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6 reasons why you want to consider being a Family Nurse Practitioner
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6 reasons why you want to consider being a Family Nurse Practitioner

Dec 26, 2023

Making a positive impact on the lives of others is incredibly rewarding. Choosing a career in nursing allows you to fulfil this desire while earning respect for your dedication and expertise. Family nurse practitioners, in particular, are highly valued for their extensive knowledge and commitment to patient well-being.

Let’s delve into the role of family nurse practitioners and explore why pursuing a career in this field aligns with your goals.

What is a family nurse practitioner?

A family nurse practitioner specializes in family medicine and is a nurse with advanced training and clinical education. After completing a graduate program in nursing and meeting licensing requirements, these professionals apply their expertise in family medicine.

Think of a family nurse practitioner as your go-to primary care professional. They handle a wide range of healthcare needs, from routine exams to managing chronic and acute illnesses. Patients seeking quality care are increasingly turning to nurse practitioners, who can provide services similar to doctors but often offer more personalized time with their patients.

If you’re considering a career as a family nurse practitioner, we have additional information to guide you on this path.

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6 reasons why you want to consider being a Family Nurse Practitioner

Wondering if a career as a family nurse practitioner is the right fit for you? Let’s delve into some compelling reasons why individuals in this profession find it fulfilling and how you can kickstart your journey.

Asian young caregiver nurse examine senior woman patient at home. Attractive specialist carer women support, give advise and consult with older elderly mature grandmother in living room in house.

1. Attractive Salary

A major driving force for many family nurse practitioners is the enticing salary associated with the profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2022, nurse practitioners earned an average of around $124,000 annually. However, this figure can vary based on factors like experience and location.

In certain states, seasoned nurse practitioners can command salaries of up to $165,000 per year. Those employed in doctor’s offices typically fall in the middle range, earning an average of about $122,000. While these figures provide a glimpse into the earning potential, it’s essential to note that salaries fluctuate significantly from state to state. For instance, Tennessee averages around $89,000, while California boasts an average of $190,000. Factors such as the cost of living play a crucial role in these variations, making it wise to research and choose your practice location thoughtfully, especially if financial considerations weigh heavily on your decision.

2. Promising Career Outlook

More and more nurses are pursuing a nurse practitioner license, and a key motivator behind this trend is the favourable job outlook. While nurses, in general, are in high demand and are likely to remain so in the coming decades, the demand for nurse practitioners is even greater. In certain states, nurse practitioners play a crucial role in addressing the shortage of physicians in the United States, a challenge that seems to be worsening over time. Depending on their location and speciality, nurse practitioners may have the authority to prescribe medication and make medical diagnoses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of nursing for nurse practitioners is projected to grow by 40% from 2021 to 2031. This growth is expected to result in over 30,000 new positions opening up annually. Many of these opportunities arise due to experienced professionals retiring, creating gaps in care that require skilled and experienced individuals to fill. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) across all specialities are particularly crucial in today’s healthcare landscape, especially in providing families with consistent and high-quality care from the beginning.

Among the various specializations available to nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners are among the most popular in the industry. These professionals are well-versed in working with individuals of all ages within a family and are knowledgeable about a wide range of health issues. Whether it’s identifying early signs of dementia, guiding expectant mothers through pregnancies, or caring for children after birth, family nurse practitioners play an invaluable role in delivering exceptional patient experiences.

Practitioner nurse explaining medicine dosage to senior patient. Elderly healthcare and Home health care service concept.

3. Versatile Expertise

Family nurse practitioners, due to their engagement with patients across all age groups, must possess a diverse skill set. They need to be well-versed in early childhood care, given the frequent additions of new family members each year. Simultaneously, a clear understanding of health issues affecting teenagers and their parents is equally crucial. Being a family nurse practitioner is akin to earning multiple degrees at university. Instead of focusing on just one area of knowledge, they employ a multitude of skills.

So, what does this mean for family nurse practitioners? It indicates that this profession is ideal for individuals who enjoy variety. If you appreciate ongoing learning and relish challenges, you’ll have ample opportunities to enhance your knowledge and skills. Working as a family nurse practitioner ensures that each day brings something different. In other words, you won’t feel stuck in a monotonous routine because you’ll be applying various skill sets throughout the day.

4. Empowered Independence

While registered nurses play a vital role in today’s healthcare system, they often operate within a framework of close supervision by physicians. This structure ensures that those directly managing patients possess the necessary skill set. Family nurse practitioners, however, enjoy a unique level of autonomy. They have the legal authority to independently make significant diagnoses and prescribe medications to address health issues. Unlike registered nurses, family nurse practitioners typically work without the constant need to consult physicians, except in exceptional cases. From prescribing medications to providing comprehensive care, they often function as a “one-stop-shop” for patients. In this role, family nurse practitioners collaborate closely with patients, detecting both chronic and acute health issues.

Some of the autonomous responsibilities held by family nurse practitioners include:

  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Gathering medical histories
  • Diagnosing and treating both chronic and acute health issues
  • Offering prenatal and well-child care
  • Interpreting, performing, and ordering diagnostic studies
  • Providing health maintenance care
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals as needed
  • Promoting self-care skills and positive health behaviours through health education and counselling

Choosing to work as a family nurse practitioner offers the opportunity to exercise independence and expertise, operating within one’s own purview. However, it’s essential to recognize the value of seeking second opinions from physicians or other healthcare professionals when necessary.

Portrait of happy young female nurse with folded arms standing in hospital hallway. Confident doctor woman in uniform and stethoscope looking at camera with copy space. Portrait of beautiful young healthcare worker working in private clinic.

5. Make a Positive Impact

Do you have a strong desire to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives? Many healthcare workers share this sentiment, aiming to enhance the well-being of those they serve. If you’re passionate about improving the lives of your patients, consider a fulfilling career as a family nurse practitioner!

What sets nurse practitioners apart in the healthcare field is their focus on the overall well-being of individuals. Instead of addressing specific issues like mental health or cancer, nurse practitioners collaborate with patients to ensure their general health and happiness.

Family nurse practitioners, in particular, handle a broad spectrum of responsibilities. From conducting routine checkups and treating common illnesses to identifying signs of serious diseases, they work closely with patients to achieve accurate diagnoses.

In the role of a family nurse practitioner, your primary responsibility will be ensuring the health and happiness of your patients. Prioritizing their wellness, you’ll play a vital role in promoting good health and addressing potential health concerns proactively. If you aspire to be a positive force in your community, pursuing a career in family medicine is an impactful choice.

6. Attainable Education Requirements

If you’ve considered a healthcare career, your initial inclination might have been to become a doctor, a prominent figure in the U.S. medical system. While the idea of doctors making a positive impact is understandable, pursuing a medical degree may not always be the most practical choice, especially if you prefer a shorter educational journey and want to avoid accumulating substantial debt.

Did you know that becoming a registered doctor in the U.S. typically takes anywhere from 10 to 14 years? It’s a lengthy process! First, you spend four years completing an undergraduate program. Following that, you invest at least another four years in medical school. After graduation, an additional three to seven years in a residency program is common, particularly for gaining expertise in a specific medical field. Only then, after this extensive education and training, can you practice as a physician.

If the prospect of investing nearly two decades in education seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. It’s a significant commitment, especially if becoming a doctor isn’t your sole aspiration. On the other hand, completing the education required to become a nurse practitioner can take as few as five to six years. Following your undergraduate program, a master’s degree program takes a few more years, and then you’re ready to go. While you have the option to pursue further studies, you can start working as a licensed nurse practitioner without the prolonged educational timeline associated with becoming a doctor.