There are endless online searches for “family nurse practitioner”– even “FNP” – wanting to find out the who, what, where, and how of the role. Acronyms have proliferated!
Have you recently searched for a provider on your insurance policy network or gone to a medical clinic website to find care – and been overwhelmed by the variety of letters behind the providers’ names? D.O., N.P., FNP, R.N., PA… Whatever happened to plain old M.D.?
It wasn’t that long ago that you went to the doctor or clinic in your neighborhood or town, and that was that. Things have changed a lot since then. In some ways, for the worse and other ways for the better. Hence those new searches to discover what’s what – or who’s who!
One of the better ways that our healthcare system has changed is that you can now receive high-quality care from an FNP on par with that of an M.D. or PCP. In fact, working with an FNP can be an even better experience all the way around than working with many an M.D., D.O., PCPS, or P.A. out there.
So what is an FNP and why would you want to work with one to support you in living your best life? Let’s find out.
Let’s Start With the NP of the FNP: Nurse Practitioner
This term may be new to you, but the nurse practitioner profession dates all the way back to the 1890s when visiting nurses traveled to rural communities that lacked medical care.
In 1965, the term nurse practitioner was formalized when the U.S. government expanded Medicare and Medicaid coverage to include low-income women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. At that time, there were not enough physicians to meet the needs of the population. The shortage spawned a new type of nurse, the nurse practitioner.
The original role of the nurse practitioner was to “bridge the gap between healthcare needs of children and families’ ability to access and afford primary healthcare.” Today, there are more than 290,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the United States. Around 65% of them are certified in family care as family nurse practitioners.
You can find them in private practices, retail clinics, urgent care centers, hospitals, and schools.
Now Let’s Add the F to the NP: Family Nurse Practitioner
Most nurse practitioners work in a particular area of health care or with a specific population. Family nurse practitioners, on the other hand, take their training in Family Medicine, which allows them to treat people of all ages and genders.
Unfortunately, many people believe that they have to go to a doctor or primary care physician to get good preventative or primary care. This is simply not true. Family Nurse Practitioners have the skills, training, and compassion to treat your whole family.
Rest Assured: You’re in Good Hands With an FNP
A nurse practitioner holds a master’s or doctorate in nursing and has completed clinical training beyond that required to become a registered nurse.
They must undergo rigorous national certification and maintain competency through continuing education.
To become a family nurse practitioner, a nurse practitioner must go one step further and specialize in family health care, focusing on health care services that revolve around the family unit. As a result, they can treat whole families or a person for an entire lifespan.
Family Nurse Practitioners are equipped to care for patients of all ages and to practice across these specialties:
- Psychiatric/Mental Health
- Women’s Health
In addition, Family Nurse Practitioners have to take courses and do clinical fieldwork that goes beyond treating illness. They dig deep to understand the range of factors that can affect a person’s health and wellbeing.
They are thoroughly trained in essential competencies and advanced topics such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, patient assessments, treatment methods, and applied research.
Like primary care physicians, Family Nurse Practitioners provide
- disease management
- health education
- preventive health care services
They can also
- Manage chronic health conditions.
- Treat minor acute injuries and illnesses.
- Conduct health assessments, take family histories, and perform physical examinations.
- Oversee women’s health requirements, including contraception, preconception, and prenatal care.
- Prescribe certain medications
- Provide immunizations.
If you’re invested in living well the one life you’ve got, a family nurse practitioner would be a good fit for your care. Still on the fence?
Top 11 Reasons to Choose a Family Nurse Practitioner for Your Care
1 Family Nurse Practitioners provide counseling and patient education as part of their patient’s primary care.
2 They consider factors like your lifestyle and your physical and mental wellbeing when determining the type of care you need.
3 Family Nurse Practitioners provide care for the whole person rather than focusing on one or two health concerns.
4 They provide the same services as primary care physicians, but they’re more accessible.
5 AANP research shows patients of FNPs have fewer visits to the E.R. and shorter hospital stays.
6 Family Nurse Practitioners often have shorter wait times.
7 They offer a diverse range of services.
8 Family Nurse Practitioners seek to meet all of the needs of their local community.
9 Many Family Nurse Practitioners have hospital privileges that allow them to admit and order services for their patients.
10 Family Nurse Practitioners consult with, and are overseen by, medical doctors.
11 Family Nurse Practitioners are able to refer you to specialists when necessary.
Not only are FNPs highly trained, but they must also possess soft skills like good communication, active listening, and empathy to be successful.
You can expect a successful FNP to be:
- Great with communication skills
- Whole-patient focused
You only live once. Live well.
Are you looking for high-quality, compassionate care? Make an appointment with one of our Family Nurse Practitioners! They can do just about anything that doctors can do, including making a diagnosis, providing treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, and ordering diagnostic tests like x-rays and blood tests. Many of our FNPs are also certified in specialties like women’s health and BHRT. Get in touch with us today!