.

Obtain FNP certification 

Once you have completed an advanced nursing degree, you will need to apply for certification from the American Nurses Credentials Center (ANNC). Most FNPs complete the family nurse practitioner certification exam and then obtain licensure. This exam is designed to test your competency and to check that you have the skill set to practice family nursing care safely. FNPs must renew their credentials every five years to ensure that their knowledge remains up-to-date. Once you have received certification from the ANNC, you will be in a position to apply for a state license as a FNP. The requirements for FNP licensure vary among states, so make sure that you check what requirements you must fulfill.

Start your career as a FNP

When you complete the above, you will be recognized as a licensed FNP and can start seeking employment. Start applying for jobs early and carefully consider what healthcare setting you want to work in. You will need to write a nursing resume before you start applying for FNP roles. Keep in mind that your resume should promote your skills and set you apart from other candidates. Be sure to highlight your qualifications, relevant experience, and key achievements. You should also tailor your resume to suit specific employers and always proofread it before sending it to check for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. You can visit career websites and download nursing resume templates to help you write a standout resume. 

Social media platforms can be another great way to search for job vacancies. Utilize professional social platforms like LinkedIn to promote your nursing skills, build connections in the industry, and attract potential employers. Remember that you can also leverage connections made during internships during your job search. Get back in touch with placement supervisors and ask them whether they have any vacancies. If they don’t have any openings, then they may be able to recommend you to other healthcare employers who are hiring. 

Conclusion 

Family nursing care is one of the most popular nursing specializations and offers dozens of benefits, including high job satisfaction, good earning potential, and a fantastic career outlook. Many registered nurses choose to advance their careers by enrolling in an FNP online program. Completing an FNP online program can help you achieve your career goals, but you must acknowledge that the training required for licensure takes time, effort, and financial investment. With that in mind, you must research the role and have a clear understanding of what will be involved. If you have decided that a career as a FNP is right for you, then use the above information to help guide you on your journey to becoming a licensed FNP.

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