After becoming a registered nurse, you do not have to stagnate in your career. You can always choose to complete additional studies and specialize in family practice. In fact, now is the best time to enroll in an MSN-FNP program as there is a huge demand for nurse practitioners. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that demand for nurse practitioners will have a growth rate of 46% between 2021 and 2031.
There are many reasons why the demand for nurse practitioners is high in the US. One of the main reasons is that the US is facing a shortage of physicians. In many states, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) can provide the same healthcare services as physicians. They can diagnose health conditions, order and interpret diagnostic tests, create treatment plans, prescribe medication and monitor patients closely. This means nurse practitioners can provide the same patient care that doctors provide, and in some cases, patient outcomes are better. This improved access to healthcare helps to minimize hospitalizations and ensure higher patient satisfaction.
Your interest in becoming a family nurse practitioner will reap rich dividends after you complete your master’s degree. You will also find that there are numerous career paths you can choose between, depending on your interests and career goals. Above all, you will be able to have a positive impact on the health and wellness of your patients. Some of the career path options include:
Some family nurse practitioners (FNPs) have an entrepreneurial spirit, so they prefer to open their own private practice. When you practice on your own, you can provide a broad range of services to patients. As a private nurse practitioner, you can establish your own hours, set fees and work with patients to develop a personalized care plan. This career path allows you to build a strong rapport with your patients and become a part of the local community. Private practice gives you the flexibility to offer specialized services to patients and work on their terms.
FNPs can work in a variety of hospital settings, such as ERs, intensive care units and medical-surgical units. When you work in a hospital, you may also provide primary care services. In hospitals, FNPs work alongside doctors and in multidisciplinary teams to provide patient-centered care. It is important to note that in a hospital setting, you should be prepared to handle acute and complex medical situations, make quick decisions and manage critical patient care.
Urgent care clinics
These facilities provide immediate medical attention to patients who require treatment for non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses. As an FNP, you can work in these clinics to provide rapid medical attention, request diagnostic tests and imaging and prescribe medications. Urgent care clinics offer a more affordable and accessible option for patients who need immediate medical care. Usually, these settings are fast paced, challenging and rewarding.
Community health centers
Community health centers provide primary care services to underserved communities, low-income families, the uninsured and those with limited access to healthcare. As an FNP working in a community health center, you can provide comprehensive healthcare services, help patients manage chronic illnesses and provide health education and preventive care. You will be working closely with other healthcare professionals, social workers and community organizations to provide coordinated and efficient care to patients. If you want to make a positive impact on the local community’s health and wellbeing, this career path is perfect.
These facilities provide long-term care services to patients, such as the elderly, disabled, and those who have chronic illnesses, who also require around-the-clock medical attention. As an FNP, you will provide primary care services to patients, medication management, wound care and chronic illness management. Usually, FNPs work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as social workers and physical therapists. This career path requires compassion, patience and a deep understanding of the unique needs of the elderly and disabled.
Health clinics within schools provide primary care services to K-12 students. FNPs provide comprehensive health care services, including physical exams, health screenings and management of chronic illnesses. You will work closely with school administrators, teachers and parents to provide coordinated and efficient care to students. This career path requires a deep understanding of the unique health and developmental needs of children and adolescents.
This is an emerging field and has gained popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It uses technology to provide medical care and health education remotely. You can work in telehealth settings to provide virtual medical consultations, prescribe medications and offer health education services to patients. In telemedicine, you typically work closely with other healthcare professionals to reach patients living in remote or underserved areas or those with mobility issues. Telehealth enables convenient access to healthcare services and offers flexibility to FNPs, who can work from home or any other location.
If you want to do more than provide patient care, you can go into nursing research. As an FNP, you can contribute to the advancement of healthcare practices and policies. In this line of work, you may be employed by academic institutions, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies or non-profit organizations. Your job entails researching healthcare topics, such as patient outcomes, disease prevention and healthcare policies. It is important to note that this career path requires advanced training in research methods, critical thinking and data analysis. It can lead to publications, grants and professional recognition, making it a rewarding career path if you have a passion for research.
As a travel nurse, you can work in different healthcare settings and locations to provide temporary healthcare services. Travel nurses may work in short-staffed healthcare facilities as well as in rural and underserved areas and disaster relief zones. As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to gain diverse clinical experiences, travel to different locations, and make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people in various communities. However, it requires flexibility, adaptability and the willingness to work in different environments.
Public health settings
FNPs can also work in public health settings such as local or state health departments, non-profit organizations or government agencies. In public health settings, you may be responsible for promoting health education and disease prevention, conducting health screenings and providing primary care services to underserved populations.
Occupational health clinics
Occupational health clinics are another option if you are interested in working in a specialized setting. In this position, you may provide care to employees who have been injured on the job or those who require preventative care services such as vaccinations or health screenings.
Home healthcare agencies
Some FNPs may choose to work for home healthcare agencies. This allows them to provide care to patients in their homes. In this setting, FNPs can provide a range of services, from wound care to medication management and end-of-life care, depending on the needs of the patient.
Hospice and palliative care
If you are empathetic and compassionate and want to provide end-of-life care, then you should look to work in a hospice or palliative care setting after completing your master’s in family practice. Here, you can provide care to terminally ill patients to help manage their symptoms and provide emotional support to their families.
Some FNPs may choose to work in correctional facilities where they take care of inmates who have medical needs. When you work in a correctional facility, you will provide a range of services, including preventive care and management of chronic diseases.
