The role of the family nurse practitioner (FNP) in Virginia can bring exceptional rewards to those who care for patients from childhood to adulthood. As a primary care provider, your scope of practice can include diagnosing illness, ordering diagnostic tests and prescribing medication as part of a medical team approach to care. As the duties of advanced practice nurses continue to evolve, FNPs can make invaluable contributions and insure high-quality healthcare in their communities and beyond. Your dedication to one of the highest educational experiences in nursing may also increase your marketability as a medical professional and open doors to new lucrative opportunities.
If you are ready to look into the possibility of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner, you have come to the right spot. We at BestNursingDegree.com have taken the time to compile a list of the schools offering programs for Virginia nurses to become FNPs. Take some time to browse the schools and request additional materials from those that interest you.
According to a bulletin by the AARP in 2012, healthcare reform and a shortage of primary care physicians had required the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners and the Medical Society of Virginia to come to an agreement on the autonomy and effectiveness of the FNP role. Advanced nurse practitioners were previously required to practice under the supervision of a physician that hindered the full scope of practice that FNPs are trained to perform. The new law was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 2012 and created more medical authority for the FNP and lowered the costs of primary care for patients in Virginia.
Master’s and doctoral programs for nurse practitioners in Virginia have evolved with current advance nurse practice legislation and continues to prepare the FNP for independent practice and the role of a primary care provider. With numerous options to satisfy the graduate degree requirement, you may select a part or full time program track that fits your busy schedule.
The requirements for becoming certified as a nurse practitioner in family health include:
- Licensed as an RN in Virginia
- A state-approved masters, postgraduate certificate or doctoral program in FNP
- The passing of a national certification exam such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center
- Depending on your position of choice, you may be required to practice with a preceptor for a specified number of hours
Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum in Virginia
The FNP program is designed to prepare you for advanced nursing practice by building on your existing knowledge and skills in nursing. As your new role in nursing is defined by core courses that strengthen your critical thinking skills with nursing research and theories, you are provided with classes that teach advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology and health assessment that give you a strong foundation for diagnosing, treating illness and managing drug therapy.
Your curriculum may also include courses such as:
- The FNP role in U.S. health systems discusses financing healthcare for the advanced practice nurse
- Community health introduces the FNP to treating families, populations and the effects of the health experience
- Foundations in clinical practice explore the identification of disease and chronic conditions with appropriate health interventions
- Clinical practicum is usually three semesters and provides you with the treatment of actual patients in healthcare settings
RNs with a BSN can typically complete a master’s program in two to three years of full time study. Depending on your current degree and program requirements, part-time programs vary in length and may take longer to complete.
Family Nurse Practitioner Careers in Virginia
The high demand for FNPs in Virginia is due to both the shortage of general physicians and the access to care created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 844,753 of uninsured Virginians are expected to have access to healthcare by 2014. As the primary care workforce shortage continues, FNPs are needed to practice and provide care for their communities throughout the state.
As an advanced nurse practitioner in family health, you may have limitless opportunities to establish yourself as a medical professional. As reported by USA Today, Virginia provides areas of care in retail health that offer faster and effective alternatives to long-waiting times in a physician’s office.
In addition, other exciting areas are available for your practice such as:
- Medical and pharmaceutical research
- Nurse educator in faculties of higher education
- Community-based primary care clinics
- Physician offices and medical groups
- Hospitals, medical centers and surgical clinics
- Corporations and occupational health settings
- Rural health and “telehealth” technology
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, FNPs may expect a median salary of $86,990 annually. Earning your FNP degree can provide the fulfillment of completing an intellectually challenging and rewarding degree that can offer numerous opportunities for self-satisfaction and a rewarding career.