What are FNPS? Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are registered nurses providing primary and specialty care for patients of all ages. They focus on preventive care, tracking patients’ long-term health, and assisting medical professionals with any issues that might arise. Depending on their state, an FNP can perform many of the same tasks as a primary care physician.
Because of their ability to do this, FNPs can be found in nearly every care setting. Since FNPs can work in various settings, understanding their roles and responsibilities in different teams is essential in finding a field to focus on and dedicate significant time and effort.
Interdisciplinary Healthcare Teams
The importance of an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare is no longer optional, as the industry deals with multiple medical, functional, and psychosocial challenges. Healthcare teams can lower duplicate assessments and hospital stays through this approach while creating an all-encompassing treatment record. However, for this approach to work, medical professionals — including primary care physicians, FNPs, physician assistants, specialists, and psychologists — must work together toward a common goal.
When these professionals work collaboratively and communicate effectively, they can relieve some of the patient’s burden and improve treatment outcomes. FNPs are built to provide meaningful contributions to interdisciplinary healthcare teams. They build the knowledge and skills required for interdisciplinary care by completing programs that offer hands-on and direct patient care experience.
This means engaging with diverse healthcare providers to develop strategies that meet patient needs and promote collaboration and shared values among stakeholders and clinicians. So, it is no surprise that graduates from leading academic institutions, such as Carson-Newman University, can maximize earning potential and land students a desirable FNP salary.
Beyond the handsome paycheck, FNPs are responsible for initiating and guiding change as interdisciplinary healthcare leaders. They implement their comprehensive knowledge of organizational practices, functions, resources, and structures for improved healthcare delivery, and use negotiation, partnering, and consensus-building with various stakeholders to influence healthcare change. Furthermore, FNPs evaluate the effects of healthcare delivery across patients, providers, stakeholders, and the environment and make the required adjustments in complex systems for optimal care.
Primary Healthcare Teams
Comprehensive primary care is the foundation of a high-quality, sustainable, and integrated healthcare system. Unfortunately, the United States is facing an unprecedented primary healthcare gap. According to a study published in a weekly peer-reviewed journal, BMJ, the absence of an assigned primary care provider in the urban patient population contributes to this overwhelming disparity.
The growing shortage of primary care physicians and family doctors in the country makes matters worse. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reports only 13% of medical school graduates pursue medicine. For the nation to get adequate access to primary healthcare, this number must increase by at least 25%. Fortunately, FNPs can act as primary care providers since their scope of practice is similar to doctors considering primary care responsibilities.
Like physicians, FNPs in primary healthcare teams evaluate laboratory results to make precise diagnoses and create a comprehensive care plan inclusive of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments, as required. Put simply, FNPs combine nursing skills and a practitioner mindset. This can be especially helpful in rural settings where physicians and specialty providers are lacking. FNPs perform several responsibilities in a primary healthcare setting, including the following:
- Record patients’ medical histories and maintain records on symptoms, treatments, and any medications.
- Order diagnostic examinations and evaluate their results to determine the cause and diagnosis of a health issue.
- Assess and diagnose health conditions and offer primary healthcare services emphasizing preventive care, such as immunization, screening tests, and shots.
- Prescribe and dispense medications and other treatment methods.
- Perform or assist in minor invasive procedures such as repairs of cuts and lacerations, and make referrals to physicians or other departments whenever appropriate.
Since FNPs can work more independently and conduct the duties and responsibilities of physicians, they can offset the personnel shortage, which, in turn, allows them to detect and treat chronic illnesses early and prevent the next pandemic. Moreover, FNPs can provide a voice to marginalized individuals and communities for improved healthcare access in specific areas where the need for care is apparent. FNPs can ensure government officials and policymakers have relevant and accurate data such as economic obstacles, employment statistics, community health conditions, and population age distributions when creating and passing healthcare bills.
Population Health Management Teams
Concentrating on the health of entire populations is essential in advancing medical care and research. Although the primary goal of population health management is improving healthcare outcomes at individual and community levels, more specific goals are geared towards reducing health hazards, enhancing quality of life, and lowering healthcare costs. However, population health management teams face pushback, especially since their resources are scarce.
This has been a glaring issue since healthcare that improves population outcomes must be proactive and preemptive. Although local climate changes have a hand in altering a community’s overall health, other factors such as racial inequity, educational background, community participation rates, psychosocial relationships, and gender inequality also drastically influence the health of an entire population. FNPs can support population health management teams undergoing value-based care transitions because of their expansive scope of practice and strong connection with patients.
Moreover, they can identify those at risk, collect and evaluate information about those people, develop treatment plans to reduce risks and educate communities in ways that promote healthy choices. When communities are healthier, they spend less on healthcare across their lifetimes and allocate their funds toward further preventive medicine, community education, and technology that improves care provision.
Working Towards a Meaningful Career as an FNP
FNPs can work in broad clinical settings. So, it is no surprise that they are often referred to as ‘the jack of all trades’. This allows them to make a meaningful impact in their communities and be the difference they want to see in the world.