If you’ve already chosen to care for other people within the healthcare profession and have qualified as a registered nurse (RN), then perhaps you’re wondering what comes next. It’s possible to study for a master’s degree in nursing, but this is a slower process when you want to accelerate your career as quickly as possible. For that, it’s necessary to look at other educational approaches to move up within your professional nursing role.
In this article, we cover how catapulting your career from an RN to an MSN Family Nurse Practitioner is a rewarding path to take and for whom it’s most suitable for.
Breaking with Tradition
As a registered nurse, the traditional path is to consider taking a bachelor’s in nursing degree if you’ve already attained an associate’s degree. If you have already completed your bachelors, then a master’s in nursing is naturally expected if you wish to move up.
This path is followed frequently because:
- Nursing never stands still; it’s always in flux
- New techniques must be learned and used
- Technology and equipment change, requiring learning and implementation
- Medical rules relating to nursing get updated
Senior staff also look for ambitious nurses who wish to move up. Those that want to study for higher education to expand their capabilities are preferred and sought after over an RN with no plans to do anything greater.
Staying as an RN is Restrictive
Nursing clearly isn’t a profession where standing still is expected – or acceptable in many circles! As a result, remaining an RN without taking additional courses begins to look poor on any resume.
For career longevity, further education is necessary to remain relevant. But more than that, many of the best and most interesting nursing roles aren’t open to RNs. This is because nursing managers will to see aptitude combined with ambition, not an unwillingness to learn, improve and advance.
Going from an RN to an MSN Family Nurse Practitioner
The traditional path for a student nurse is as follows:
- Study for an associate’s degree in Nursing or Bachelor’s in Nursing
- Take board exams to qualify as a nurse
- Become a Licensed Registered Nurse in the state
- Study for a master’s degree in Nursing (once a Bachelor’s in Nursing has been attained)
The step-by-step nature of this path allows for nurses to take the long way around. Fortunately, the RN to MSN online course which takes a student from an RN to a masters, and through to becoming an FNP, is more direct and specific. It provides an RN with an opportunity to move faster towards their eventual goal to be a senior nurse in the profession.
It’s worth pointing out that a Family Nurse Practitioner is different to other types of nurses in specific ways. This is what we’ll come to next.
Family Nurse Practitioner: What is It?
A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is someone who cares for both children and adults. They typically work outside of the hospital environment in a family clinic and other healthcare facilities.
The primary role of an FNP is to provide community-based nursing support to enhance what’s available in the local area. This brings a qualified FNP into contact with community leaders and other people in the healthcare profession who work with local people, often the poorer in the area, providing care that they may not go to a hospital to receive.
An FNP treats local people in a friendly setting. The patients’ age ranges are wide. It’s not uncommon to treat more than one person in a household or a family. But they also treat people living alone and have the experience to do so. Because they tend to work in communities near where they live, people get to know them. This helps to provide care where gaining the patient’s trust is important. Commonly, a local FNP may end up treating the same person several times over the years, depending on what medical issues they have.
What Can an FNP Do?
An FNP is approved in many states, but not all of them. It is a specialist role with extended responsibilities and approvals.
If you’re interested in becoming more involved with patients, it will please you to learn some of the things an FNP can do that an RN cannot:
- Assess a patient
- Order medical tests
- Assess the findings from the medical tests
- Refer patients to specialists, as needed
- Treat the patient directly
- Issue medical prescriptions for medication
As you can tell, these are unusual actions for a nurse. An RN doesn’t have it within their purview to fully medically assess a patient or write prescriptions. However, an FNP has training at the master’s level to be permitted to do so in the states where FNPs are authorized to work.
Who Is Suitable to be an MSN FNP?
If you’ve worked as an RN but find the hospital environment a bit sterile and stifling, then being able to meet patients and treat them away from a hospital will certainly have some appeal.
An FNP doesn’t only assess and treat patients; they’re also involved with providing lifestyle advice as it relates to health. Therefore, discussing the benefits of exercise to improve a patient’s overall health is within their remit. After all, they’re treating the whole health of people in the community; not only when they’re sick.
An affinity for people and wanting to make an impact locally are strong touch points for nurses studying to become an FNP. Also, getting off the A&E treadmill and being able to treat people who are familiar because of seeing them before is more enjoyable because of the human connection.
The earning capability for qualified Family Nurse Practitioners is significantly higher than that of an RN too. Due to attaining a master’s degree on the way to becoming an FNP, salaries can often reach close to or above six-figures which is very unlikely when not moving up – it depends on which state you choose to get licensed once you pass the qualifications, with some averaging higher salaries than others. However, that’s a personal choice, just like becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is too.