Transform Your Passion for Health Into a Career: Your Guide to Becoming an FNP
A passion for health can emerge in many ways. Not only are there a variety of options that will help you live better and feel better, but you can also help others and dedicate your career to your health passion. From coaching to caring, the options are almost limitless, but some options are certainly better than others.
If you want a job that offers you a lot of job security, great pay, and the potential to do so much with your career in terms of where you work and what you do, then one of the top options is to work as a nurse. Family nurse practitioners, in particular, are an excellent role with very high pay (typically in the six figures). As an FNP, you provide holistic, preventative, and diagnostic care for those in a primary care setting. In many states, you can even start your own practice and really make a name for yourself by becoming a business owner.
The best way to dedicate your career to health is to become a healthcare practitioner. While doctors require all of their education to occur upfront and then to learn in-person through a residency program, nurses can learn and work as they go. FNPs are becoming the go-to alternative to primary care physicians, meaning that you can work in a high-powered job, manage your own practice, and customize your career to really suit you.
If you do not currently work as a nurse or aren’t sure how to manage your next career step within nursing, use this guide to help you become a family nurse practitioner.
What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
A family nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who holds at least an MSN but can even hold a doctorate degree. They provide primary care, diagnostics, and testing for patients of all ages. When there is something wrong, patients often go to their primary care providers to learn more, and it is the job of the FNP to understand conditions and, if it is outside of their ability to help, be able to refer their patients to specialists who can help.
The role has been around since the 1960s, and today there are over 200,000 nurse practitioners in the United States today. As time goes on, greater emphasis on higher education (a doctorate in nursing practice) and greater privileges are sure to be provided to FNPs everywhere.
The reason why FNP is the ultimate career path for those who are passionate and excited about health is that FNPs are the ones who provide the broadest help to the greatest number of people. If you want to help others live better and feel better, there is no better choice than to become a family nurse practitioner.
Why is a Family Nurse Practitioner the Perfect Choice?
Every nurse works with health. Every nurse provides care to patients either directly or indirectly. Family nurse practitioners, however, do something that is unique amongst the various nursing roles – they care for people of all ages and diagnose, treat, and manage a wide variety of different issues. The primary care physician is the go-to destination for check-ups and to ask questions. They send for tests and will either provide you with a treatment plan or send you to a specialist.
The family nurse practitioner is the nursing equivalent to the primary care physician. In many states, they even have full practice authority, meaning that they can treat, send tests, diagnose, and even prescribe medication without having the supervision of a physician breathing down their neck. States with regulated authority privileges often only require prescriptions to be signed off by a physician, whereas those states with restricted access require total supervision over FNP nurses.
How to Become an FNP
To become an FNP, you will need to enroll and then graduate from a quality MSN-FNP program. You will need to learn more about what you need to enroll for each specific program, but do note that you will typically need to have graduated from an accredited BSN and also typically need to have worked as an RN for so long.
Some programs even require you to specifically work in a certain location, so always check what the requirements are, and don’t be afraid to get in touch to ask how you can put together an even more compelling application.
To become a midwife, for example, not only will you need to be an RN and work a certain period of time, but you will also need to work underneath a midwife or neonatal NP in a mother-baby unit before you can enroll.
It is often more straightforward for family nurse practitioners, though that doesn’t mean you should ever blanket apply to every FNP program you can. Customizing and crafting your application is your best bet to stand out and get in.
How to Juggle Education with Work
At least one portion of your education will be completed on a part-time basis while you continue to work. If you are getting started with your second career, it could start right off the bat, or you may only try your hand at juggling work and study when you get to your MSN. Regardless of what experience you have had so far, mastering your routine and improving how you learn is going to be essential.
To be a successful healthcare professional, you not only need to remember large collections of information and know how to research the ones you don’t remember or don’t know, but you also need to commit to lifelong learning.
The very same strategies that you would use to help you succeed in juggling your career, as well as your MSN, can help you better manage your work/life balance later on, so use these tips to help you succeed:
Choosing the Right Degree
When it comes to your MSN, you will typically be looking for part-time options. These options are ideal as they will allow you to continue to work as an RN. It may seem odd to continue to work while studying, especially if you committed to your BSN in a full-time capacity, but this can open up many great opportunities for you regarding your career.
