daily tasks of family nurse practitioner

A Day in the Life of a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

When you go to the doctor’s office for a check-up with your kids, visit your aunt in outpatient care, or meet your great-grandfather for lunch at his long-term care facility, and your loved ones are feeling strong and healthy, you can often thank a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). FNPs work in many different environments and with diverse populations, from children to adults! Every day in the life of a Family Nurse Practitioner is unique, full of different interactions and problems to solve. A career-oriented FNP can look forward to getting familiar with repeat patients over the years, and even watching their patients’ families grow. One thing is for sure: you’ll never catch an FNP complaining of boredom. FNPs enjoy fulfilling professional lives doing something they love. Not to mention, FNPs also make a salary averaging $120,680 annually.

What exactly goes into being an FNP? In this guide, we’ll explore the daily duties of a Family Nurse Practitioner and much more about the FNP career.

What does an FNP do?

Family Nurse Practitioners are preventative and primary care providers. They do their best to keep patients healthy by:

  • Providing routine care and meeting patients’ holistic health care needs.
  • Evaluating patients with acute and chronic conditions.
  • Running diagnostic tests and diagnosing health problems.
  • Prescribing medication or conducting minor or moderate procedures.
  • Examining and caring for injured or sick patients.
  • Creating or altering individualized treatment plans.
  • Educating patients and their loved ones about general health care maintenance, treatments, what to expect during a recuperation period, and health condition management.
  • Working closely with other members of the health care team to meet each patient’s needs.

These responsibilities apply broadly to all FNP jobs. However, depending on where a Family Nurse Practitioner works, their day might be shaped by seeing a specific population served by that facility. Usually, FNPs will work with an overseeing physician, but they are awarded autonomy due to their extensive training, which includes 600 clinical hours. Many FNPs remark that they get the best of both worlds in their scope of practice: close interface with patients, along with advanced and autonomous clinical responsibilities.

Where can an FNP work, and with who?

FNPs are trained to help all patient populations. They may prefer variety or a specific group. For example, at a physician’s office, within one day an FNP might see teenagers, geriatric patients, babies, children, and men and women in various conditions. Meanwhile, FNPs who work in long-term care might expect to see older patients. In an outpatient clinic, patients are not necessarily linked by age but by condition (in which an FNP may specialize). FNPs also may work in a University setting, in a women’s health care center, a correctional facility, in hospice, at-home care, or a community health care center.

When you’re looking for an FNP program, be sure to select one that has a curriculum that covers health for all types of clients. An aspiring FNP can keep their job prospects broad by gaining an education that qualifies them to provide primary care for pediatrics and women’s health, and complex patients. A program that emphasizes population health is also handy for FNPs to expand their grasp on community healthcare challenges. This is essential knowledge because FNPs are stewards of health, no matter where they work.

What does a day in the life of a Family Nurse Practitioner look like?

Family Nurse Practitioners thrive in an environment that challenges them to dig into their experience and expertise, because each day is sure to bring surprises. Even if an FNP prepares by reviewing their patient caseload in advance of a day’s work, change is inevitable. No matter what, patients are likely to volley questions at their FNP that range from routine to desperate concerns. For example: Would you check out this new bump? Can you help me manage increasing feelings of panic? Should I see a podiatrist about this ache? How does my diet impact my energy levels? Pubescent patients might have questions about body changes they’ve noticed, while women might have questions about fertility into their 40s. Diabetic patients might need their medications adjusted, while a patient with disabilities could be seeking adaptive tools. Mental health is a growing concern amongst all populations, and more than 50 million people nationwide currently experience mental illness. Senior health is another increasing sector that is already taxing the care threshold of the healthcare system, as more than 10,000 people celebrate their 65th birthday every day in the U.S. Someone with a substance use disorder could be seeking help, while a mother might come in and share news of domestic abuse at home. Since 6 out of 10 adults have a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung or kidney problems, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, FNPs are likely helping many patients manage their symptoms and make healthier choices.

As you can see, FNPs sit at the apex of nursing, population health, education, and sometimes social work, healthcare policy, and the law. A day in the life of a Family Nurse Practitioner is full of seeing patients’ health concerns, sorting out the aid they need, providing relief or reassurance, and through these pathways, encouraging patients to seek their best selves through healthy lifestyles. We’re not even done with the day yet! Either first thing in the morning, or at the end of the day once an FNP has seen all their patients, they devote time to follow-up paperwork, such as answering emails and voicemails, filling medication orders, and passing along patient health information and charts to other teammates who are involved in the patient’s care.

Nurses may gravitate to becoming an FNP because these health professionals often find jobs that offer a 9-to-5 schedule with regular days off (such as weekends). It’s no secret that burnout is a problem for healthcare workers. Obtaining a job in health care that offers a work week of about 40 hours, coupled with the opportunity to get enough sleep, means that FNPs can keep themselves physically and emotionally healthy and sustain their careers over time.

Does a day in the life of a Family Nurse Practitioner appeal to you? To learn how to become an FNP, or to speak with a Goodwin admissions representative, we hope you’ll reach out to us for more information online or by calling 800-889-3282.