According to a Zippia report, the United States currently employs a little over 210,000 family nurse practitioners. Compared to other nursing specialties, this is a rather large group, and it illustrates just how important a role they play in American healthcare.
The necessity for this type of nurse has gained momentum in recent years because of their training. These professionals are trained to treat patients of various age groups, which makes them invaluable to any healthcare facility.
As you explore the reasons to become an FNP, you may wonder what sort of assistance and treatment you will provide to the different groups that will be under your care. The educational path for FNPs is rather straightforward. You need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which typically takes four years at most universities for in-person classes, and a little shorter for those who choose an online program. You can also take an online MSN-FNP program, which takes a little under three years to complete, or an online Post-Master’s FNP, which students typically complete in two years or less at a reputable institution such as Carson-Newman University.
All these courses focus on topics such as pharmacology, health assessment, pathophysiology and advanced primary nursing care. By the time students have earned their degree, they have the necessary skills and expertise to treat patients of various age groups who suffer from a wide range of medical problems.
Below are examples of the type of care and treatment they offer to patients:
This type of care is offered to babies that are born sick or premature and need to spend a little time in the hospital. FNPs deliver whatever care is needed to help stabilize them, and they observe and monitor them to make sure that they are responding to treatment and care.
This is defined as the care that is given to a mother and baby for the first two or three months after birth, and it is critical because it ensures that both are coping well.
The FNP checks regularly to make sure that the baby is meeting set milestones, is getting the right nutrition and is responding well to basic stimuli as expected at that age.
For the mother, the FNP ensures that they are not overwhelmed, that they have fully recovered from the birth and that they are not suffering from common post-natal conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.
Family nurse practitioners assess child health, diagnose various illnesses, check for growth markers and even care for children who are chronically ill, whether in a family practice, or in a large healthcare institution that has a pediatric wing.
Apart from diagnosing and treating children, they also provide emotional support to their parents and advice on how best to care for the health of their children.
Teenagers and adolescents
This is a special group that has unique challenges, and family nurse practitioners are trained to deal with common problems that occur at this age.
The FNP monitors their general progress, including their sexual health and development, and ensures that they are meeting developmental markers. They also provide advice on how they can stay healthy through good nutrition and exercise and keep a close eye on their mental health to make sure that they aren’t under undue stress.
They discuss the health of teenagers with their parents, providing advice on how to foster good overall health during the teen years.
Young adults and adults
FNPs are trained to deal with a vast range of adult health problems. They perform diagnosis, treatment, and in some states, they are authorized to write prescriptions.
A well-trained FNP is on the lookout for poor habits in adults that may lead to health problems later in life, and they constantly advise their patients on good habits they can adopt to stay healthy and age well.
They talk to them about diet, exercise and mental health, and where necessary, refer them to additional resources they can use to promote health.
FNPs also care for chronically ill adults and young adults. In conjunction with doctors and other health care professionals, these nurses are a critical part of teams that provide care for patients who suffer from serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
America has more seniors than ever before, and FNPs play a crucial role in providing them with medical care. Not only are they trained to diagnose and help treat minor ailments, but they also help care for those who are diagnosed with illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular abnormalities.
FNPs who choose to specialize in senior care are often employed in hospitals, but a good number of them also work in facilities that provide care for seniors, such as nursing homes and hospices.
To become a nurse for seniors, you need to specialize in geriatrics, where you will be taught everything about elder care, from the basics of keeping seniors well fed and exercised to caring for them in the last stages of their lives.
General family care
Many families choose to receive their everyday healthcare from FNPs because they are trained to care for people of all ages. Rather than making an appointment with a private doctor who often costs more, they seek out the services of a family nurse practitioner to help them deal with everyday problems such as colds, flu, stomach disturbances and minor injuries.
Due to their special training, these nurses also play a crucial role in delivering healthcare in rural communities all across America. These communities are often underserved, and FNPs travel widely to meet and treat their patients wherever they are located within these communities.
FNPs play an important role in delivering healthcare within a wide range of settings, and because they are trained to treat people of all age groups, their services are highly valued.
As you consider what specialties you ought to pursue, you should give becoming a FNP some thought; it is a rewarding career that pays well, and you can focus on different demographic groups at various times in your career.