Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are advanced practice nurses who specialize in providing health promotion and care to patients in primary care settings. The FNP provides primary screenings and focuses on health promotion and disease prevention across the life span. FNPs have many of the same duties as acute care practitioners, but typically do not work with patients who are critically ill. FNPs perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, establish diagnoses, prescribe medications, and educate patient and family members regarding health and illness conditions and treatment plans. Examples of settings in which an FNP might practice are physicians’ offices, health care clinics, private practice, hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health departments, and occupational health settings.
Master of Science in Nursing with advanced practice certification as an FNP is required. Programs are generally 2 years in length combining clinical and didactic work. Certification is available from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED
■ Ability to perform physical examinations
■ Ability to assess accurately when doing screenings and diagnostic tests; knowledge of normal ranges and abnormal findings
■ Strong communication skills
■ Teaching ability and interest
■ Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams as well as to function independently
■ Knowledge of acute and chronic conditions
■ Excellent judgment in knowing when to make a referral
■ Prescribing of medications
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