With the diminishing availability of primary care physicians and the increasing complexity of the healthcare system in the U.S., many patients are choosing to visit family nurse practitioners for their health care needs.
Family nurse practitioners help their patients manage chronic and acute illnesses. They perform diagnostic tests and procedures and conduct physical examinations. They treat patients throughout every stage of their life from childhood to adulthood.
Nurse practitioners have a long history of:
- Helping patients understand their illness
- Engaging patients in their care
- Informing them about what practical measures they can follow to improve their health.
Keep reading below to find out why you should think about becoming a nurse practitioner.
The Role of a Family Nurse Practitioner is Becoming More Popular
The role of a nurse practitioner is becoming more and more popular. Approximately half of all nurse practitioners now choose to specialize in this area. This role is extremely flexible and allows you to care for patients of all age groups.
The role of a nurse practitioner was first created in the early 1960s. Since then, it has changed a great deal. Nurse practitioners were originally seen as doctors’ assistants. They were given very little responsibility and were never left to complete work on their own. Nowadays things are very different. Nurse practitioners can work independently from other healthcare professionals if they choose to do so and they are given far more responsibilities. The role of a nurse practitioner is likely to continue to change and will offer more opportunities over the coming years.
The Responsibilities of a Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have undergone advanced training like a post master’s FNP certificate. Nurse practitioners can offer most of the services that are offered by physicians. These services include:
- Performing prenatal checkups
- Preforming well-child examinations
- Performing adult care checkups
- Diagnosing health problems
- Treating health problems
- Managing minor trauma (splinting, suturing, etc.)
- Teaching patients how to take care of their health
- Disease prevention
- Prescribing medicines
Nurse practitioners are expected to diagnose, treat, and prescribe in all 50 U.S. states, however, some states set restrictions on what the practitioners are able to prescribe. Most states allow family practitioners to prescribe any type of medicine, including controlled substances.
The Shortage of Primary Care Physicians
There is currently a shortage of primary care physicians in the U.S. and this is only expected to increase over the next few years. The population is living longer, doctors are retiring and fewer students are choosing a career in primary care. This has led to a void in the health care system.
Family nurse practitioners can fill this void. They are able to diagnose, prescribe, and look after patients just like physicians can. This means that over the next few years, the demand for nurse practitioners will likely increase. While nurse practitioners cannot replace physicians completely, they can provide a cost-effective, high-quality solution to the problem.
Why Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?
Most people choose this field because they care about people and want to help keep them healthy. However, there are a number of other reasons why you should consider this career, including:
- Family nurse practitioners are like doctors without actually being a doctor and without losing their caring nature – they work more closely with patients than doctors do. They have more responsibilities than a Registered Nurse (RN). In some states, you are even able to prescribe controlled medication.
- You can choose where you work –the Bureau of Labor and Statistics believes that there will be a huge growth in demand for family nurse practitioners over the next few years. This means that there’s a good chance you’ll be able to choose where you want to work and possibly what hours you want to work too.
- Nurse practitioners earn more than registered nurses – evidence has shown that nurse practitioners can earn up to $40,000 per annum more than a registered nurse. Of course, you won’t earn as much as a doctor, but it won’t be far off.
- Employers will pay for you to train – because there is such a huge demand for qualified nurse practitioners, many employers are choosing to pay for their employees to train. They often choose online courses like this post master’s FNP certificate online from Carson-Newman University so that their employees can continue to work while they’re completing their training. These courses are completed 100% online and give students the skills and knowledge they need to take effective care of their patients.
- You will never be out of work – all health care settings require family nurse practitioners so you will never be short of work opportunities.
- You work with people – the main reason people choose to go into the nursing profession is to work with and help other people. Most advanced practice degrees stop you from working directly with the patients, but this isn’t the case with an FNP.
- You make a difference to the lives of your patients and their families –your role is about preventative care as much as it is about healing. You will provide your patients with the information they need to be able to live happier, longer, and healthier lives.
- You work with people of all genders, age ranges, and ethnicities – your job will be varied. One day you may help a new mother learn how to breastfeed and another you may give an elderly person advice on how they can stay active.
- It’s exciting – there’s something exciting and special about looking after others and knowing that their life is in your hands. Family nurse practitioners may not experience life or death situations on a daily basis, but they certainly do occur from time to time.
- You could take on a political role – lots more healthcare professionals are getting involved in politics. Since the Affordable Care Act was introduced, the world of nursing has changed considerably. Spokespeople are needed for this role who are responsible for pushing through health care changes.
The majority of people choose to become a family nurse practitioner because they care about others and want to help keep them happy, healthy, and strong, but there are lots of other reasons why people choose this career, from the job opportunities to the security it offers. It’s certainly a brilliant choice.