19 Top Reasons Why You Should Become a Family Nurse Practitioner
Written By: Kasee Wiesen DNP, APRN, FNP-C
Family nurse practitioners play a significant role in healthcare. Family nurse practitioners typically provide primary and preventative care in a primary care setting—but may also work in various specialty clinics, urgent cares, and emergency departments. They provide care to all ages, including newborns to geriatrics. They assess, order, and interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose their patient and develop a treatment plan.
So now you may be asking, why become a family nurse practitioner? Below you will find 19 top reasons why you should become a family nurse practitioner.
WHY BECOME A FAMILY NURSE PRACTITIONER?
There are many reasons why it is a great time to become an FNP. Below, you will find a list of the 19 top reasons why you should become a family nurse practitioner.
REASON #1: Greater Autonomy
One of the top reasons why you should become an FNP is the greater sense of autonomy. As of October 2022, 26 states and the District of Columbia grant the nurse practitioner full practice authority
—or the ability to practice without direct supervision. While many organizations still require the NP to have a supervising physician, it allows the FNP to practice to the fullest extent of their education and degree—and even enables the FNP to open their own practice. The remaining states still have restrictions involving collaboration or supervision by another healthcare provider or physician.
REASON #2: Greater responsibility
Another reason why you should become a family nurse practitioner is the increase in responsibility. The knowledge and skills you learn throughout your family nurse practitioner program
will prepare you to have more responsibility when caring for your patients. You will now know how to thoroughly assess your patient and determine which diagnostic tests, if any, are needed—and then formulate differential diagnoses based on these findings. Once you have formed a diagnosis, you will develop an appropriate treatment plan, including appropriate education and medications when indicated. FNPs are also responsible for ensuring their patients are up to date on preventative care, including age-appropriate immunizations and cancer screenings.
REASON #3: Provide preventative and primary care
As a family nurse practitioner, you get the opportunity to provide preventative and primary care to your patients. Preventive care is achieved through screenings—examples include cancer screenings such as mammograms or DEXA scans to screen for osteoporosis. Preventative care also includes screening lab work for different problems such as high cholesterol and the administration of immunizations. Primary care includes completing preventive care but also provides treatment and management of acute and chronic illnesses. This is incredibly rewarding and allows for developing a relationship with patients.
REASON #4: Can pursue a career in a specialty field
A top reason why you should become an FNP is that you can work in various settings, not just a family practice clinic. This is a misunderstanding many people have—but FNPs can work in most specialty clinics, including cardiology, pulmonology, and infectious disease. They can also work in urgent care and some organizations, even the emergency department or as a hospitalist. The flexibility the FNP degree provides is one of the many reasons to become an FNP.
REASON #5: Higher earning potential
Another top reason why you should become a family nurse practitioner is the excellent earning potential. The average annual salary for the family nurse practitioner is $112,100. This number depends on variables such as working in a rural vs. urban community, private practice, or large organization. Years of experience as an RN and an NP will also impact your average annual salary.
REASON #6: FNP’s are in in-demand
Why should you become an FNP? Nurse practitioners, including family nurse practitioners, are in demand! This may be due to multiple reasons, including the growing and aging population. The predicted physician shortage
of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034 in primary and specialty care may also contribute to the demand for FNPs. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that advanced practice nurses will grow
by 40% between 2021 and 2031—which is exceptionally higher than many other health professions. Regardless, FNPs are in-demand, leading to excellent job security.
REASON #7: Prescriptive authority
Part of the increase in responsibility for FNPs includes the ability to prescribe medications, including antibiotics, narcotics, and medications to manage chronic diseases. In states that have granted the FNP full practice authority, the FNP can do this without direct supervision by a physician. However, physician supervision is necessary when prescribing medications in states that have not given the FNP full practice authority. Some states may also have restrictions prohibiting the NP from prescribing medications such as Fentanyl. For specific information regarding your state’s regulations on FNPs and prescriptive authority, visit your state board of nursing.
REASON #8: More management or leadership opportunities
Another reason why you should become an FNP opens the door to more management and leadership opportunities. Your leadership may be more evident in patient care as you delegate more tasks to the clinical staff. You will also be able to join more committees within your place of employment, giving you the chance to be a part of policy development and revision that directly impact patient care. You may also be able to be more involved in your state nursing organizations and advocate for positive changes for FNPs and nursing in general.
Having either a master’s or doctorate also allows for greater opportunities in management, such as becoming an office manager or even a chief nursing officer
(CNO) or a hospital or larger organization. This leads to more of an impact on the organization, policy development and revision and improvement in the delivery of patient care.
REASON #9: Great Hours
The hours of a family nurse practitioner are typically very enticing and involve daytime hours Monday through Friday. You may have an occasional evening or weekend and may even be on-call based on where you work. Your hours, though, may vary from this schedule, especially if working in a specialty clinic or within a hospital.
