Working as a family nurse practitioner is a rewarding career choice that not everyone understands fully when they look at the medical or healthcare field. It’s a nursing career that provides considerably more autonomy than other nursing roles.
Most nurse practitioners do not work in a hospital at all, which is surprising. Other places of work like schools, clinics and private practices all provide different options for busy professionals who don’t wish to work 12-hour shifts or have their work/life balance turned upside down when switching careers to the healthcare field.
In this article, we cover some of the many benefits of working as a family nurse practitioner.
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Being a Caregiver with Greater Freedom
One of the most attractive benefits of being a nurse practitioner is the freedom it provides compared to other roles within the healthcare profession. While traditional registered nurses can complete certain work unassisted, they’re always being monitored by senior nursing staff, then physicians and management through reporting on performance. They’re heavily restricted where they’re unable to diagnose patients, decide on a course of treatment, or provide medication, which is a frustration for many.
As a family nurse practitioner (FNP), over 20 states have already approved the FNP to fully assess a patient’s medical complaint, to diagnose it and, where appropriate, deliver a prescription for the right medicine to treat them. This is all done without the oversight of a physician. In the other states, the FNP works in conjunction with the supervising physician to provide care to his or her patients and makes recommendations where appropriate to the physician.
There have been independent studies confirming that FNPs are more than capable of providing the majority of care in a similar manner to licensed physicians. These types of studies have certainly bolstered the case for more states to approve FNPs for full care and not supervised care.
Due to the demographical shift with baby boomers reaching pensionable age, there is a greater need for healthcare staff across the board. Certainly, with FNPs who put considerably more focus into family care because of their specialization, this covers babies right through to care for the elderly too. The full lifecycle is overseen in the FNP role in most cases unless working in a selective area such as at a high school where the patients are the young students in different grades.
It’s anticipated that career growth with nurse practitioners is going to be strong over the next few years. As many more people reach 65 and above, their need for healthcare services only increases due to increasing illness, acute deceases and more. As such, across the profession, there’s a need to attract more talented people into the healthcare field.
With approximately 270,000 nurse practitioners currently, there still isn’t enough staff to cover all the positions required. However, it’s expected that another 200,000 will qualify as either nurse practitioners or family nurse practitioners over the next few years, which should meet more of the requirement at healthcare facilities across the nation.
The demand is only increasing for this type of nursing staff, which is excellent news for people already qualified and those looking to do so.
Career longevity is something we all worry about. What will happen in the future to our jobs? Will they be outsourced to freelancers or offshored so there’s no job any longer?
Thankfully, with nursing, it’s a hands-on profession where treatment is often needed in person and not over a Skype call. Because of this, healthcare facilities are not overly burdened with the concern about jobs going elsewhere. There’s plenty of work to be done to take care of the population as it is, so people training to become an FNP needn’t worry about career longevity.
The salary data for both nursing practitioners and FNPs too is good. Most people working in these roles enjoy a six-figure salary with benefits. This is highly competitive in the marketplace.
The typical FNP will hold a medical-related masters or PhD, so this compares well to the remuneration level in other professions when holding similar level qualifications. When you combine this with the expected longevity of an FNP career, it’s easy to see how positive a career choice as a family nurse practitioner is for someone who wants a comfortable lifestyle or indeed, to set themselves up nicely for a well-funded retirement.
Flexible Working Conditions
While it’s possible to work in different wards within a hospital setting, that’s not frequently the case with FNPs.
There’s a wide range of places that they find jobs. Because of their focus on family-oriented healthcare, they’re very suitable to work at local private clinics that need their services. With their ability to diagnose patients, decide on medical tests and treatment protocols, along with issuing prescriptions in cooperating states, FNPs can use their autonomy well.
Having their own practice while working in a clinical setting is not uncommon either. This creates the opportunity to bill for the care provided rather than accept a fixed salary arrangement.
Working with kids or young adults in a school or college setting is not uncommon either. This is usually a choice for older FNPs who are winding down their career or simply want a change of pace.
Senior Healthcare Professional
While studying to become a licensed physician may not be practical for some people, access to study as an FNP is quite possible. It’s true that it doesn’t offer the same salary as a physician, yet it’s still a six-figure wage. The hours are also much more manageable, meaning you can have a life outside of work without being continually exhausted from the combination of excessive hours and being on-call.
Being someone who’s working at a senior level, the nursing staff look up to you and the physicians come to rely on you too. Physicians are extremely busy and welcome some cases being handled by an FNP to make their working lives more manageable. As such, it’s complementary with their goals.
There are many benefits to working as a family nurse practitioner. It provides a senior role, a good salary, flexibility on where you’ll work and plenty of contact with patients and families who need your help.