family nurse practitioner

Being a healthcare worker has proven to be one of the most challenging, exhausting, yet rewarding jobs that have existed in the last couple of years. The recognition people working in the healthcare system have finally received only goes to further prove how important and fulfilling a job like this could be in your life.

Nurses, especially, have been for years missing out on the respect and credit that should be awarded to them for the multitude of tasks they do and the knowledge they must have to be successful in their roles. As a nurse, you’ll have to be prepared for anything as you’re more frequently than not the first connection a patient has with healthcare, so nurses not only have to look after patients but also know how to communicate and interact with people easily.

Working in healthcare is definitely not for everyone. You have to be dedicated to your studies for many years, and once that’s finally done, you still have to prove yourself and constantly keep developing and improving your soft skills as well. Yes, healthcare workers can make a significant impact on people’s lives and their health, but their job goes beyond textbooks, and they’re continuously challenged at work.

Why should you work as a nurse instead of other professions in the healthcare industry? Nurses truly encompass more than just the information you must learn at school to get your degree. If you’re someone who is compassionate and kind towards others, you love to help people find relief and support them, and you are passionate about improving people’s lives, then a career in medicine and healthcare, but more specifically in nursing, is a good fit for you.

You will be in charge of taking care of patients, from welcoming them and listening to their issues to helping them to find the right treatment. So, why is a career as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) an impactful one? Why become a nurse practitioner? As a specialized FNP, you will focus on promoting health and educating your patients, who can be from all different age groups and social backgrounds, therefore being able to make a huge impact on communities that wouldn’t be given the health information they require to live a healthy and happy life.

What Can I Do to Begin My Journey as a Family Nurse Practitioner?

It will be a long journey. Beginning a career as a family nurse practitioner does not come without its difficulties and hoops to jump through. However, if you’re truly considering it, you should be aware of what it will take to begin your career. Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide that will explain what you need to do to have this career and start making an impact on people’s lives as an FNP.


To enter the healthcare industry, you must go to college first. As a nurse, you are obliged to learn certain subjects and to have the knowledge in medicine that will allow you to practice professionally.

Before considering getting a specialization in family care, you need to go to school to become a nurse. A nursing degree can take about four years to complete at a college or university, so you know you’ll have to dedicate a lot of your time to be successful and study hard. You can also study for only two years and obtain an associate degree in nursing. However, you should choose the option that is right for you and for what purposes you need that degree.

Some programs are accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing or even the National League for Nursing, which are both relevant distinctions in the industry, so if this is important to you, make sure you choose a degree that includes this accreditation.

An Important Exam: Nclex-rn

Once you’ve graduated with your degree in nursing, you need to get licensed as an RN (registered nurse). Getting licensed takes some more effort and dedication since you have to take and pass the registered nurse licensing exam. This exam, titled National Council Licensure Examination, will be of extreme value to you as a nurse. It may take some more sweat to get it, but it’s a huge asset, and you will be able to practice in the United States and Canada.

Get Some Rn Experience

Unfortunately, if you thought this would be a quick lane into family care, it does not work quite like that. Once you pass the NCLEX, you have to start working as a registered nurse to get experience.

This may mean it’ll take you a little longer to get into family nurse practice; however, that time is invaluable experience that you’ll gain firsthand, and you will learn how to handle a multitude of patients with different diseases and problems. You may think of this as just a longer route to get where you want to be, but consider it as exposure to the healthcare industry. You can be guided and helped in those first months and even years, and the amount of knowledge and experience you’ll get from it is immense.

You will be obliged to have at least one year of experience to be accepted into a program in family care. However, most nurses decide to gain clinical experience for a few years before making that change. It’s up to you how long you decide to work and get professional experience, but just remember that what makes a great family nurse practitioner is how able they are to care for patients, so a lot of clinical experience definitely won’t hurt.

Get Certified in Fnp

Most master’s and doctorate degrees will accept your application after a couple of years working as a registered nurse. To become a family nurse practitioner, you must obtain a master’s degree or a doctorate degree, which are available at many colleges and universities.

