A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse trained to provide primary or specialized care for patients of all ages. If you aspire to pursue a career as a family nurse practitioner, you will find it an excellent choice. Family nurse practitioners have a vast scope of practice. Keep reading to find out some of the work settings available for FNPs.
Acute or urgent care centers
Although it is a less popular choice for FNPs, they can become certified to work in urgent care. In such a setting, the FNP treats wounds, assesses a patient’s condition, and prescribes treatments.
Usually, urgent care centers have all kinds of patients. Therefore, the nurse practitioner has to provide primary care services. It is worth noting that working in an acute care center means exposure to patients with life-threatening emergencies and traumas, so the FNP needs psychological fortitude – joining the University of Indianapolis prepares students adequately for such situations.
Long-term care facilities
A family nurse practitioner who enjoys following a patient’s health journey, especially senior citizens, can work at a long-term care facility. These facilities care for patients with chronic illnesses or those with disabilities.
A family nurse practitioner’s duties at a long-term care facility vary depending on the patient’s needs. However, typical responsibilities include developing and implementing patient care plans, administering medications, and assisting patients with daily tasks like dressing.
A family nurse practitioner also offers emotional support to patients. Therefore, to work in such a facility, one needs patience and resilience to work in stressful conditions. The FNP should also be able to build long-term relationships with patients and caregivers.
Palliative care settings
Palliative care nurses are also referred to as hospice care nurses. A family nurse practitioner can work with terminally ill patients in their homes or at a hospice center. Since recovery is no longer feasible, the FNP aims to relieve the patient and family’s suffering. They can do so by educating families about the end-of-life process and providing comfort. A family nurse practitioner in a palliative care setting works closely with the patient’s loved ones. The nurse keeps them posted about the patient’s health.
Besides, the nurse handles medical paperwork for the patient, such as care facility paperwork and prescriptions. They also continue to offer solutions to alleviate pain. They might take pharmaceuticals, a relaxing massage, or music therapy.
Some states give family nurse practitioners the legal authority to practice independently. In such a setting, the FNP is the primary care provider for patients from birth through adulthood. Besides having nursing experience, going into private practice requires some business savvy. The FNP in private practice has to worry about business plans, financial statements, legal issues, and medical care.
Going into private practice is a good idea for someone looking for autonomy. However, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges, such as finance startup costs and finding a patient-friendly location. It would help to build a network of advisors — perhaps people who have done it before — for tips.
Retail clinics come to the rescue when patients need fast access to medical services. They make healthcare delivery faster, less expensive, and more accessible. A family nurse practitioner can work in such a setting.
One good thing about working in retail health as an FNP is the flexibility. The nursing profession is known for crazy hours. However, that’s not the case in retail health. However, they might have to work on weekends and holidays. Besides, an FNP might be the only healthcare professional in the store. The lack of support from other healthcare professionals can be lonely. Working in retail health also means preparing for non-clinical duties like inputting insurance information and bookkeeping.
Schools and correctional facilities
Duties could include performing mandated health screenings and providing care for injuries. Family nurse practitioners can work in school health clinics, especially large school districts. They can also work in correctional facilities.
Family nurse practitioners are not restricted to caregiving. In a college or university, FNPs can train nursing students. They can also dedicate their time to nursing research to help take the healthcare system to the next level. Most importantly, they can help shape nursing policy. If you are drawn to training and research, you can make a career in academia.
Joining the FNP world
The first step to becoming an FNP is earning a degree in nursing science. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you could pursue a master of science in nursing. If you already have a master’s degree, you can go for a post-master certificate.