REASON #10: Positively impact your patient’s life
One of the top reasons why you should become a family nurse practitioner is how FNPs positively impact their patients' lives. This is done through routine visits, annual physicals, and ensuring preventative screenings are up to date, including immunizations. The FNP spends a lot of time educating on healthy lifestyles and how to reduce the risk of various diseases. They are also often the ones a patient turns to when not feeling well, allowing the FNP to help that patient feel better—which may include a short treatment plan for an acute problem or formulating a treatment plan for a newly diagnosed chronic problem. FNPs aim to improve the quality of their patients' lives—leading to a very positive impact on their lives!
REASON #11: Help patient’s set goals and achieve those goals
As an FNP, you get the opportunity to help patients set goals for their health and then assist them in achieving those goals. This may be short-term goals such as losing 2lbs in 1 month or long-term goals of good management of a chronic illness like diabetes. The FNP can assist in achieving these goals through education, prescription medications, or setting up consults with specialties when indicated.
REASON #12: Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is another reason why you should become a family nurse practitioner. The ability to form relationships with their patients allows the FNP to get to know the patient, their health history, and habits, helping improve the quality of care they provide. FNPs also have good flexibility and control over their daily schedule-- and the typical weekday and daytime clinic hours also lead to great job satisfaction. Plus, the job market is booming, and the overall growth is expected to be much higher than in other healthcare professions.
REASON #13: Can work in a variety of settings
Another reason why you should become a family nurse practitioner is being able to work in a variety of settings. FNPs typically work in a clinic environment. However, depending on which direction you choose to take with your degree, you may work in a clinic, ER, urgent care, or hospital. You may even do home visits or work from home performing telehealth visits.
REASON #14: Provide care to patients across their lifespan
One of the top reasons why you should become a family nurse practitioner is that you get to provide care to patients across their lifespans. Not many specialties in healthcare can say they care for patients two days old to patients 100 years old—and that in a single day, they may care for a person from every generation of life! This requires a broad spectrum of knowledge and confidence in skills, but it is an incredible opportunity and makes being an FNP an excellent career choice.
REASON #15: Possibility of opening your own practice
Depending on the state you practice in, you may have the opportunity to open and manage your own practice—it could be a family practice clinic or even a specialty clinic. As stated, the ability to do this depends on the NP's scope of practice, which is determined by the NP's state of residence. To manage and own your own practice, you must practice in a state that grants full practice authority for the NP—which currently includes approximately 50% of the U.S. States. If you want to view the NP scope of practice for your state of residence, click here
REASON #16: Complete your MSN or DNP while working as an RN
While pursuing your MSN or DNP to practice as an FNP, you can continue to work as an RN—making this a major reason why you should become a family nurse practitioner. In fact, many FNP students continue to work full-time or part-time while completing their degree. This may allow for more financial security while in school, needing to take out smaller student loans, and will enable you to continue expanding your knowledge and skills while at work.
REASON #17: Family medicine will continue to challenge you
One of the many reasons people pursue a career in healthcare is their passion for learning and challenging themselves—leading to professional development. Working as a family nurse practitioner will challenge you many times throughout your career—and it may even occur daily, weekly, or monthly. These challenges may include encountering a unique presentation of an illness, an unexplained abnormal lab value, or even the dynamic with a family. This is not a negative point, but rather very positive in that it will help you grow professionally and improve overall care.
REASON #18: Job Security
There is excellent job security with becoming a family nurse practitioner because this specialty will always be needed in medicine—making this one of the top reasons why you should become a family nurse practitioner. The FNP cares for patients throughout their entire lifespan, demonstrating their need to care for both the growing and aging populations. This, accompanied by the predicted physician shortage
, further supports the need for FNPs as the FNP can help fill the void, especially in rural communities.
REASON #19: Great work-life balance
Working as an FNP provides an outstanding work-life balance! You will find much better flexibility with your scheduling and hours worked because you have more control over your schedule and appointments. Most FNPs also work daytime hours, few or no weekends, and may still have a day off during the weeks. While this may not be true for all FNPs based on where they work, overall, FNPs feel that they have a greater balance between work and life.
My Final Thoughts
After reading the above list of top 19 reasons to become an FNP, were you able to answer the question, why become a family nurse practitioner? Becoming an FNP is incredibly rewarding, personally and professionally, as it leads to greater responsibility, higher pay, job security, and an outstanding work-life balance. I hope you found the list of 19 top reasons why you should become a family nurse practitioner informative and helpful in determining the next step in your nursing career.
Kasee Wiesen DNP, APRN, FNP-C
Kasee Wiesen is a practicing family nurse practitioner. Her nursing background includes emergency medicine, pediatrics and peri-op. Education is a passion of Kasee’s, and she has taught BSN, RN-BSN and DNP students, and has enjoyed every moment of it!