Why Become a Family Nurse Practitioner? FNP Salary and Job Description
A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who delivers health care to patients of all ages. FNPs offer a broad range of health services and practices in various medical settings. The benefits of becoming an FNP attract many professionals to the field and drive demand for specialized education and training.
To learn more, check out the infographic below, created by Carson-Newman University’s Online Post-Master’s FNP Program and Online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner Program.
What Is an FNP? Salary and Job Description
FNPs are nurse practitioners (NPs), which belong to a family of APRNs, including certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse-midwives and clinical nurse specialists. Unlike RNs, NPs can diagnose patient conditions, handle prescription medication planning and prescribing and prescribe treatments — depending on each state’s practice authority.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says NP roles are expected to grow by 46% by 2031 — much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth represents an additional 118,600 jobs. The average FNP salary is $98,687 annually as of October 2022.
What FNPs Do
FNPs are NPs who specialize in primary care for families and people of all ages, from infants to seniors. They deliver comprehensive primary care, including performing exams; managing patient records; treating illnesses, both acute and chronic; managing health conditions and injuries; and running or ordering diagnostic tests.
Why Become an FNP?
Career stability and autonomy are some of the best reasons to become an FNP. Across the U.S., more than 325,000 FNPs are employed. In 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranked the position No. 3 on a list of the top 100 jobs. By 2022, it ranked it No. 2.
Benefits for FNPs include paid time off, vacation, paid continuing education, health insurance, 401(k) contributions, professional liability coverage and tuition reimbursement.
Beyond that, many nurses are also drawn to becoming FNPs because the role offers greater involvement with patients; more challenges, but also more satisfaction; and diverse patient experiences.
High Demand, a Chance to Make a Difference
FNPs make up one of the fastest-growing groups in primary care, which means they can help fill essential positions. Demand is expected to increase, making FNP a stable career option. The U.S. is expected to experience a shortage of nearly 139,000 physicians by 2033.
How can FNPs help? Their skill level and resulting autonomy allow them to fill health care gaps in rural areas and underserved areas. They do this through full practice authority (FPA), which allows nursing boards to license FNPs to provide comprehensive care. Note: FPA authorization varies from state to state.
Studies show that areas lacking FNPs with FPA tend to see bigger geographic health disparities, worse burdens from chronic disease, worse shortages in primary care, more expensive care and lower standings on national health rankings.
U.S. States, Territories and Districts With FPA Laws
U.S. states and territories with FPA laws include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
Education and Career Path for FNPs
Good FNPs are compassionate, enthusiastic and patient. They have empathy, confidence, and the mental and physical endurance to tackle a tough but rewarding job.
To become an FNP, you’ll need to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which typically takes four years. Then, you’ll need to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). After that, you’ll need to work as an RN to get experience, and then you can pursue a master’s degree in nursing, which can take as little as 32 months. You can take courses in advanced pharmacology, advanced anatomy, advanced physiology, patient care and industry ethics. This is where you’ll specialize in family medicine.
Finally, you’ll need to pass a national board exam for your FNP license and apply for licensure in the state you want to work in.
Reasons are plentiful to become an FNP, including job stability in a fast-growing career with plenty of opportunities for advancement. The FNP role offers empathetic and compassionate nurses the chance to be their own boss and follow their patient care from start to finish for a greater sense of job satisfaction.
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- American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Are You Considering a Career as a Family Nurse Practitioner?
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Issues at a Glance: Full Practice Authority
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners, The Path to Becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Carson-Newman University, Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner: The Complete Guide
- Carson–Newman University, Top Benefits of Being a Family Nurse Practitioner
- Payscale, Average Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment of Nurse Practitioners, by State, May 2021
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners