Friday, June 9

What is a family nurse practitioner?

A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is a specialized nursing role at the forefront of nursing in healthcare, with advanced education and certification. FNPs are an integral part of the healthcare system and provide advanced healthcare services for patients of all ages, races or ethnicities. FNPs play many diverse roles and have responsibilities to the patients under their care and provide family-focused nursing care. The healthcare services provided by FNPs are multifaceted, from sickness to injuries or simply age-related but are always patient centric.

The roles of a family nurse practitioner are diverse and greatly flexible since they offer care to patients across lifespans. The primary difference between the family nurse practitioner and other healthcare service providers is the approach the FNP uses. The FNP provides family-centered medical care. With family in focus, the family values, cultural norms and personal needs of family members are given greater consideration.

A registered Nursing Practitioner (NP) must acquire a master’s level education, training and advanced knowledge in nursing practice. TWU nursing online programs can help non-nursing students enter the holistic profession of patient care. After the master’s education, there is a certification by the appropriate authority to become an FNP. For people who have chosen the noble profession of nursing, FNP provides career advancement options.

Their roles, duties and responsibilities involve a broad spectrum of services.

Roles of family nurse practitioners


FNPs play many diverse roles and have multiple responsibilities to the patients under their care.

Patient care

  • FNPs provide primary healthcare services with an emphasis on preventive care, including immunization, shots, screening tests, etc. for individuals and families. They take care of patients ranging from infants to the elderly and for every age in between, in the family.
  • They educate their patients on preventive methods, general health, hygiene, wellness, healthy nutrition and exercises for developing healthy lifestyles to promote health and prevent disease.
  • An FNP may act as a primary care point of contact for patients (especially in underserved or rural settings).

A family nurse practitioner can also act as a ‘first level of information source’ for patients by providing information about healthcare, basic level of counseling and even preventive care to lower the number of repeated visits to the doctors.

Testing and treatments

  • Family nurse practitioners perform routine physical examinations, study and assess patient symptoms and diagnose health conditions, develop and administer treatment plans for acute and chronic illnesses and prescribe and dispense medications and other treatments. Tracking symptom changes and treatment responses are also in their domain.
  • These practitioners can order pathological and other diagnostic tests, interpret the reports to determine the cause(s) and diagnose health issues.
  • Their role includes recording and maintaining patients’ health and medical histories, symptoms, treatments and medications.

Physician support

  • FNPs provide a second line of medical care. They assist doctors in treating their patients, dressing, giving doctors prescribed medication, and can perform or assisting in minor procedures or performing some of the doctor’s roles.
  • FNPs may perform procedures ranging from sutures, staples and nerve blocks to incisions and drainage for wound care.
  • A family nurse practitioner can liaise between the patients and physicians. They can also help offer support to the physicians when it comes to documentation and small procedures.

Various other roles

A family nurse practitioner may refer patients to physicians or other experts whenever appropriate.

The healthcare powers of an FNP vary by country/state. FNPs can work independently with authority provided by certification, as well as are able to collaborate with medical professionals and all others in the healthcare team.

FNPs with specializations, including pediatrics, psychiatric mental health and women’s health, can diagnose specific health conditions. They have a medical knowledge base that allows them to treat patients of all ages. Their primary focus is developing treatment and care plans for patients from childhood through adulthood. Family nurse practitioners manage and oversee prescribed patient care and communicate with families.

These practitioners may work in clinics and physicians’ offices or establish their own clinics. The role of a family nurse practitioner is very similar to that of a primary healthcare physician. FNPs may work independently as well as collaborate with other healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, healthcare administrators and more.

A family nurse practitioner delivers family or person-focused nursing care that includes physical examination of the sick, wellness checks, screening symptoms, getting diagnostic tests, examination and diagnosis of conditions of family members and administering preliminary treatment. That is, the healthcare services that a family nurse practitioner provides are multifaceted, from sickness to injuries or simply age-related and are always patient centric.