Family Nurse Practitioner Job Description

A Family Nurse Practitioner assesses, diagnoses and treats patients on a long-term, ongoing basis. This includes maintaining relationships with patients and individual patient records, performing medical examinations and prescribing medications as well as dealing with chronic or specialized medical issues.

Family Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with advanced practice and experience, and they work underneath the supervision of physicians. They may work in a variety of settings, including in-home care, universities, hospitals and health clinics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field for registered nurses in general is expected to grow 16 percent over the next ten years, which is much faster than average.


Family Nurse Practitioner Duties and Responsibilities

In order to deliver comprehensive patient care, a Family Nurse Practitioner performs many different tasks. We analyzed job listings for Family Nurse Practitioners in order to identify these core duties and responsibilities.

Collect Patient Information

In order to provide care to new patients, the Family Nurse Practitioner must obtain patient records from previous care facilities and physicians and maintain patient files. They often perform initial physical examinations on new patients in order to collect vital physical information and family medical history details.

Perform Examinations

The Family Nurse Practitioner performs ongoing patient examinations both routine and irregular. They perform specialized examinations for patients with particular concerns, placing orders for diagnostic tests and then interpreting their results. They then record and assess the results of all other patient examinations.

Diagnose Patients

Using their assessment of patient examinations, the Family Nurse Practitioner will diagnose patients. This involves maintaining high levels of medical knowledge and analyzing patient results in the context of a patient’s familial and medical history. They may work in conjunction with physicians and specialized medical professionals in the case of diagnosing more complex health issues.

Recommend Treatment

After submitting their diagnosis, the Family Nurse Practitioner develops and implements a recommended plan of treatment. They must communicate the diagnosis and plan of treatment to the patient and their family and sometimes tailor the treatment to special patient beliefs or preferences. The Family Nurse Practitioner can prescribe medication as well as oversee alternative forms of medical treatment.

Maintain Patient Relationship

Because Family Nurse Practitioners stay with their patients for a long time, if not a lifetime, they must develop and maintain close relationships with their patients. This includes maintaining updated and accurate patient records, overseeing the regular follow-up with patients, quickly and effectively addressing patient concerns and problems and communicating regularly with both the patient and his or her family. The Family Nurse Practitioner may also see multiple members of one family, so developing and maintaining a relationship not just with the patient but also with his or her entire family is important.


Family Nurse Practitioner Skills

Family Nurse Practitioners are highly professional individuals with great communication and interpersonal skills, allowing them to build ongoing relationships with patients and their families. Highly educated and trained, Family Nurse Practitioners deliver excellent patient care and treatment. In order to successfully manage multiple patients, they must be well-organized and able to priorities many different tasks effectively.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Family Nurse Practitioners with these core skills. If you want to work as a Family Nurse Practitioner, focus on the following.

  • Completing an accredited post-graduate Nurse Practitioner educational program
  • Having a Master’s degree in nursing
  • Obtaining a Registered Nurse license in appropriate state
  • Possessing an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse license in appropriate state
  • Having prescriptive privileges in appropriate state

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Family Nurse Practitioner toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Specialized care experience
  • Neonatal experience
  • Ambulatory experience
  • Bilingual abilities
  • Additional nurse practitioner certifications
  • Electronic medical record experience

Family Nurse Practitioner Resources

We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.

On the Web

Nurse Practitioner Business – A business blog for nurse practitioners

John Hopkins School of Nursing Blog – Great nursing stories and study tips

ADVANCE Perspective – A nursing blog told from multiple perspectives

Industry Groups

American Medical Association – Largest association of medical professionals

American Nurses Association – National organization of professional nurses

American Association of Nurse Practitioners – Largest organization for nurse practitioners

Family Nurse Practitioner Books

Trail Guide to the Body – A comprehensive guide to locating muscles in the human body

Nurse Practitioner Notes – A pocket guide for nurse practitioners

I Wasn’t Strong Like This Starting Out – True stories of people becoming nurses


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