Five Reasons Why Registered Nurses Become Family Nurse Practitioners

In the early stages of their careers, some nurses often feel like they will never learn enough to stay afloat. As they make mistakes and find small victories, just getting control of the basics can seem overwhelming. But with time and training, their confidence blooms — turning them into skilled, focused nurses who love to care for their patients and are driven to make a difference.

It is the drive to do more that prompts many nurses to pursue a path from a Registered Nurse to Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Going beyond the hospital bedside, FNPs have greater autonomy, career growth, and personal satisfaction.

Here are five reasons why nurses choose to become FNPs.

Improved Professional Responsibility and Flexibility

Nurse practitioners (NPs) work in a variety of settings including clinics, hospitals, schools, urgent care centers, and private practices. With the skills to treat patients from onset of illness through recovery, FNPs may assess, diagnose, order tests, and even admit patients to the hospital when necessary. Providing seamless care means more positive clinical outcomes for patients and a better bottom dollar for many medical facilities as well.

Increased Job Prospects

With a looming shortage of primary care physicians on the horizon, contributions from FNPs are being encouraged. With a steadily rising job market and recognition by multiple media sources, nurse practitioner programs have been ranked among the top 10 for potential job growth according to a 2009 ranking by CNN Money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 23 percent increase in overall nursing jobs between 2008 and 2018 and steadily rising rates of NPs providing primary care.

Better Earning Potential

Nurse practitioners do make more money than RNs, and pay will vary based on the area of specialization, years of experience, and geographic location. According to the National Salary Survey, NPs reported an average salary of over $90,000 per year. In addition to pay, hard-to-fill positions are usually combined with lucrative benefit and bonus packages to entice practitioners to work in certain geographical areas.

Increased Autonomy

Nurse practitioners continue to take on greater responsibilities and have gained significant ground in the fight for patient autonomy. Seventeen states currently allow NPs to work without a supervising physician, and five other states are considering similar measures. With more than 30 million Americans set to receive health care in the near future, leaders are reassessing the value of NPs in managing this influx. This includes adopting additional licensing and a broader scope of practice.

Ability to Provide Primary and/or Preventive Care

According to the website Health, primary care nurse practitioners (those working in pediatrics, geriatrics, family medicine, gerontology, and women’s health) made up 84 percent of all NP graduates in 2012. NPs come in far ahead of sagging medical school numbers for the same field, at just 11.6 percent of their overall enrollment. Not all nurse practitioners who train in a primary care field end up working there — estimates show about 50 percent usually do — but there’s still plenty of room for providers to find their spot.

Making a difference for patients is at the center of all that FNPs do. From birth through end of life, FNPs provide care across the life span and face a bright and promising future in this ever-changing health care system. There has never been a better time to get started on your own path to FNP training. Nursing@Simmons makes it easy to train with some of the country’s leading FNPs and gain top-notch experience in an interactive, online platform. With convenient online graduate programs available, there are plenty of compelling reasons to consider progressing from a Registered Nurse to Family Nurse Practitioner and take your career to the next level.