In the United States, more than 60% of licensed nurse practitioners chose to focus on family care (American Association of Nurse Practitioners). Family nurse practitioners serve as a lifeline for patients who have difficulty accessing care, offering cost-effective care. There are a number of compelling personal and professional reasons to seeking advanced education as a family nurse practitioner. Below we look at three of the strongest reasons consider becoming a nurse practitioner.
Increasing Your Autonomy as a Caregiver
The nurse who chooses an FNP career track gains autonomy over his or her nursing practice. According to AANP National Database, 21 states and the District of Columbia have approved “full practice” for nurse practitioners. “Full practice” means that family nurse practitioners are allowed to assess, diagnose, and prescribe medications independently. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation cites studies that show nurse practitioners can manage 80-90% of the primary care provided by physicians. The ability to provide primary care services means an FNP has increased independence. As a result, an FNPs may set his or her own schedule and choose to work as an independent practitioner or for a healthcare institution. This flexibility in terms when and where you may work can help busy RNs gain a more positive work-life balance.
Gaining Career Stability
The demand for family nurse practitioners has grown yearly with no signs of slowing down. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 200,000 nurse practitioner positions will be created by 2026. This is a 36% increase in job growth, higher than the national average. In addition, an aging population and a predicted primary care provider shortage provide additional job stability. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) predicts a shortage of more than 20,000 primary care physicians by 2020. The National Governors Association predicts that by 2019, the number of visits to primary care sources will increase by 15-25 million visits per year. With prescriptive privileges and advanced practice skills, family nurse practitioners can combat the primary care provider shortage. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that 90% of nurse practitioners are primary-care prepared. This skill set opens up a wide variety of employment opportunities. Family nurse practitioners can work where is a need for primary care services, such as urgent care facilities, hospitals, private practices, and more.
Forbes has ranked nurse practitioner as one of the top paying roles for women, and Monster.com ranks nurse practitioners as one of the best-paid jobs in the country. The earning potential for a nurse practitioner is much higher than a registered nurse with an approximate $30,000 a year difference (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the annual average salary of a nurse practitioners is $100,000. The same year, the average annual salary of an RN without an advanced nursing degree was $68,450.
There are numerous personal, professional, and financial benefits to becoming a family nurse practitioner. However, for a full-time RN, finding time to pursue an MSN-FNP degree can be challenging. Carson-Newman University offers a solution with its online MSN-FNP program. Designed for working RNs, all of the MSN-FNP courses are 100% online (excluding clinicals and practicum). The online format provides work-life balance as you can continue your education while working full-time. Enjoy an intimate virtual learning environment that connects you with fellow RNs across the country. Learn from experienced FNP and DNP faculty who are active in their nursing practice and in their communities. Become an autonomous caregiver who can provide care for patients across the lifespan. Take the next step in your career with Carson-Newman. Call 888.293.9444 or fill out the form here to learn more.