Family Nurse Practitioners
Do You Really Know What a Family Nurse Practitioner Can Do For You?
Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) are advanced practice Registered Nurses (RN) who work autonomously or in collaboration with other health care professionals to deliver “family-focused" care. FNPs offer a wide range of healthcare services that revolve around the family unit from health promotion and disease prevention to direct care and counseling across a patient's lifespan.
Family Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of settings, including doctor's offices, and place a strong emphasis on wellness and prevention, but also provide treatment, prescribe medications and treat everything from mild ailments to serious conditions affecting any member of the family, from children to grandparents.
FNPs perform many of the same diagnostic, preventative, and health maintenance services as a physician. These services include, but are not limited to the following:
- Managing chronic conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes
- Overseeing the health and wellness of women, including providing preconception and prenatal care
- Treating minor acute injuries
- Providing episodic care for acute illnesses in all ages
- Ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays
- Prescribing medications and other treatments
- Managing patients' overall care
- Educating patients on disease prevention and positive health and lifestyle choices
Nurse Practitioners in primary care focus on 3 types of care:
- Preventive care to help you stay healthy. This includes making sure that you are getting the immunizations and screening tests you need at the right time and providing advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Treating illnesses and injuries. Your primary care nurse practitioner identifies and treats common medical conditions, evaluates the severity of health complaints, refers you to specialists as needed, treats illnesses and helps you to manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.
Coordinates medical care. Medical care can be complicated, particularly for patients who have one or more chronic medical conditions. Your primary care nurse practitioner ensures you see the right providers at the right times, keeps track of your treatments and medications to verify that one doesn't interfere with another, and communicates with each of your doctors about what's going on with your health.
What is the biggest misconception about FNPs?
That only doctors can treat patients effectively, when in reality a FNP can provide most of the services that a doctor would.
What are some of the benefits of working with a FNP?
- It is typically easier to get an appointment with an FNP because most people often have to wait days, and sometimes weeks, for an appointment with a doctor or specialist.
- They will often take more time to answer questions and address concerns so patients can expect more one-on-one attention specific to their health concerns.
- They increase available access to medical care and can "fast track" their patients to the appropriate doctors when necessary.
Do FNPs run their diagnoses or decisions past a doctor?
FNPs work in collaboration with doctors, but have the training and authority to diagnose and treat medical conditions. They can prescribe medication independently.
What type of education and training does a family nurse practitioner have?
Becoming an FNP involves first passing the NCLEX-RN exam and becoming a licensed RN. Crucial experience is gained in the years spent working as a registered nurse. From there they must obtain a Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in family practice, a post graduate degree specific to FNP preparation, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). They are board certified.
How do you find FNP in your area?
Our Family Nurse Practitioners work in conjunction with our physicians as part of the Torrance Memorial Physician's Network team. You can find a FNP in your area on our website or call our referral line at 310-891-6717.