Not only can it ensure you stay networking, but you can also put a lot of what you learn to use or to the test, even if you are not licensed to actually provide that help just yet. If you are on a tight budget, then working while continuing your education can also be just the ticket to help you offset the costs and can help you better support yourself and your family (on top of your loan).
If you are struggling for money, you absolutely need to get in touch to learn what financial options are available to you. Nursing programs in particular often offer great financial aid, simply because the demand for nurses in society is so great.
Set Up Your Home Office
When you study part-time online, you will typically be working from home. A good way to stay productive and to comfortably learn at home is to set up an office. This office can be as small as a little desk in your living room, or it can be as large as transforming a spare room.
To get the most out of your home office, you will want it to have spacious surface space so that you can easily spread out all of your different books and other learning materials. You will also want to choose a brightly lit location, and also one that has natural life-like plants to help you stay calm and feel better.
Have a Few Out-of-Office Workplaces
Spicing things up by changing locations every once in a while can do so much good for your productivity and your motivation. Scope out cafes that allow for people to work on their computers and study, find outdoor public spaces like a picnic bench, and, of course, look into libraries and even co-working spaces. Of all these options, only the co-working spaces have a big cost attached to them. Working outside or in a library is free, and working in a café is as cheap as ordering yourself a coffee and maybe a lunch.
Rely on Your Peers
When it comes to helping you learn better while also taking responsibility off of your shoulders, know that your peers are the perfect people to go to. Start a study group, share notes, and simply have a chat with people who are going through the same program and the same struggles that you are. Having a group who understands who you can vent to can be so freeing. Think of them as your support group and a way to make it easier to study and learn.
Use the Available Tools and Resources
Your university should have a wealth of tools and resources. From student advisors to career coaches to even mental health services. These should be available to both in-person and online students, especially if the service in question can be offered without having to meet face-to-face.
Make it Easier to Eat Well
Brain food makes a huge difference, and if you struggle to eat well and get those essential nutrients and vitamins, then there are a few ways you can successfully cut corners. The first is to use a meal plan system. This system provides you with either everything you need to make dinner without having to make do or run to the grocery store. There are even frozen meal options that are healthier than anything you have found in the store. If you have the time and energy on a day off, try prepping meals for yourself. Most of all, however, switching out your snacks for ones that provide that natural energy is going to be just the ticket to keep you going.
Get Better Rest Every Night
A good night’s rest can help you better regulate your stress and can also improve your memory. The brain resets and heals while also absorbing and transforming those short-term memories into long-term memories, so you need to sleep well throughout your part-time education.
To get a better night’s rest, you are going to want to look at both the environment and also your routine. If you can sleep at the same time, for the same time, every night, your body’s natural rhythms will get with the program. On top of that, upgrading your mattress, sheets, and even room temperature and lighting can also make a big difference in the quality of your sleep.
Care for Your Mental Health
Nurses regularly deal with compassion fatigue and chronic stress. If you find that you are burning out or have too much on your plate, then taking time off and also seeking out your support system is a must. Part of this support system should include professional help and guidance. To get this professional care, go through your work.
Remember: Listen to Your Heart
Everyone has at least one thing that makes their heart jump for joy. If yours is your passion for health, then you owe it to yourself to get started in a thriving career. Though working as a family nurse practitioner is highly recommended, and also only just one option of many. In order to be a better FNP, you owe it to yourself and your potential patients to explore your options and to come back to nursing because you love it and it is how you feel fulfilled and excited.
Nursing is a true vocation, but unlike many other vocations, it is also a great option when it comes to your wage and benefits. You can truly customize your career as a nurse, and if you love nursing but aren’t thrilled with the direction it is taking you, you can always change pace and recertify in a new field with an MSN or alternatively with a post-graduate certificate.
The world is full of opportunities for those who have a passion for help and a talent for caring. If nursing is the right path for you, get started today, and remember: slow and steady is the key to success.