Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) care for patients of every age and are highly skilled in providing direct patient care and enhancing health outcomes. FNP graduates deliver preventative care and treat acute and chronic conditions. Their advanced education allows them to provide wide-ranging healthcare in the community and promote patient health and well-being. They have competencies to meet that ensure comprehensive quality practice. They often work in underserved communities and provide much-needed clinical care. FNPs are growing in number to meet the nation’s healthcare requirements, and they are sought after by healthcare employers.
The FNP role
Registered nurses can advance their careers by studying in Carson-Newman online nursing programs. Graduates qualify as FNPs and will be equipped to implement evidence-based practice and a holistic approach to nursing. Courses are delivered 100% online (excluding clinical placements and residency) and are suitable for working nurses. Students complete clinical placements with support from the university’s clinical placement services.
FNPs deliver services in the community in various places, including people’s homes, schools, churches, worksites, homeless shelters, and libraries. They keep people well at home and in community settings close to home, supporting them to live independently. Healthcare provision in the community can improve people’s health and enhance outcomes for people without easy access to healthcare. FNPs determine the relationship between socioeconomic status and population health and how improvements in medical resources can be implemented. FNPs build relationships in their communities and address health disparities and local needs.
FNP graduates provide family-centered care and treat patients at every stage of their life. They consider the patient’s situation, such as relationships and family circumstances. They diagnose, treat, and manage acute and chronic diseases while promoting health and preventing disease. Their daily work can include assessment, diagnoses, laboratory and diagnostic tests, treatment, medication prescription, counseling, and health education. They evaluate the patient’s medical history and collaborate with the patient to create a health care plan. FNPs can act as intermediaries between patients and physicians and assist physicians by recording patient data. They are educated to work independently and as part of a team. FNPs work in a healthcare team with other direct-care providers such as case managers, doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and nursing assistants. Many states give FNPs full practice authority, and more states are likely to follow suit. FNPs can work in various health settings such as community health centers, universities, physician offices, and private practice.
Competency-based education ensures FNPs can apply skills, knowledge, and judgment in their practice roles. The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties has developed consensus-based primary care competencies for nurse practitioners, which ensures entry-level nurses have demonstrated their ability to perform any required procedures. This prepares nurse practitioners starting in primary care roles and helps them meet workplace demands.
Specialty competencies for FNPs also emphasize the unique nature of practice and the needs of any population served. They also work to ensure that FNPs are specialists in family nursing within the community. FNPs provide direct healthcare services and, within their role, must achieve competency in health promotion, health protection, disease prevention, and treatment focus. Competencies that describe all aspects of assessing patient health include health promotion, screening, and counseling for lifestyle, developmental, and environmental issues.
Competencies for diagnosing health status include differential diagnosis, critical thinking, and working with data. For the plan of care and implementation of treatment, competencies cover maximizing the patient’s health potential, stabilizing the patient, and minimizing complications. Further competencies relate to the FNP-patient relationship, coaching the patient, the professional role, managing healthcare delivery systems, quality practice, and cultural awareness.
FNPs have been essential in addressing the healthcare needs of rural and underserved communities. They assess the values, beliefs, and knowledge of the community they serve and deliver appropriate health education. They teach patients about their treatment, illness, and healthcare needs. Effective education leads to improved health literacy and better healthcare outcomes. Patients’ ability to manage their care leads to positive patient outcomes. There is a growing need for FNPs to fill primary care roles, and the greatest demand is from underserved communities. FNPs strengthen communities by promoting healthier lifestyles and advocating for improved services. They also provide long-term healthcare close to home, meaning patients do not have to travel long distances to access healthcare. Populations of underserved communities can have more cases of disease and a lower life expectancy than people in areas with easy access to healthcare, and FNPs can provide advanced healthcare for patients with early-stage or preventative diseases in underserved communities. With a growing aging population and the shortage of physicians, FNPs can fill the gap in healthcare services and make a real difference to communities.
The role of the FNP is likely to evolve due to changes in technology, demographics, and legislation. More states are likely to pass laws that give FNPs full practice authority. Technological advances have provided telehealth, telemedicine, 3D printing, and video conferencing, and FNPs will need to learn new technical skills. Demographic changes will also impact the profession. There are increasingly more nurse practitioners from racial and ethnic minority groups, although minorities are still underrepresented. There is a demand for nurse practitioners from all genders and ethnic backgrounds.
FNPs help improve healthcare access through patient advocacy and working with community leaders. They are well-positioned to represent communities and advocate for change in the best interests of their patients. They network with community health centers to provide preventative healthcare services and resources to improve health and well-being. They join advocacy boards representing underserved populations’ needs in healthcare organizations, schools, and communities.
FNPs are key to their communities
FNPs address the healthcare needs of communities, improve people’s health and well-being and work in areas without easy access to healthcare, making huge differences to the local population.
They provide care within the community and ensure their patients receive the necessary care, formulating various plans to suit various people. By doing so, they practice competencies that ensure professional excellence, both in rural and underserved communities, and use their advanced skills to provide much-needed healthcare. They are committed to the populations they work with and advocate for easier access to healthcare and better services and resources. FNPs are valued members of the nursing profession and are in great demand by healthcare employers.