Family Nurse Practitioner
A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a registered nurse with an advanced practice specializing in primary or specialty care for patients of all ages. They have independent practice privileges in many states, which gives them prescriptive authority and allows them to treat patients on their own in hospitals, clinics, or private practices as the primary healthcare provider for individuals and families.
A few advanced practices registered nursing (APRN) roles are available, as well as other patient population and specialty focus areas for nurse practitioners. However, none are as widespread and well-established as family nurse practitioners.
In some ways, all nurse practitioners are descended from family nurse practitioners.
The first nurse practitioner training program, established in 1965 at the University of Rochester, was intended to capitalize on the natural advantages of holistic nursing practice in providing primary care in family health and disease prevention.
Family nurse practitioners use their additional nursing training to diagnose, monitor and treat sick people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.
Primary care is at the heart of the family practice. From urinary tract infections to upper respiratory illnesses, FNPs deal with the basic healthcare needs that come through the door at any clinic or hospital in the country. They monitor and maintain chronic conditions such as cirrhosis and diabetes and perform regular checkups to catch problems early. They are trusted and expert healthcare professionals who care for all types of patients.
They have some of the most extensive NP training of any advanced practitioner, allowing them to care for patients of almost any age in any primary care role. FNPs can also sub-specialize in their training, with concentrations available in areas such as:
- Medical Emergencies
- Geriatric medicine
As a result, there is a very broad range of possible job duties in the FNP world. In general, regardless of your specialization, you can expect to handle the following tasks in almost any of those jobs:
Examine patients: Nurses are frequently among the first medical professionals a patient encounters. Their preliminary work lays the groundwork for the entire case. With their additional training in taking patient histories and performing physical exams, nurse practitioners can make this process even more comprehensive. They understand what diagnostic tests to order and how to gather information about symptoms and the environment that can make or break an accurate diagnosis.
Make diagnoses: FNPs can contribute to or make diagnoses independently. They understand how to interpret tests and are educated to match symptoms to illnesses. They can also follow up, consulting with specialists or physicians to track down the loose ends of difficult cases. Monitoring and evaluating cases throughout the care and treatment phase entails dealing with changing conditions and adapting to patient responses.
Create treatment plans: With all the necessary information, an FNP can create treatment plans for various conditions and illnesses. They can prescribe drugs in some states. In other cases, they can direct procedures or order appropriate therapies.
Communicate with patients and providers: FNPs are the hub of most case-related communication throughout the entire patient care process. They frequently have the most direct interaction with the patient and their family of any provider. Because they have the expertise to understand what is going on at a high level, they can explain the problems they have discovered and the treatments they believe are best. They are also in an excellent position to keep the rest of the care team updated on the patient’s progress, arranging everything from additional therapy to specialist consults along the way.
FNPs are also excellent educators for their patients and other medical professionals. It is not uncommon to see FNPs serving as mentors to other nurses.
Paperwork and charting are part of the communication game in healthcare settings. Critical decisions are made using data from paper or electronic charts. FNPs are responsible for ensuring that information is accurate and up to date.
FNPs also handle discharge at the end of the treatment process. Again, communicating with patients about their home self-care routines and the importance of follow-up appointments is critical.
Family Nurse Practitioner
Week 8 Reflection Post Prompt: Reflect and give at least two (2) examples on how you think you have met the program student learning outcome:
Practice within ethical-legal guidelines, professional policies and regulations, and standards of practice associated with a specialty area of advanced nursing practice.