Family Nurse Practitioner Career


Nurses provide essential direct and indirect medical and health care to patients. Nurses are part of the medical team and provide vital assistance to senior physicians. A nurse deals with all kinds of stake holders such as patients, staff, physicians, surgeons and so on. They are also able to provide clinical and administrative value to the system.

A family nurse practitioner is a qualified nurse who is able to provide direct health care and support to families. A family nurse practitioner (FPN) may have the skills, qualifications and expertise of a registered nurse (RN) but specializes is giving medical care, consultation and similar services to family units.

If you wish to provide medical support and health care provider to families then you should consider becoming a family nurse practitioner. It will allow you to develop families and provide them with essential healthcare support and special treatment that ensures their health.

Education Requirements

As with any career in the medical industry, education is given the utmost priority. Academic qualifications and standards must be met as this potentially guarantees a minimum standard of acceptable practices and norms.

To become a family nurse practitioner, you must successfully complete nursing degree programs which will give you the necessary academic exposure and training to enter the field of nursing. The first step is to become a Registered Nurse after completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). In order to be permitted to practice nursing, you will need to pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing licensure exam (

Though academic requirements and qualifications vary from state to state, a Master’s of Science in Nursing or even a Doctor of Nursing practice should be your benchmark qualification. A master’s of science can take anywhere between a period of 1 to 3 years.

During your academic journey, you may come across a number of exciting and relevant courses such as family health management, pathophysiology, critical issue management, advanced family nursing practices, nursing informatics, nursing research methodology, and so on. The aforementioned courses may be available at the master’s level.

Family nursing practitioner certification is provided by the American Nurses Credentialing Center ( Details such as exam schedules, course content, study materials, and so on can be noted by visiting the website listed.

Job Duties

The job duties of a family nurse practitioner vary depending on the size of the hospital, scope of practice and level of qualification. Some job duties however, are common to all family nurse practitioners. Use this list as a general reference for what you are likely to expect during the beginning of your career. As your level of experience increases, your job duties may change accordingly.

  1. Record the patient’s medical history and symptoms upon meeting them. This must be accurately documented and filed
  2. Run preliminary and diagnostic tests on patients to determine their illnesses or diseases. This diagnosis will set up the physician’s a course of corrective action
  3. Use medical equipment to take and record a patient’s vitals and other readings
  4. Consult with doctors, senior physicians and surgeons regarding cases
  5. Educate patients and their families on how to manage and cope with all kinds of medical conditions
  6. Provide mental and emotional support to patients and their families to deal with treatment or loss
  7. Thoroughly explain to patients and families on how to handle or administer treatment at home
  8. Facilitate the patient and family decision making with the use of educational aid and tools
  9. Ensure the hygiene and cleanliness of medical equipment in the facility
  10. Conduct follow ups with families to ensure that the treatment and preventive measures are being followed

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the employment for nurses is expected to increase by 26% over the period of 2010 to 2020. Well educated and highly qualified nurses such as family nurse practitioners are likely to be in demand due to their wide skillset and focus on family health.

Private and public practices are always on the look-out for qualified family nurse practitioners as they add value to the medical team. Outpatient care centers usually enlist the help and service of family nurse practitioners as it becomes important for nurses to visit families to ensure proper care and treatment are being exercised.

Salary Prospects

It is estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( in May 2012 that the average hourly wage for nurse practitioners was $43.97 which translates to about $89,960 on an average annually. This is a career where growth, expansion and earnings are determined by the level of experience you possess and the number of cases you have worked on. The salaries for nurse practitioners can range anywhere from as low as $64,100 to as high as $120,500 annually.

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