How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner
BestNursingDegree.com has compiled a list of schools that offer Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) programs, saving you time and energy while you search. We have highlighted some of the most popular nursing schools in the featured school box below, making it easy for you to get information about the programs that interest you. You can also click on “more schools” to find a more complete list of schools, or use our “Find Schools Near You” box to find programs that meet your preferences. Some of the most popular programs we have listed offer online FNP options that allow you to complete your clinical requirements in your own location, while earning an advanced practice nursing degree from a well-known institution.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation summary, one of the key goals of recent health care legislation is the development of an improved healthcare workforce. The report goes on to say that funding has been set aside for the training and employment of Family Nurse Practitioners. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provides grant funding to attract, educate and retain nurses, as well providing loan repayment options and employment retention grants once an advanced nursing degree is attained. One of the main goals of this funding is to increase the number of Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) who practice primary care in nurse managed clinics and federally funded health centers.
The implications of this funding are unmistakable for those who are looking to earn their FNP degree. Not only is the national healthcare landscape willing to provide financial support for FNP students, but there is funding available to enhance job placement as well. What a great time to explore your options for earning an Advanced Practice RN degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner! Even better, you have come to the right place to find the school and program that will work best for you.
You can also learn more about the process of choosing the right FNP program to meet your needs, in an article by Nacole Riccaboni.
Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum
You may be wondering what to expect from a Family Nurse Practitioner program, and how it differs from other Master’s in Nursing (MSN) degrees. The core classes for most MSN programs consist of similar high level Nursing Assessment, Anatomy & Physiology, Pharmacology, Nursing Research, and Policy & Leadership courses. These graduate level courses build upon your Bachelor’s in Nursing education, in order to expand the scope and strength of your knowledge. Once these core MSN classes are completed, you will begin courses specific to your Family NP focus, broadening your knowledge of how to design, manage and deliver care to families.
Below, we provide you with a sample FNP curriculum, derived from the Georgetown University Family Nurse Practitioner MSN Online program. While these courses may differ from school to school, this sample is reflective of the types of courses that you would take for your Family Nurse Practitioner focus, after (or while) completing the core MSN classes discussed above.
Family Nurse Practitioner Focus
- NURS 538: Professional Aspects of Advanced Practice Nursing
- NURS 687: Primary Health Care of the Family I
- NURS 691: Primary Health Care of the Family II
- NURS 714: Primary Health Care of the Family III
- NURS 752: Primary Health Care of the Family IV
- NURS 710: Care of the Family in Crisis
Most, if not all, of the coursework that corresponds to your chosen focus will have a clinical component as well. This will allow you to incorporate your higher level learning into your nursing skill set, becoming competent within your new role as an Advanced Practice Nurse.
Again, keep in mind that some programs, especially those that offer online content, will work with you in regards to clinical sites, allowing you to complete requirements near your home or current work setting. Requesting information from several of the schools on our list will allow you to find the FNP program that best meets your needs. While each of the accredited FNP programs we have listed can provide you with the education required to become licensed as a Nurse Practitioner, some schools may have more flexible options for how and where you earn your degree.
Future Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners
There is no better time to explore the field of Advanced Practice Nursing than today! Obtaining your Family Nurse Practitioner degree provides you with the education you need to enter primary nursing practice with the autonomy, leadership skills, and knowledge base required for success. As the United States aims to reduce healthcare costs, while simultaneously improving the quality of care provided, Family Nurse Practitioners are increasingly being recognized as one of the ‘missing links’.
A study published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners notes that patient health and satisfaction outcomes for Nurse Practitioners, when compared to Physicians, are as effective or better, in all 11 categories measured, including indicators of safety, quality and effectiveness. This is great news for the nation, the nursing community, and you!
While NPs have long been seen as a cost effective alternative to MDs in the primary care setting, there is now a growing body of research comparing the actual health outcome benefits that result from utilizing Advance Practice Nurses as primary care providers. For additional information on the emerging role of NPs please visit the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, which has an extensive online database of relevant articles.
As a nurse, you are likely well aware of the impact you can have on the health and wellness of our nation by becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. As a nurse, you are also aware of the fact that in order to provide the best care to your patients, you must first care for yourself. Earning your FNP degree can reinforce your ability to do just that, providing you with the first steps to freedom, financial stability, and firsthand healthcare knowledge that allows for a robust and rewarding career.
Practice Environment and FNP Salary
Upon degree completion and licensing, you will be poised to practice in a variety of primary care settings, ranging from urban Community Health Centers, to small rural clinics, and even the corner drugstore, where you can likely find a Walk-In Clinic staffed by an NP. Many Family NPs are also demonstrating their entrepreneurial spirit by opening their own Nurse Managed Clinics, which reflects the ability of NPs to practice independently in many states. As always, make sure to check with the Board of Nursing in the state where you intend to practice, for any state specific requirements.
According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Family NPs represent over 47% of the total population of Nurse Practitioners (currently over 125K total in the US), which makes it by far the largest Nurse Practitioner specialty. As an FNP you can expect annual earnings similar to the national median income of $89,960 (Onet), along with job security.
The need for FNPs is expected to grow at a rate faster than average, with over 1 million job openings projected by 2020 (BLS). By earning your Family Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degree in Nursing, you will be positioning yourself to be able to enjoy a rewarding career, a solid sense of job security, financial stability, and the satisfaction that comes from utilizing your nursing skills to make the world a healthier place.
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