A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) with a specialty certification in family practice. To become a FNP, one must first be licensed as a registered nurse. A minimum of a master’s degree in nursing is required, which generally takes 6 years of continuous studies. Some college programs have begun requiring a minimum of a doctorate degree for entry into practice. Most master’s degree programs have strict requirements for entrance, including experience, volunteer work and excellent references. The program is intense, requiring both classroom and clinical components. It is ideal not to maintain employment for the duration of the program. Family Nurse Practitioners are nationally certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and individually licensed by each individual state board of nursing. The scope of practice of an FNP/ARNP varies by state. In general, an FNP provides primary care services to men, women and children under the supervision of a physician. The FNP role includes assessment, diagnosis and treatment of common conditions, as well as preventative care services. FNPs may order laboratory work, medical tests, and prescriptions. They may also assist physicians during surgery or complicated medical procedures. FNPs work in a variety of settings, including physicians' offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and urgent care clinics. Working conditions are very favorable. Generally, FNPs work a constant schedule of Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nights, holidays and weekends are rare for the FNP. A career as an FNP is a great choice for those interested in both medicine and nursing.
Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Tasks
- Order and interpret test results and recommend treatment of patients.
- Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment and counsel patients.
- Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
- Administer therapeutic procedures.
- Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.