This paper provides an overview of the family nurse practitioner role. The family nurse practitioner role provides a wide range of services making this an appealing option for the master student. The clinical and the non-clinical path enjoy many similarities. The clinical and non-clinical family nurse practitioner will engage in many similarities including analyzing, problem solving, differential diagnosis, and patient centered care. The clinical nurse practitioner may engage in more hands-on, patient-centered research. The non-clinical masters trained nurse practitioner may work more in the community to assist in adoption of social-based services for nurse practitioners. Each of these programs has something worthwhile to offer students. The community may benefit in many ways by advanced training offered by masters trained nurse practitioners. In an effort to promote the holistic health of patients, the master trained family centered nurse practitioner will treat patients ranging in age from newborn through geriatric years.
The family nurse practitioner provides a wide arrange of health services to community members. The NP working in family practice has an opportunity to study the complex aspects of the nurse practitioner role, while serving a diverse patient population. The family NP may work with children, adults, and geriatric patients. The family NP may also work within a community, working to develop long-term relationships with individuals. These are all reasons for pursuing an advanced nursing role in this specialty.
The Master prepared clinical and non-clinical APN will both focus on key tools including critical thinking and reasoning along with diagnostic skills when making decisions. Further, each will have responsibility for determining appropriate treatment modalities when creating plans of care for patients (Bevans, et al., 2012; Kieft, Brouwer, Francke & Delnoij (2014)). The clinical and non-clinical prepared APN will analyze a patient, review their history and symptoms, review the physical findings, and prepare a review of differential diagnosis. Hence, the two roles are similar in many ways. Diagnostic and therapeutic practices are essential to both roles, and employed in both roles with attention to critical factors including safety, cost, the efficiency with which care is delivered, and total care of the patient (Bevans, et al., 2012).
Advanced practice nursing reflects key roles and requirements. Among these include the following. The AP Nurse must be able to interpret the history of the patient, to present the symptoms of an analyze the symptoms of a patient, to report on physical findings, and to provide information related to differential diagnosis when first confronted with a patient (Bevans, et al., 2012). Next, the APN must prescribe a treatment protocol for patients (Bevans, et al., 2012). This may include the prescription of pharmacological therapy, or the use of non-pharmacologic methods that may promote healing in the patient. Procedures and interventions may also be recommended for family members or other support members, in an effort to promote the holistic health of the patient involved in care.
Next, APN reflects a need to ensure appropriate diagnosis of a patient, and interventions with specific attention to the need to address the safety of treatment, the cost of treatment, and the efficiency of treatment (Bevans et al., 2012). Many factors may have impeded on any of these characteristics, including complications, finance, or the simple acceptability of an intervention based on the cultural background or ethnic background of the patient involved in care with an APN. The APN has a duty to consider risk and benefit factors when developing a comprehensive plan of care for patients, that may consider cultural factors, coupled with socioeconomic and health factors. This allows the APN to provide for the total care of the patient, rather than partial care for the patient and their family members.
Lastly, the APN has a duty to confirm any diagnosis assigned to a patient. This confirmation may be based on a number of factors including findings, and the ability to rule out differential conditions. During the course of treatment, The APN may monitor the patient’s condition, coordinate care, and manage the illness or statue of their patient through a defined or a prolonged period depending on the nature of the condition being treated. As part of the duties of an APN, the health practitioner can identify additional aspects of care that may advance treatment, or may serve as barriers to treatment, in which case they may need to be removed (Bevans et al., 2012; Kieft, Brouwer, Francke & Delnoij (2014)).
APNs are in a position to educate registered nurses, and to advance education through various means. This includes through role modeling and through engaging in innovative practice methods. Innovation may occur through research or through non-clinical practice adopted within communities. According to the IOM report, master’s prepared nurses must work to build on competencies that are gained through progressive education. Nursing education provides nurse with a continuously evolving understanding of nursing related to sciences, anatomy, and other functions. Master trained nurses are capable of providing care to patients in clinical and also non-clinical settings, including community-based systems. The master’s prepared nurse will integrate findings from a wide variety of fields, that may include humanities, genetics, public health, economics, and other areas (IOM). For this reason, a nurse that has a master may be better prepared to take on multiple roles or address cases that are complex in nature.
Master prepared nurses must evaluate care and analyze the clinical reasoning that is used to provide delivery of services, while also working with non-clinical practitioners to identify areas for improvement in areas of quality and patient safety. This may require greater collaboration not only within the health field, but also with other agencies that may include community agencies, health service agencies, and others.
In modern healthcare, a combination of master prepared nurses with clinical and non-clinical based perspectives can best serves the complex needs of communities. The family practice advanced nurse practitioner must be prepared to analyze patient histories, evaluate complex cases, and determine the best course of action for patients and their family’s contingent on diverse circumstance (Kieft, Brouwer, Francke, & Delnoij, 2014). Clinical perspective may help nurse practitioner to develop new procedures and interventions that may support members of the community suffering from specific outcomes. Non-clinical APN working in family care may identify areas for improvement that may include adoption of informatics as a means to improve collaboration and communication among health professionals (Swenty & Tilzer, 2014). Regardless of the approach adopted, the family nurse practitioner is and will remain a staple within the nursing field now and in the future.