Health insurance companies
It may come as a surprise to note that health insurance providers often hire FNPs as case managers or utilization review specialists. When you work for an insurance company, you check health policies and ensure that policyholders receive the care they need while also managing healthcare costs.
Retail clinics are often located in pharmacies or retail stores. As an FNP, you may work in one of these clinics if you are looking for a non-traditional healthcare setting. These clinics provide basic medical services, such as vaccinations, physical exams and treatment for minor illnesses.
You can even work in a military hospital or VA medical center after completing your education and licensure in family practice. In this role, you will be responsible for providing care to military personnel, veterans and their families, managing acute and chronic illnesses, and providing preventative care services.
If you are interested in working in a non-traditional setting and want to combine different elements of health and wellbeing, consider becoming a health coach. You can start your own health coaching center to offer holistic care to people. You can provide one-on-one consultation and help your patients take care of their bodies and mind.
Many organizations have onsite health centers that provide medical screening, health coaching, exercise programs and more to their employees. These employers want nurse practitioners to provide healthcare as well as preventive care and manage occupational injuries. The idea is to reduce absenteeism due to injuries and illnesses while promoting employee health and wellness. As an FNP, you are qualified to work in such a setting with relative ease.
Medical or health writer
If you love reading and writing about health-related topics and have already published articles online or in a magazine, you may want to become a health or medical writer. You can write and publish your content in nursing and research journals. As a licensed and trained FNP, it should not be that challenging to find work as a health writer. You can even consider writing a book and having it published.
As you can see, the opportunities are endless for FNPs. If you are still in the process of working towards your family nurse practitioner degree, Texas Woman’s University offers a wide range of high-quality online programs that allow you to continue to work as you study. The university also provides career support services that can guide you through how to prepare for a nurse practitioner interview but also support your search for a role that you are interested in. Before you choose a career path, you will first have to attend an interview, assuming that you want to be employed and not start your own practice.
Preparing for an interview can be nerve-wracking, but with the right approach, it can be a smooth and successful experience. Impressing the interviewer is the first step to securing your preferred job as an FNP.
Research the organization
The first thing that you should do is research the organization. This will enable you to get a thorough understanding of the company’s mission, vision and values, which will allow you to tailor your responses to the interviewer’s questions and demonstrate your alignment with the organization’s goals.
Review the job description
Read and understand the job description. This will help you identify the key responsibilities, requirements and qualifications for the job. You can then prepare examples of how your skills and experience align with the job requirements to demonstrate your suitability for the role. You can also prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the job description. This will demonstrate your interest in the job.
Practice common interview questions
When you practice answering some of the most common questions that FNPs are asked, you will feel more confident and comfortable when you have the actual interview. This will show the hiring team that you can think on your feet and articulate your thoughts clearly.
Some common interview questions for FNPs include:
- Why did you want to become a family nurse practitioner?
- Can you tell us a little bit about your clinical experience and how it relates to the position you have applied for?
- How do you prioritize patient care?
- What approach do you use to communicate with patients of different ages?
- How do you stay up to date with the latest healthcare practices and regulations?
- How do you handle challenging patients?
- How do you resolve conflicts with patients and their family members or other healthcare professionals?
Prepare your answers to behavioral questions
These questions are commonly asked when you interview as an nurse practitioner. You will likely be asked to describe how you have handled specific situations in the past so that interviewers can assess your skills and abilities based on your previous experiences.
To prepare for behavioral questions, you can use the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method. This involves describing a specific situation or task, the actions you took to address it, and the results of your actions. Some examples of behavioral questions for FNPs include:
- Can you describe a time when you had to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide coordinated care to a patient?
- Can you tell us about a time when you had to handle a difficult patient or family member?
- How have you managed a patient’s chronic condition over an extended period?
- Can you describe a situation where you had to prioritize multiple patients with different needs?
It is essential to dress professionally for your FNP job interview to make a positive impression on the hiring team. The dress code can vary depending on the organization, but it is best to wear professional attire, such as a suit or a dress with a blazer. Avoid wearing clothing that is too casual, revealing or distracting. It is also essential to ensure that your attire is clean, neat and well-fitted.
Bring relevant documents
Be sure to carry all the necessary documents when you attend an interview. It is a sign of being prepared and professional. Some of the essential documents to bring include:
- A copy of your resume and cover letter
- Your nursing license and certifications
- A list of references with their contact details
- A notepad and pen to take notes
- Any relevant clinical or research experience reports, publications or presentations
Be sure to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time. This demonstrates punctuality and reliability. It can also give you time to settle in, relax and prepare mentally for the interview. If you are not familiar with the location, consider doing a practice run beforehand to ensure you arrive on time.
Show confidence and enthusiasm
During your interview, be confident and enthusiastic about the role. This will show the interviewer that you are passionate about nursing and are eager to work with the organization. During the interview, maintain eye contact with the interviewer, speak clearly and articulately, smile and nod when the interviewer is talking and showcase your knowledge and experience.
Follow up after the interview
Send a thank-you email 24 to 48 hours after completing your interview. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. This is a good opportunity to address any additional questions or concerns that may have come up during the interview. A thoughtful follow-up can leave a positive impression on the hiring team and increase your chances of landing the job.
As an FNP, you have the choice of numerous career paths based on your interests and personal and professional goals. To ensure that you get the job of your choice, it is essential to select a master’s program that helps you gain the right knowledge, skills and understanding to excel as a family nurse practitioner.