Why a career as a family nurse practitioner is the right choice for you

Date: February 24, 2017

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are registered nursing professionals with additional educational experience that allows them to assume many of the same duties as primary care physicians, including making diagnoses, conducting physical assessments, prescribing medications and treatments and more.

This challenging, yet rewarding, career path is open to nursing professionals who are keen to return to the classroom and develop their career. With the flexibility afforded by Bradley University’s online Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP), Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP-FNP) or FNP Certificate program, students will be able to incorporate study into their busy schedule as registered nurses. Furthermore, the programs are taught by an outstanding faculty of leaders in the field, and students will be afforded the freedom to select their own preceptors for clinical hours, pending approval from Bradley.

If you are interested in becoming an FNP but are still unsure if it is the right career move for you, consider these compelling reasons why you should enter the profession:

  1. A focus on preventative care
  2. Preventative care is a term that denotes strategies designed to reduce the risk of chronic illness in patients — pertinent examples being heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that preventative care often is characterized by collaboration between patients and health care providers, with patients taking steps to remain healthy, such as engaging in regular exercise, ceasing tobacco use and eating a balanced diet, and medical providers offering services such as vaccinations and screenings for certain diseases.

    If preventative care interests you, pursuing a career as an FNP could be ideal. As journalist Lisa Esposito reported in U.S. News & World Report, FNPs tend to tailor their care strategies toward looking at each patient’s health on a broader scale, taking into account the various components that come together to form a patient’s overall level of well-being. In the report, Sandra Nettina, an FNP who works in Columbia, Md., detailed the importance of preventative care in her approach to medicine, stating that she works with patients who are eager to learn more ways to improve their general health.

    Nettina described her typical meetings with patients: “We’ll have a more comprehensive, educational visit where we’ll really do a half hour about some number of things they want to work on changing [in terms of general health].”

    In that sense, while FNPs certainly examine and diagnose specific medical problems in patients, FNPs typically also are involved in helping patients maintain a consistent level of good health, more so than other medical professionals such as registered nurses and family physicians.

  3. Greater earning potential
  4. A notable benefit of pursuing a career as an FNP is that you can increase your earning potential considerably. According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), FNPs, as of May 2015, take home a median nationwide salary of just over $98,000 a year, with annual paychecks in excess of $135,000 not out of the question, contingent on location and level of experience. This salary stands in contrast to those typically earned by registered nurses, who make, according to the BLS, close to $68,000 per year on average. While this amount is certainly respectable, the difference between the two professions, in terms of earning potential, is notable. If you want to earn more money and still make a difference in people’s lives, this advanced career option could be the right move for you.

    FNPs typically take a more holistic approach to health care.

  5. A higher level of responsibility
  6. In many ways, FNPs are similar to family physicians: FNPs’ responsibilities are a considerable step up from those of registered nurses, and they carry out many of the same duties as a physician, such as conducting physical assessments, making diagnoses, and prescribing medications and treatments. As reported by journalist Lisa McQuerrey in a recent Houston Chronicle article, this greater level of responsibility will afford you more respect and mobility within your profession, and you will be able to make an even greater positive impact on your patients’ lives.

  7. High demand for FNPs
  8. If you train as an FNP, you likely will find many job opportunities, in a variety of settings, nationwide. The BLS reported that employment in this sector is expected to continue rising, stating that by the year 2024, employment in this area likely will have grown some 31 percent from levels observed in 2014.

  9. Flexible schedules and settings
  10. Given the nationwide demand for FNPs, if you pursue this career path, you likely will find that you enjoy the flexibility and freedom to move around geographically, as well as between health care settings. This option is certainly ideal if you are planning on moving in the future or are eager to work in a number of geographic areas.

  11. The ability to transition careers within the field
  12. If you earn your MSN-FNP or DNP-FNP degree, you are by no means limited to pursuing only a career as an FNP. As noted on the information page for Bradley University’s online programs, it is possible to use this qualification to pursue a career in either nursing education or nursing research.

Consider Bradley University
If you are eager to begin your career as an FNP, start your professional journey by applying to Bradley University’s online MSN-FNP or DNP-FNP program. Flexible, affordable and taught by renowned instructors, a Bradley education can help you excel in this rigorous and challenging field. To learn more and begin your application, click here.