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We’ve been profiling various nursing specialties so that you can get more information about what the job entails and what education you would need if you’d like to consider that specialty. Next up—Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

According to Miranda “Mandy” Wiggins, CRNP, an FNP with Main Street Family Care in Alabama, FNPs are responsible for patients from birth to geriatrics as well as all aspects of that care. They provide comprehensive treatment and see patients for yearly wellness visits, write prescriptions for them, order any necessary testing, and follow up to review results of testing.

In addition, Wiggins says, “We are there for them for acute illness and management of chronic medical issues.”

She admits that one of the biggest challenges in being an FNP is educating patients. Often, patients don’t understand that FNPs can provide many more services than an RN. They think that nurses and FNPs are the same position.

But there are so many more rewards to this job. “I chose to be a family practitioner so that I could impact as many demographics as possible in my practice. I enjoy providing care to patients of all ages and presentations,” says Wiggins. “I enjoy the interaction with the patients and the involvement of family members to ensure they are being given the best care in and out of the office. They will remember that you took time to give them resources and helped plan for their future needs.”

“The greatest reward is most definitely the continuity of care we are able to provide from our listening and diagnostic skills to providing follow-up care and establishing a trusting relationship with those patients. It’s very rewarding to see them improve in their plan of care and to be able to care for them over a period of years,” she says.

If you’re thinking of becoming an FNP, Wiggins says that the NP program usually takes two years to complete after earning a bachelor’s degree—if the student attends full-time. This timeframe includes a residency program and leadership/professional practice courses. Certification is also a must.

“If you love your patients and have a desire to serve, go for it!” says Wiggins.

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Michele Wojciechowski

Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.

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