Across the country, family nurse practitioners are experiencing growing demand as they become essential for filling the gap created by the shortage of primary care physicians in the healthcare industry. Registered nurses can qualify as family nurse practitioners by getting a master’s degree in nursing or a specialized master’s degree designed to prepare them for this role before passing an advanced exam that allows them to practice in their state.

There are many reasons why more and more nurses are taking the leap to become family nurse practitioners, aside from the fact that it’s one of the hottest and most in-demand healthcare careers right now. Here are some of the main reasons why the family nurse practitioner role is an attractive one:

More Responsibility and Autonomy

In many states, family nurse practitioners are provided with full practice authority, meaning that they can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication to patients without the need for supervision from a doctor. As a result, family nurse practitioners will often enjoy more job autonomy. They can make an impact, whether that’s starting their independent health clinic to improve healthcare standards in their local area or improving patient convenience by managing healthcare options like retail clinics.

High Demand

The demand for this role has led many registered nurses to find an option for getting into it while they can. Nurses are already in high need around the country. Still, once you are qualified as a family nurse practitioner, you will enjoy even more demand for your services since nurse practitioners are permitted to work in both roles. It’s not uncommon to find family nurse practitioners who work business hours in their health clinic and then do agency work as a registered nurse during the evenings and weekends. 

Earning Potential

Nurses definitely deserve to be paid handsomely for the work that they do, and the good news is that the nurse practitioner salary is very generous, coming in at an average of over $100k per year with some states better than others to work in when it comes to earning potential. Coupled with the high demand and job security that comes along with being a nurse practitioner, it is no surprise that this is a popular role among ambitious nurses who want to progress and get to the top in their careers. 

Growth and Progression

Although it’s one of the most advanced nursing career roles out there, working as a nurse practitioner is not as high as you can go in this industry. As a nurse practitioner, you will need to have earned a master’s degree in nursing like TWU’s FNP degree. This will provide you with the entry requirements that are often necessary for enrolling in even more advanced programs like the doctorate of nursing practice or a Ph.D. in nursing, essential for senior-level careers like nurse education, nursing research, and more. 

Educational Options

Another reason why more and more registered nurses are deciding to take the pathway to become nurse practitioners is that getting qualified has become easier than ever. Today, online family nurse practitioner programs are the ideal choice for nurses who do not have the option to quit their job to take on years of study. Online family nurse practitioner degree programs are often highly flexible and allow nurses to fit studying around their shifts and other commitments in life, ultimately making the qualification much easier to achieve since it can be tailored to work around the individual. 

Become a Healthcare Leader

Aside from the healthcare clinic and independent practice work that a lot of family nurse practitioners will do, they are often found in a range of leadership roles in healthcare and are often seen as some of the biggest advocates for their patients. If you are interested in becoming an influential leader in healthcare and want to use your role for the good of others to improve the healthcare standards in your place of work or your overall area, becoming a nurse practitioner could be right for you. 

Continue Working With Patients

Many nurses choose this line of work because they are passionate about helping others, but sadly, the bedside work might often dry out as nurses progress through the ranks. Nurses who progress into leadership roles, for example, might be spending more time coordinating teams, dealing with administrative duties and general management compared to the time that they used to spend treating and caring for patients. However, the nurse practitioner role is different in that you will actually be offering an even higher standard of care to your patients, often responsible for diagnoses, treatments, and prescriptions. This makes it the perfect role of choice for a nurse who is interested in progression, but doesn’t want to lose that caring touch. 

Make a Difference Politically

If you are interested in making a difference to the policies in your area or state and are passionate about politics, working as a nurse practitioner could be your gateway to doing this. More and more advanced healthcare professionals are beginning to get involved with politics, with nurses and nurse practitioners at the forefront of getting huge and beneficial changes to be made such as the Affordable Care Act. As advocates for their patients, family nurse practitioners are often the healthcare professionals that are in the best position for pushing healthcare reforms and ensuring that patient care and services are improved. 

Enjoy Interesting Work

If progressing into a nursing role where you’re going to be spending more time working out of an office doesn’t feel right to you, working as a family nurse practitioner gives you the chance to hang on to the ‘no two days are the same’ environment that you enjoy in nursing. If you like the unpredictable nature and business involved in nursing that keeps you challenged and on your toes, the role of family nurse practitioner might be right for you. 

Educate Patients

Along with bridging the gap between patients and the shortage of primary care physicians, family nurse practitioners are often tasked with the huge responsibility of providing patients with counseling and education regarding taking care of their own health. In this role, you will have the chance to improve healthcare and help different people and generations live a healthier lifestyle through the advice and support that you will provide. 

Make a Difference

Many patients report higher satisfaction with a nurse practitioner as their primary caregiver compared to any other healthcare professionals. Nurse practitioners are making a huge difference, not only to their patients as individuals but also when it comes to the quality of healthcare in general. Many experts believe that since nurse practitioners are individuals who are experienced as registered nurses, their empathetic qualities, and the care that they provide for their patients shines through even more in these more advanced roles. 

Work Anywhere

As long as a nurse practitioner has passed the relevant exam for advanced nursing in a state, they will be able to find work anywhere. While registered nurses are also in high demand around the country, nurse practitioners are often in especially high demand in rural areas, especially those that might be suffering from a shortage of primary care doctors. Because of this, qualifying as a nurse practitioner means that there’s never going to be any need to worry about finding work wherever you go if you want to relocate to a different town or state in the future. Since nurse practitioners are recognized as skilled and sought-after healthcare professionals in many countries around the world, it’s also an ideal role to have if you are considering moving abroad. 

High Return on Investment

While tuition costs for training as a family nurse practitioner might not be the cheapest, there’s a high return on your investment that you can gain thanks to the high demand for these healthcare professionals and the generous salaries in many states. In addition, nurse practitioners are in a position to consider earning even more by starting their own clinic or a relevant healthcare business in the majority of states thanks to the fact that they are provided with full practice authority and do not require the supervision of a primary care physician in order to do their job. 

Nurses are in high demand, but it’s family nurse practitioners that are desperately needed to close the gap between the aging population and the decline in primary care physician numbers. If you are a registered nurse and want to progress in your career, choosing a future role as a family nurse practitioner has a number of excellent career benefits. Not only can nurse practitioners enjoy more autonomy and responsibility at work to the point of running their own practices, but they can also expect a huge boost in earnings, more work opportunities, and even further progression routes for further education.