Online family nurse practitioner programs address an ongoing challenge facing the U.S. health care system: a shortage of primary care doctors. Factors including an aging population and high doctor retirement rates could create a need for as many as 139,000 physicians by 2033, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Family nurse practitioners, or FNPs, may play a significant role in closing the gap.
An FNP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) responsible for providing assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care of patients across the lifespan. Their duties overlap significantly with those of a doctor, which means FNPs are positioned to deliver more direct patient care as the physician shortage increases. In some states, FNPs can have their own private practice while other states require them to work under the supervision of a physician; FNPs also have prescriptive authority.
Aspiring family nurse practitioners aren’t simply drawn to a specific area of care. They can work in a variety of health care settings, however those who choose a primary care practice are committed to forming lasting relationships with their patients and their patients' families. If you want to become an FNP, it’s likely because you recognize the benefits of providing ongoing care that’s centered around knowing your patients on a personal level and providing care that’s tailored to them.
If you want to play an integral role in health care delivery, becoming an FNP could provide you with the opportunity. Your first step is to find the right degree program.