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Being a family nurse practitioner (FNP) can be a rewarding path for just about anyone who dreams of making a difference as a nurse. An FNP allows you to become a trusted primary care provider in most states and opens the door to a range of ongoing opportunities for learning and professional growth. And, if you want to do it all… or at least as much as possible, an FNP degree will give you maximum career flexibility. It can position you to create your ideal tailor-made nursing career, whether you want to work in a hospital or clinic setting—or both—while running your own business or pursuing research projects if you wish!
The heart of being an FNP, though, is of course family care… and here’s an overview of what a day in the life of an FNP entails.
Diagnosing a variety of medical conditions for patients of all ages
A family nurse practitioner can care for a wide age range of patients. An FNP may treat everyone from infants to geriatric persons, and this is just one of the reasons the job is almost always lively and interesting.
Am FNP might arrive at the clinic in the morning with or without an idea of their patient caseload on any given day. However, one thing they can count on is variety. You may start your morning with an annual physical of a 35-year-old, then pivot to managing hypertension and diabetes medications for a 71-year-old, before quickly peeking at another patient’s rash, and looking in another patient’s throat. While this may seem intimidating at first, family nurse practitioner certification ensures that you have the necessary breadth of medical acumen and will be prepared to manage whatever comes your way.
Creating treatment plans
After taking a medical history and performing a physical exam, an FNP will formulate a diagnosis for any given condition. Each day, they may use a variety of tools to arrive at their diagnoses—including cultures, blood work, imaging tests, and other medical diagnostics. After reaching a suspected or confirmed diagnosis, an FNP will work with each patient to create a treatment plan, which may include a lifestyle modification, a new medicine, a referral, or another kind of treatment.
Providing a lifetime of primary care
When family nurse practitioners serve as primary care providers, they identify and treat problems, and follow up to ensure the best possible health outcome for each patient. One of the most valuable aspects of being a family nurse practitioner is being able to follow patients throughout their lifespan, anticipating and addressing conditions across decades, and providing patient education.
Preparing for the Next Day
At the end of the day, an FNP may spend time reviewing messages in their electronic medical record inbox, and return phone calls from patients or pharmacies. They will need to catch up on documentation in some patient charts from earlier in the day, communicate with staff members, and make sure everyone on that patient’s team is receiving the assessments and care that they need.
Learn more about family nurse practitioner jobs at our Career Center.