How do I become a Family Nurse Practitioner?

Illinois State University’s Family Nurse Practitioner sequence allows students to gain a Master of Science in Nursing degree through a mix of theory and clinical courses, which are primarily held on-campus.  Clinical experiences are provided in a variety of primary care settings.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

So, what exactly is a Family Nurse Practitioner, and why should you earn your FNP degree? A Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner prepares nursing students to function in an advanced practice nursing role in which they will diagnose and manage commonly occurring acute and chronic health conditions, as well as provide patient education and preventive health services.

According to All Nursing Schools, those holding an FNP degree have an abundance of career opportunities. Family Nurse Practitioners care for individuals across the lifespan.  While many FNPs work in family practice, seeing newborns, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly, FNPs can also choose to focus their practice to care for those of a specific age such as specializing in pediatrics or geriatrics, or in a specialty practice such as cardiology, women’s health, or diabetes management.  The degree also opens up areas in education and research as well!

In addition to the exciting variety of careers, the pay and growth of the profession are outstanding as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that Nurse Practitioners make a median salary of $103,880 per year, and overall employment is expected to grow 31 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Preparing students in a changing healthcare environment

The healthcare environment in the United States is going through a radical shift. In addition to the “where and how” patients are getting their care, the ways in which care is administered are also changing.

This is, in part, because how the healthcare system was designed. An article from The National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine states that the American healthcare system was built to treat acute illnesses and injuries. With the rise of chronic conditions in the 21st century, more highly educated nurses are needed.

Illinois State University’s FNP program is doing its part to prepare nurses for this shift. The Family Nurse Practitioner track to the MSN degree allows students to function in an advanced practice nursing role. Students are educated to diagnose and treat both acute and chronic conditions, as well as how to educate patients on preventing the onset or worsening of chronic conditions. As healthcare continues to change, this emphasis on prevention is vital for patients’ well-being.

Different from other nursing master’s degrees

While many schools offer a Family Nurse Practitioner track to the master’s degree, Illinois State University’s program is different – and not just because of our 98% cumulative pass rate on the national certification exam for nurse practitioners. While our core courses (nursing theory, research, epidemiology, and roles) are offered online, our FNP support cores and clinical courses are held on-campus.  Our students consistently evaluate the on-campus courses as a strength of our program and one of the primary reasons they choose our program.

Our highly skilled FNP faculty are certified in their specialty and active in their practice areas. Our student-centered approach focuses on treating patients holistically, and students are encouraged to participate in research, development, and implementation of health policy and education.

Family Nurse Practitioner admission

Applicants to the Family Nurse Practitioner sequence at Illinois State University should have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.  For additional requirements, see the Mennonite College of Nursing website.

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