Top 12 Benefits Of Being A Family Nurse Practitioner

Written By: Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC

When thinking about what type of nurse practitioner you want to be, you will want to weigh your personal professional goals, with common career goals like salary, job growth, and demand. The benefits of being a family nurse practitioner (FNP) are numerous. As an FNP you will not only be able to care for patients of all ages, but you will also be in high demand as this NP role is very flexible. As an FNP you will have an exciting career that will grow with you. Here we will review the top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner.

What are the Top Benefits of Being a Family Nurse Practitioner?

Following are the top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner.

1. Pay

It’s no secret that nurse practitioners are well paid, and family nurse practitioners are no exception. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners make a mean salary of $111, 840 annually. This figure may vary depending on work location, clinic type, experience, and whether or not you have specialized further. With ample opportunities to increase your salary and advance your career, you will not be disappointed in your decision to become an FNP.

2. Specialization

One of the top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner is the broad training. This means they can care for patients of all ages with all sorts of medical conditions. After you finish NP school you have the freedom to specialize further. This can be done through a formal certification program or through working in a specialty clinic and gaining on the job experience. If you think you may want to specialize after NP school, see if you can get some of your clinical placements during school in your desired specialty. Additionally, check out our guide to learn more about NP specialties and which one is right for you.

3. Population focus

As we just mentioned, the FNP population focus gives you a broad and flexible base to work from. During your FNP training, you will be trained to care for children and adults, and men and women of all ages. If you want to work in a pediatrics clinic after graduation or go into obstetrics and gynecology you will be able to do so provided you had some exposure to these populations during your clinical training. This also means that as you job hunt after graduation you will be able to fill the role of many different job postings and will have more options.

4. Job opportunities

See? Like we just said, job opportunities are one of the top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner. When you go on job search engines and look for nurse practitioner jobs, you will see FNP certification as the most commonly required population foci. This is due to some of the reasons we have previously mentioned. FNPs are versatile, so if a clinic, company, or hospital has a diverse patient population, they will want a clinician who can meet the needs of all of their patients.

5. Procedures

Procedures are minimally invasive interventions that clinicians can do to create a certain outcome for their patient or make a diagnosis. For example, skin biopsies, IUD insertions, or suturing are all procedures. Depending on your NP school and clinical placements you may learn some of these during your training. However, to meet the needs of a larger diverse population at whatever job you get, you may find yourself learning a variety of procedures on the job. So why is this one of the top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner? First of all, learning these skills will only improve your job opportunities in the future. Secondly, it is rewarding to be able to provide care for your patients, and when you find that you can meet the unique needs of more of them this will translate to your job satisfaction. Knowing how to do different procedures is a great thing to put on your resume.

6. International work

The role of the advanced practice nurse is still developing internationally but has been identified as a role in certain countries. In areas where it is still developing, the type of advanced practice nursing roles recognized is usually midwives or NPs who can care for adults with a variety of health conditions. FNPs meet the later requirement well. You would still have to go through the process of being legally registered in another country, but this is not impossible. Additionally, if you are interested in working for international organizations like Doctors Without Borders, or the International Committee of the Red Cross they will want someone who can care for people of all ages and who may have experience in emergency medicine.

7. Government jobs

Are you interested in working for the military, prison system, foreign service, or some other government branch? Then becoming an FNP may be the best route. This will again ensure that you can meet the needs of the population that you are serving. Frequently these types of postings look for someone with an FNP certification. If you work for the military, for example, you may not only need to care for adults, but they may want someone who has the flexibility to work on a military base caring for children as well.

8. Schooling options

Being an FNP has benefits before you even become one. Due to its popularity, there are FNP certification tracks at almost every school that offers nurse practitioner degree paths. This is one of the top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner because it means more options for you. You can look at the curriculum, location, and cost that best suits you, and it's more likely that you'll be able to save money in the process.

9. Teaching

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again, nurse practitioners have so much job flexibility. One of the other benefits of being a family nurse practitioner is teaching. Not only do nurse practitioner students need experienced teachers in the classroom, but they also need clinical teachers to precept them as they gain hands-on experience in a safe manner. Since FNP tracks are so common, there is a high demand for FNP classroom or clinic teachers. This is yet another way that you will be able to share your knowledge and give back to the future cohort of nurse practitioners.

10. Extensive knowledge

I know we’ve talked about the broad population focus and clinical skills of FNPs, but what else does this mean? As an FNP your knowledge of pathophysiology will be extensive. This knowledge is essential for you to be able to navigate the range of clinical issues you will see with patients of all ages. You will also gain more knowledge through exposure to your job. When looking at the curriculum of FNP programs like the one at Vanderbilt, this is evident. As you grow in your nurse practitioner career you will become increasingly more knowledgeable and will continue to grow your professional profile.

11. Autonomy

As with all nurse practitioner roles, one of the top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner is the level of autonomy you will have. Nurse practitioners in the United States are well respected and often more or less able to perform independently. You will be able to make clinical decisions for your patients on your own but will still have the ability to reach out to your colleagues for guidance if needed. The exact level of autonomy you will have will depend on the state practice regulations where you work, however even in the more restrictive states you will still be seeing your patients on your own.

12. Scope

Given the broad clinical training and population focus of FNPs, you will also have a broad scope of practice. You will be able to assess, diagnose, and treat (including prescribing medications) for patients of all ages. This will encompass being able to perform a detailed physical assessment, order imaging, laboratory, and other diagnostic tests. Not only will you be able to do this but you will be skilled at building rapport with your patients to not only counsel them on the best course of action for their care, but also to refer them to specialists as needed, coordinate their care, and follow up. You will truly be able to care for your patients holistically.

Summing It Up

To sum it up, becoming an FNP is a great career path. As our top 12 benefits of being a family nurse practitioner show, you will have numerous opportunities to advance and diversify your career, all while providing care to a variety of patients and while earning a competitive salary. There is a reason that the FNP population focus is the most popular choice, it gives you options! If you want to learn more about what specialty is right for you, check out our list of nurse practitioner specialties.

Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC
Lauren Jacobson is a registered nurse and women’s health nurse practitioner who is passionate about global health and gender-based violence prevention. She is Editor and an Advisory Board Member for the Global Nursing Caucus and volunteers with Physicians for Human Rights as a medical evaluator for asylum seekers.