Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) are clinical experts who use a holistic approach to health care. They are registered nurses who hold an advanced degree, which allows them to provide primary care, including medical procedures required for specialty areas (California State Board of Nursing, 2013).
As a Family NP, you will have the opportunity to work with patients across the life span, at many stages of health and in a variety of family situations. Family Nurse Practitioners in the state of California may be able to diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, provide preconception, prenatal and postpartum care, independently or as part of the health care team.
Being a nurse is a lifelong learning career, and earning a master's degree may allow you to expand your scope of practice. Obtaining an advanced degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner may additionally help you push your career to the next level. If you have a passion for nursing and taking care of families in the primary care setting, then becoming a family nurse practitioner may be the best choice for you.
Family Nurse Practitioner Program Curriculum
As a student in a Family Nurse Practitioner program, you will be taking courses intended to provide academic knowledge and clinical skills necessary for health promotion, disease prevention, assessment and management of acute and chronic illnesses. All courses meet the criteria designated by state and national accreditation bodies such as the California Board of Registered Nursing.
The goal of the Family Nurse Practitioner master's program is to prepare you to work in a variety of clinical settings ranging from private practices, clinics and hospitals. In order to improve your chances of success in this program, you will be expected to know how to fluently access the Internet, use email, upload and download files and have basic computer skills.
The curriculum for the FNP program includes classes in family nursing theory, primary health care concepts and practices, research and clinical practice. The program can be completed in about 18 months for full-time students, or 26 months for part-time students. Requirements for admission include submission of transcripts verifying a bachelor's degree from an accredited program in nursing, licensure as a registered nurse in the state of California and proficiency in English.
Financing your Family Nurse Practitioner Program in California
Prospective students seeking financial aid are encouraged to apply to the various options offered to graduate nursing students through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Loan repayment programs are also available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Career Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners
Nurses account for the largest segment of healthcare workforce in the United States and due to the growing number of people with chronic illnesses and an aging population, there is a need for better care coordination and a greater need for nurses with advanced degrees. In 2010, AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and RWJF (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) partnered to form Campaign for Action, an initiative to mobilize action coalitions in all 50 states to utilize nurses more effectively—combating the nation's health care challenges.
According to the National Institute For Health Care Reform, there is a shortage of primary care practitioners, and the problem is expected to worsen, as the population grows older. In 2014, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Act of 2010, one possible way for alleviating this shortage would be to hire more nurses with advanced degrees increasing the number of primary care providers. In 2012, the estimated annual salary of FNP was $101,100 with a projected growth larger than average (O*Net, 2012).
Because population health needs are constantly changing, and health care system is always evolving; nurses with better training and advanced degrees have a wonderful opportunity to make a difference and provide leadership in helping to improve health and care to people who need it.