Will I Have to Have a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) to Be a Family Nurse Practitioner?

 Nursing is growing in popularity as a career, and luckily for most jobs, a doctorate of nursing practice is not needed. One specific facet of nursing jobs is that of a family nurse practitioner, a position that has been growing as the number of people interested in becoming nurses has grown. There is a lot of misinformation available about what it takes to become a family nurse practitioner, and this article aims to clear that up.

Family Nurse Practitioners

Family nurse practitioners are registered nurses that work with physicians and other healthcare providers to perform tasks such as health assessments, patient care, and health guidance. Unlike standard nurses, family nurse practitioners sometimes act as doctors, diagnosing disorders early and giving their own recommendations on how to treat it. This means that a very high level of education is required. However, this level of education is not necessarily a doctorate of nursing practice – someone can become a family nurse practitioner with simply a master’s degree.

 

Obtaining Your Nursing Degree

A Master’s of Nursing degree typically involves something like 500 clinical hours and approval from either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.  After obtaining either a Bachelor’s or Master’s of Nursing, the next step in becoming a family nurse practitioner is to become registered through the National Council Licensure Examination, called the NCLEX-RN. Another licensing exam follows this, and is administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This licensing exam grants a ‘board certified’ certification to family nurse practitioners, and must be renewed every five years.

 

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

Another potential certification is the “Nurse Practitioner – Certified” license which is given by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. To obtain this certification, a master’s degree or higher is required, and this must also be renewed every five years.This diagram from DiscoverNursing.com lays out the process very well. To become a family nurse practitioner, you must first obtain a BSN, then get your licensing from NCLEX. After this, you are able to begin work as a Registered Nurse while you complete your MSN. The diagram recommends taking courses in family nursing theory and intervention, acute and chronic illness management, research, and primary healthcare concerns, as well as leadership preparation. After obtaining your MSN, you would get your board certification from the ANCC or AANP.Becoming a family nurse practitioner is a rewarding career path to follow, but it is also difficult to reach due to the amount of education required. However, with that said, the job pays well and gives the satisfaction of helping others on a daily basis. It also provides the chance for students to think about what path of nursing they want to follow, as the preliminary steps on the road to become a FNP will also allow a student to become several other kinds of nurses. If somewhere along the road an individual changes their mind, they aren’t stuck in a corner. While the education requirements are high, becoming a family nurse practitioner requires only a Master’s of Nursing – not a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree.

For more information, check out “Top 10 Cheap Online RN to BSN Degree Programs 2014“.