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What You Need to Know About Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner

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Moving on from a more hands-on nursing role can be difficult. You can quickly get used to working directly with patients, and when this changes, you can feel a little bit lost as to what to do, when, and why. When you have been working as a nurse practitioner for a little while, you may feel ready for change and progression, or you may not. If you want to make a change, and you want to push your career that little bit further, you should look at becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP). An FNP is like a doctor, who also carries out tasks and responsibilities just as a nurse would do. FNPs often assist local communities and local families, and they often provide care for the whole family, transitioning and growing with the family as they go about their day-to-day lives.

Moving on from Nursing to Family Nurse Practitioner 

Making the decision to move on from your nursing role may have been an easy decision to make, or it might not have. Change can be unsettling, but when change meets progression, it can often be handled a lot better. Moving on from being a nurse to an FNP is ideal if you are looking to provide focused and targeted care to local families and communities. As an FNP, your role will closely align with that of a doctor, except as an FNP, you will stay with the families and communities you work with, and you will rarely travel around. Moving on is much easier to do if it feels right and if it feels natural, but how do you know if you are ready for a change?

Knowing You Are Ready for a Change

There will be parts of your current role as a nurse that you love, and there will be parts that you dislike. If the parts that you dislike are overtaking your overall love and enjoyment of the role, then you may be ready for a change. You may also be ready for a change if you are seeking more responsibility, increased pay, or even more of a connection and working relationship with the patients and families you will care for. 

Everyone is different, and as everyone responds to change in different ways, it would be impossible to pinpoint when you are ready for change. However, if you are feeling discontent, if you are yearning for more, and if you are feeling frustrated within your current role, it is probably time to start the process of change. Of course, there is no perfect time to make a career move, but there is a right time, and this is when you feel like you are ready. The move from nursing to FNP requires you to return to studying, and if you are not ready for this commitment just yet, it might be worth shelving your progression plans for a little while.

Why You Need to Progress Within Your Career

Whether you are ready or not for a change, you will have to progress within your career at some point, and you will have to do this to ensure that you do not remain stagnant. When you are comfortable within a role or position, it can be very easy to stay within that position simply because it is comfortable. However, you will get nothing from this, and you will get no benefit either in the short term or in the long term. 

What Does a Family Nurse Practitioner Do?

An FNP looks after communities and families. This includes looking after their physical and mental wellness. On paper, an FNP looks a lot like a doctor, and they are, the only difference being that an FNP will stay with a family as they grow, whereas a doctor is not loyal or attached to a particular family; they simply prioritize those who need care the most. The role of a family nurse practitioner is diverse, and it is one that focuses on collaboration with other professionals, such as dieticians and physicians. FNPs often carry the workload of a doctor, as they often provide primary care. A family nurse practitioner will often be involved with leadership at some point within their career, and this leadership may help ensure that patients’ needs are correctly met, or it may involve liaising with stakeholders and shareholders. A family nurse practitioner is involved with lots of teams and professionals, and as such, no two days will ever be the same.

How Do You Train to Be an FNP?

Progressing from a nurse practitioner to a family nurse practitioner requires you to return to studying. Studying an advanced level program over a period of around three years will ensure that you have the knowledge and awareness to carry out the role to the best of your ability. When it comes to finding an educational provider for your FNP program, it is important to carry out adequate research. Going for a provider that genuinely cares about your education and career is important. If the provider is not invested in you as a person and as a student, then you will struggle to get the most out of your program, and ultimately this could tarnish your view and experience of becoming a family nurse practitioner. Going for an FNP program that is based online will be convenient for you to undertake, as you will be able to complete your studies around your existing commitments.

How Long Will Studying Last?

On average, if you were to study for an FNP program on a part-time basis, you would be looking to study for around three years. Of course, this time frame could vary and may be affected by any work or clinical placements that may need to be carried out. As studying lasts for a little while, it is important that you invest your time into your studies wisely. You will have to make compromises along the way, and you should be prepared and ready for this. There may be occasions or events, such as family get-togethers, that you have to miss out on, but overall, you should find fitting it in with your schedule quite simple and straightforward.

Studying Online

Whether you have studied online before or this is your first time around, it is essential that you treat online studying with the same level of dedication as you would do if you were to study at a physical campus. When it comes to successfully studying online, you would definitely benefit from having a study plan in place, especially if you are studying from home. Having regular times and days that you work and study will make the whole process easier on you and on everyone that lives within your home. When you study from home, you need to have a dedicated workspace to study from. If it is not possible to have a separate office space, try and create a room division within one of the quietest places in the house. When you have a dedicated study area (no matter how big or small), you ensure that you can study at any time of the day without any distractions.

Qualifying and Finding a Position

If you maintain your focus and dedication to your studies, you should have no problem qualifying as an FNP. Once you have successfully qualified and completed your program, you need to start finding a suitable position. The industry and the demand for FNPs are growing all of the time, and you are entering the role at an exciting time, one that is full of opportunity and growth. When it comes to finding a position, you may have to compromise at first with regard to the location of the post or even the working hours.

However, like most things, as you build your experience and as your confidence within the role grows, you can start to look for positions further afield or maybe even closer to home. You may even be able to find positions that offer more flexibility. The important thing to remember is to find a position as soon as you can so that you can start building your experience, knowledge, and awareness. Your first 12 months within the new role may be challenging, but after the initial settling-in period, you should be able to confidently handle the role and the duties that come with it.

Making a Difference

Within your role as an FNP, you will meet many people from all walks of life. Within your role, you will be able to make a difference to the quality of life local communities and families have; you will be able to guide and advise them about their habits and lifestyle choices. As an FNP stays within a local community, and they stay with families, they become extended members of all units. You will see changes and improvements firsthand, and this is one of the greatest rewards you will get within the role. Seeing families grow and seeing them change will ensure that every day within the role is different.