The role of an FNP, or a Family Nurse Practitioner, is one of the most lucrative professions. Recently, close to 65% of nurse practitioners have become certified as FNPs. Additionally, the demand for these nursing professionals has gone up due to demographic shifts and fluctuations in the healthcare domain.
Simply put, family nurse practitioners act as primary care providers for patients throughout their lifespan. Patients and their families build strong connections in the process. Through holistic care, FNPs treat injuries and ailments, promote better health, and educate patients and their respective families.
FNPs possess the qualifications to provide similar services as physicians. They might work under the guidance of a physician or autonomously, depending on state regulations. They have the necessary training to work in various outpatient settings, such as retail health clinics, primary care, outpatient specialty care, and public health clinics.
The AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners) has been keeping track of numerous research studies and has uncovered interesting findings about this profession. The AANP mentions that nurse practitioner care in the United States is comparable to physician care, with no remarkable differences in the results.
In this article, we will discuss how FNPs are essential in the healthcare domain and are leading the way to better patient care.
The Relevance of FNPs in Healthcare Segment
Angela Barco, an FNP, states that these nurses play a crucial role in improving patient outcomes and the overall healthcare landscape, whether it’s treating a bodily infection or developing a strategic plan. Here are a few reasons why they are gaining prominence now:
FNPs Make Primary Care Available to Underserved Communities
Recently, there have been labor shortages in the American healthcare system. One crucial concern is the absence of trained primary caregivers.
In 2021, the ‘Association of American Medical Colleges’ projected that by 2034, the country would face an absence of almost 48,000 primary caregivers. This shortage could be due to the increasing rate of physicians’ retirement and reduced pay packages for physicians providing primary care.
As a result of this trend, medical students are increasingly opting for specialty practices. Currently, FNPs are filling the vast gap between provider supply and patient demand. The same situation occurred after the enforcement of the 1965 Medicare Act. This is mostly true for rural areas where physicians providing primary care might not be available.
According to a few past studies, the expansion of primary care provided by FNPs has surpassed physician growth in rural, metropolitan, and urban settings. It suggests that FNPs are committed to improving their nursing careers and enhancing patient care quality.
FNPs Have the Required Training and Know-How
To work as an FNP, having an RN (registered nurse) license is mandatory. Therefore, it is needless to say that FNPs have higher education, in-depth clinical training, and more autonomy compared to a basic RN.
Registered nurses can grow their skills and expand their working scope by opting for an online post-master’s FNP certificate program. It allows candidates to have higher flexibility in their work area, increased opportunities to work within a traditional schedule, and better personal fulfillment.
Rockhurst University reports that prominent institutions provide online FNP courses that equip nurses with skills to address the comprehensive needs of individuals through a rigorous academic program.
These courses help nurses gain diverse and rich clinical experience and develop the capacity to reflect on their learnings and make necessary inquiries. Such online education programs provide 100% online coursework and facilitate complete clinical placements.
Patients Treated by FNPs Stay in the Hospital for a Shorter Time
Several studies reveal that patients treated by an FNP experience a shorter duration in hospital compared to patients treated by physicians. Since FNPs have a stronger rapport with most patients, it is possible for them to influence patients to adhere to the treatment modality and other care regimens to ensure good health.
Patients often dread staying in the hospital for an extended period. Hence, when an FNP is on duty, they ensure that the patient receives precise treatment and shows signs of a fast recovery. This automatically reduces the duration of the hospital stay and establishes the efficiency of the FNP.
FNPs Provide High-End Care at a Reduced Price
With fewer readmissions, hospital stays for a shorter duration, and limited ER admissions, the FNPs bring down the medical cost by reducing inpatient care. Some studies revealed that the care that FNPs provided in specific managed care locations reduced the cost by 23% compared to the average cost of primary care.
The ‘Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research’ came up with an interesting finding based on a comparison of hospitals with the fewest and most NPs. They found that hospitals equipped with an increased number of NPs led to reduced Medicare expenses per beneficiary.
Angela Barco asserts that FNPs have the potential to reshape the future of healthcare simply by leveraging their experience to advocate for both providers and patients. From reducing wait times to improving access to prescription drugs and everything in between, these professionals also engage with health policy at every level.
Within the healthcare domain, FNPs effectively treat numerous patients and utilize their personal experiences to influence legislation, thereby making a positive impact on the healthcare sector.
Furthermore, in a Forbes news article dated May 2023, it was highlighted that FNPs have promising career prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that nurse practitioners will witness a 46% increase in employment opportunities by 2031. Therefore, it makes sense for aspiring medical students who wish to become FNPs to enroll in specialized courses and receive tailored training accordingly.
The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.