Some courses offer part-time programs so that you can continue working while going back to school. There are also opportunities to get your degree online, which provides the flexibility you’re probably going to need if you keep working as an RN. Most of these programs will still offer in-person clinicals, so the practical experience is not lost. One other advantage of these online degrees is that you decide which facility you want to do your in-person clinical at. This way, you can stay local and not have to move, which wouldn’t be a possibility either way if you want to continue working while getting your degree.

The coursework in a master’s or doctorate degree in family care analyzes different fields of healthcare, but mainly those across the life cycle, diagnosis, and primary care. The modules will focus on the different tasks you’ll have as an FNP, preparing you fully for that new role.

Once you graduate with your master’s or doctorate degree, you have to get certified in family practice. Just like getting licensed as a registered nurse, this certification exam is what will allow you to practice in family care, so it is a must if you want to have a career as a family nurse practitioner.

These exams require you to have an active RN license, an accredited master’s or doctoral degree specializing in family care, and 500+ clinical hours. If you meet all the requirements, then you may pass the FNP-C certification or the FNP-BC certification – find out which one is preferred by your state board of nursing beforehand, so you can avoid issues later on.

Find a New Job!

Find a new job

With your brand-new degree and certification, you can now find a new role as a family nurse practitioner. FNPs can work in any healthcare facility; you can choose whichever place is the most practical for you or the one you prefer working at.

You can work in a clinic, hospital, doctor’s offices, community centers, outpatient clinics, telemedicine, and even independently in certain states. The facility you choose could also impact what type of work you will mostly do, so keep these in mind when applying for different places.

In a clinic, you will probably work with your patients, treating them and diagnosing them. In a hospital, the role of an FNP is not always needed as hospitals don’t really require lifespan care. However, you may be hired specifically for acute care. In a doctor’s office, you will help the doctor and see patients; you’re probably going to be the first contact the patients have. In a community center, your role will probably be more of an educator and teacher on all things health. In an outpatient clinic, you will care for patients and offer primary care. In telemedicine, you will assess, diagnose, and educate patients probably from largely different social backgrounds. And as an independent, you have the freedom to work with families and help them through care and education; it might be a more challenging position, but you can really have a say in your career.

Renewing Certifications

You will have to get certified again every few years as a family nurse practitioner, but also keep your registered nurse license active. You’ll need to be aware of your state’s requirements and be prepared to deal with licensing and certifications every five years. Furthermore, you will probably also have to pay fees for these, so keep that in mind.
The renewal of a certification in healthcare is there to protect patients, so even though this will take up some of your time every few years, it is a necessary rule to keep everyone safe. Just add it to your calendar before your license and certificate expire and schedule it. It’ll be done and taken care of before you realize it, and then you can relax for about another five years.

Start Your Impactful Career as an Fnp

Whether it’s because you are a great communicator or due to the compassion and empathy you will show your patients, making an impact throughout your career as an FNP will more likely happen.

Because you’ll be accompanying people from an early age to an elderly age, you will be able to prevent diseases or help your patients find greater comfort when dealing with difficult and chronic diseases. You’ll be their first contact to seek help and support, and you will, undoubtedly, make a huge impact on their lives. You will have the chance to educate young children on matters of health and nutrition and also help their parents take charge of their own health.

You will have the knowledge and skills to make an impact on your community’s lives, all by being present. The career of an FNP is rewarding on many levels, but seeing your impact every single day is probably high on the list of why FNPs feel a lot more satisfied in their careers.

So, the bottom line is, if you’re a strong communicator, enjoy developing long-term relationships with your patients, are organized and structured in your work, don’t mind teaching people about health concerns, and you’re multifaceted, then your career as an FNP is guaranteed to make an impact.

In the end, becoming an FNP requires a lot of hard work and sweat, and this is not a path or role for everyone. You require certain core competencies and personal characteristics that won’t automatically translate into being compatible with that of the job of an FNP.
It’s years before you’ll see your certification, and the administrative work that is involved in getting licenses and certifications can demotivate anyone.

But if you’re truly passionate about seeing your patients throughout their life and helping them to make better health decisions, and want to work closely with them and their families, then the work it’ll take you will be rewarded when you start seeing the impact your role will have on their lives.

Consider the advantages you will get as an FNP, and if you still find the role attractive after reading the steps it will take to get you in front of your state board to get certified, then go for it! The world needs more people like you, and your impact as a family nurse practitioner will be greater.


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