Projections of future demand predict that family nurse practitioners (FNPs) can look forward to a bright future. While these numbers bode well for prospective FNPs, finding out what exactly FNPs do and how their profession might be changing in the coming years is important for those considering a career in this field.
To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Duquesne University’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree program.
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The Facts About the Role of an FNP
Before embarking on a career as a family nurse practitioner, prospective FNPs must complete several degrees and exams. They need to earn both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with an FNP specialization. FNPs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) as well. They must also earn board certification in Family Practice through either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANPCB).
Many family nurse practitioners are working as healthcare providers and conduct exams, diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, recommend therapies, oversee routine checkups, assist in surgical procedures and educate patients about disease prevention.
In 2010, 52 percent of nurse practitioners (NPs) were working as primary care providers. And in 2016, FNPs earned an average of $104,610 per year, or $50.30 per hour, with the top 10 percent earning a salary of $140,930.
What’s Driving the Demand for FNPs?
While there were approximately 128,000 NPs in the workforce in 2008, the number of NPs is expected to jump to 244,000 by 2025, more than a 94 percent increase.
The growing demand for FNPs is being driven by physician shortages, a larger focus on funding strategies for preventive care, the medical needs of an aging population and the need for more primary care providers in rural areas. Changes put in place by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are also empowering NPs to address the national healthcare shortage by providing more primary care to those who need it.
How Is the Role of FNP Likely to Change in the Coming Years?
The role of FNPs is expected to differ in the near future due to a combination of changes stemming from the ACA, legislation, technology and demographics.
Due to the current form of the ACA, additional funding has been authorized for nurse-run health clinics and for groups such as the National Health Service Corps (NHSCs). The Institute of Medicine has also recommended that NPs should be able to practice more fully so they can use the full scope of their expertise and training. Many states that do not currently allow NPs to practice to their full extent are working to pass laws that will change this as well.
As 3-D printing, video conferencing, telemedicine and telehealth, as well as other technological fields and innovations, become more integral to the healthcare profession, nurses must learn new skills and tech competencies to keep up with changes. Genomics is also expected to play a bigger role in nursing. This will require nurses to learn how these advances — and any ethical issues that may surround them — are relevant to their field.
Changes in demographics are also expected to impact the nursing profession. While only 6.2 percent of all registered nurses (RNs) licensed before 2000 were men, the proportion of male RNs jumped to 9.6 percent from 2000 to 2008. Male nurses are most likely to be working in hospital settings.
The number of nurse practitioners who come from racial and ethnic minority groups has grown during the past several decades, with the proportion of NPs from racial and ethnic minorities increasing by 35 percent between 2000 and 2008. However, minorities are still underrepresented in the nursing profession. Even though an estimated 65 percent of the U.S. population was made up of white and non-Hispanic individuals in 2008, 83.2 percent of the nursing population was white and non-Hispanic during that same year.
There has been a slight increase in the number of internationally trained nurses working in the United States as well. Internationally trained nurses represented 5.1 percent of nurses licensed prior to 2004 and 8.1 percent of nurses licensed in the four years afterward. Half of these nurses were trained in the Philippines.
Nursing students seeking a career as a family nurse practitioner can look forward to a promising future. As the need for FNPs continues to grow, so does the demand for well-qualified practitioners.