Because family nurse practitioners are prepared to handle patient care across the lifespan under the family practice umbrella, they are qualified to work in many different healthcare environments across a diverse selection of nursing specialties.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners work primarily in physician’s offices, and also are very prominent in hospitals and outpatient care centers:
Where nurse practitioners are most often employed
|Location||Employment||Average $ per year|
|Outpatient care centers||22,630||$129,190|
|Other health practitioner's office||9,360||$108,890|
|Home health care services||6,630||$133,170|
The versatility and many skills possessed by FNPs make them indispensable resources in many different settings. FNPs have a variety of workplace options, depending on the age range of patients they treat and whether they wish to work in public or private settings. Potential workplaces could include diverse settings such as:
- Hospice care. Hospice care is for terminally ill patients. Along with general patient care, FNPs are responsible for keeping patients’ families up to date. While working in hospice care, FNPs can provide emotional support to patients and their families during the last stages of an illness as well as what they might expect.
- Home health centers. Home health centers can be an alternative to care in rehab centers. In this setting, FNPs work directly in the home of a patient. Nurses in this environment focus on assisting the patient in everyday tasks as well as other specialized treatments.
- Community health center. These centers are often found in lower-income neighborhoods. In community health centers, FNPs will treat patients who might face barriers to care, such as high costs, insurance problems or language barriers.
- Physician offices. In this fast-paced work setting, FNPs assist a physician with patient care. In select states, FNPs can see patients without physician oversight. Since some nurse practitioners are able to work autonomously in some states, they have been able to fill the nursing gap, especially in rural areas.
- Private practices. Although it is only available in certain states, private practice is ideal for some nurses. You work with a limited number of patients and build familiarity with them and their treatment plans. Depending on the state, FNPs can act as the primary caregiver and prescribe medications.
- School clinics. FNPs that work in primary schools or universities are responsible for providing care to any students that feel ill or require other medical assistance. Primary schools typically offer only basic medical care and first aid, while college health centers will offer more specialized treatments including pharmaceutical facilities, pregnancy tests and even counseling services.
- Emergency rooms. FNPs can become certified to work in emergency rooms and urgent care settings although this is less common. In these settings, the can help assess a patient’s condition, perform wound care and begin to prescribe treatments, tests or basic medications.
Additionally, FNPs might also find positions in places like:
- Family practice
- Primary care
- Public health
- Acute care
- Veterans administration
- Women’s health
The “family” difference – FNP vs. NP
The difference between a family nurse practitioner (FNP) and nurse practitioner (NP) is in the word “family.” FNP’s specialize in family medicine and NP’s may specialize in one of several different medical areas; usually in a specific age range such as pediatric, adult or geriatric care. Becoming an FNP qualifies you across the spectrum of family care, making you highly valuable in a wider variety of different medical institutions.
Your career begins with your education
Your first step to becoming a family nurse practitioner is earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). There are many potential FNP programs for nurses at different points in their careers. Registered nurses can begin to earn an FNP degree in as few as 20 months!
Herzing University’s goal is to help you advance in your career, become possible and realize your dreams. We’re with you every step of the way.