Are you a registered nurse looking to take the next step in your nursing career? You might consider getting your Master of Science in Nursing and becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner!What exactly is a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and what do they do? An FNP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who manages the healthcare of individuals and their families. FNPs provide preventive and primary care, promote health and well-being, and help their patients manage chronic conditions. FNPs conduct routine checkups and assessments, order and interpret tests, make diagnoses, prescribe medications, and initiate and manage treatment plans for their patients.
FNPs can practice in various settings, including hospital outpatient clinics, community health centers, private group practices, universities, and single provider private practices. According to salary.com, FNPs in the United States make on average between $108,460 and $126,980 a year, but range widely depending on years of experience, certifications, and geographic location.
Are you considering becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner? We have outlined the process in five steps.
1. Become a Registered Nurse (RN) and get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
If you have not received your BSN yet, we encourage you to look into one of the many one-year BSN programs. You will also need one year of experience as a registered nurse to apply for many advanced nursing programs such as those offered at Frontier Nursing University.
2. Search For and Apply To an Accredited FNP Program
Once you are an RN with a BSN, you can apply to an FNP program! You want to apply to an accredited FNP program, as these programs meet rigorous accreditation standards. Frontier Nursing University’s programs are highly accredited, and our FNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
FNU offers an online graduate Family Nurse Practitioner specialty track that can be pursued full- or part-time while completing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC). After earning an MSN or certificate, you have the option to continue on to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at FNU.
While searching for a university that offers an FNP program, you also want to review their test scores. Look for a university whose graduates have high pass rates for certification exams. In 2021 FNU had an overall certification pass rate of 97% (Source: AANP).
Another thing to consider and research is tuition rates for Family Nurse Practitioner programs. Frontier Nursing University offers affordable tuition rates for our online FNP program.
3. I’ve Been Accepted; Now What?
Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into an FNP program! At Frontier Nursing University, our FNP students typically take between 2-3 years to complete their advanced degree online. The full-time program of study is eight-week terms, while the part-time program of study is 10-week terms. FNU students complete online didactic coursework and clinical experiences in their own community with two brief campus immersion experiences on our Versailles, Kentucky, campus during their time at FNU. The first visit is a three-day orientation called Frontier Bound.
4. Prepare for Your Clinical Experience
At Frontier Nursing University, you are not alone in your search for clinical site placement. We are with you every step of the way. FNU offers clinical outreach and placement services and resources for FNP students to assist them in identifying potential clinical sites. Our clinical outreach and placement team provides support to help you navigate the overall clinical site search process.
Once students complete online didactic studies at FNU, they return to the Versailles, Kentucky, campus for Clinical Bound. Clinical Bound is a five-day skills-intensive experience to prepare students for their clinical practicum. This unique, hands-on active learning experience allows students to feel validated as having acquired the skills necessary to begin their community-based clinical practicum. Clinical Bound allows students to communicate face-to-face with faculty members and peers, often making lifelong friends along the way.
Upon completion of Clinical Bound, FNP students begin their clinical practicum! The clinical experience is one of the most exciting times in an FNP student’s journey as it allows you to gain hands-on experience with practicing clinicians in your community.
FNU Family Nurse Practitioner students typically take 4-6 months to complete the clinical practicum in or close to their home community. Each student’s clinical practicum is carefully designed to meet individual student needs. Students complete clinical rotations focusing on pediatrics, adult primary care, women’s health, and geriatrics.
5. Sit for Your Certification Exam!
Once you have completed your course and clinical practicum work, now it is time to sit for your certification exam! Family Nurse Practitioners sit for national certifications through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). FNU students are well-prepared for these examinations. As mentioned previously, in 2021, FNU FNP graduates had an overall AANP certification pass rate of 97% and ANCC certification pass rate of 100%.
Begin Your Career as an FNP
Once you pass your boards, you can officially practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner. As an FNP, you are prepared to provide a wide range of family-focused health care services to patients of all ages, including infants, adolescents, adults, and seniors (source: https://www.aanp.org/news-feed/are-you-considering-a-career-as-a-family-nurse-practitioner).
Although FNPs have a broad scope of practice, including providing preventive and primary care, promoting health and wellbeing, and helping patients manage chronic conditions. FNPs can also obtain additional certifications. These certifications can include diabetes, pain management, or obesity management. You can also return to a university for a post-graduate certificate (PGC) or for your Doctor of Nursing Practice. FNU offers PGCs in nurse-midwifery, psychiatric-mental health, and women’s health care.
As an FNP, you should remain active in national organizations like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. AANP offers conferences, continuing education resources, a community of like-minded individuals, and more!
You can also give back to your profession after you graduate and become a preceptor!
Why become a preceptor?
- Promote your profession through the education and guidance of your future peers
- Help expand access to quality, compassionate care to diverse, rural and underserved populations
- Earn an honorarium based on the percentage of time spent precepting students
- Gain access to FREE CEUs including sessions on pharmacology and other current topics
Are you ready to start your journey as a Family Nurse Practitioner? Request more information about FNU’s online FNP program today!