A Day in the Life: Role of a FNP

Female nurse wearing scrubs reviews patient chart.

There’s no such thing as a “typical day” for a family nurse practitioner (FNP). FNPs work with patients of all ages. They can perform similar functions as a physician and work in many different environments, including hospitals, urgent care clinics, and private practices. Since the duties and responsibilities can vary so dramatically, here are how five FNP bloggers describe their days and workloads.

Role of a FNP

I enjoy a regular 8 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule that some of my fellow nurse practitioner friends do not. I do work one weekend a month. In an average day, I see anywhere from 20-26 patients. I go through any lab results that have come back and mark any abnormalities that will require the patient to be called back for follow up or further discussion. – Maryellen, MidlevelU

Maryellen works at a clinic in Nashville, Tenn., and her blog posts appear on a professional development blog for FNPs.

I’m shift leader, so I start with some administration. I have a handover from the previous shift leader, check the staff (rotation) and arrange for replacements where needed, check equipment, and look over the current waiting list of patients. (Then I go to) the front desk, assessing patients as they arrive. This is quite challenging as you only have 2-3 minutes to get a feel for their situation and prioritize them. I also watch over the waiting room to make sure nobody appears to be having difficulty or looks like they need to be reprioritized. – Myrtle, Health Foundation

Myrtle is an FNP at an acute NHS trust. She works 12-hour shifts starting at 10 a.m.

At work, I hit the ground running. There is rarely a slow day in the ER, and today is no exception. I pick up two charts and immediately begin seeing patients. (When) 6 p.m. arrives, I have had a busy but productive day. I’ve seen 18 patients and have sutured two lacerations, drained two abscesses, and admitted four patients to the hospital. A pretty typical day in my life as a nurse practitioner. – Erin, Health eCareers

Erin also works as an FNP in Nashville, Tenn., and she is the founder of MidlevelU.

(The workload) may sound frightening to some; however, once you begin practicing as a NP, all the necessary skills you learned in school will show up like clockwork, and pretty soon, the hustle and bustle of the busy schedule will become a breeze. If you had something different in mind; no worries. Nurse Practitioners can also work in various settings and environments such as research, clinics, hospitals, out-patient, and can even practice independently. – Julia, Medelita

Julia works at Emory University Hospital in Georgia.

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Benefits to the Job

The greatest thing about being a nurse practitioner has been the amazing super power I have acquired: the power of assessment and diagnosis. It is difficult to turn off, and I often find myself assessing and attaching a diagnosis to almost every person I see. During winter I can detect a croupy cough a mile away. You never forget the cough of a child that sounds like a barking seal, and automatically think, “cool mist, cool mist!”member of the Barton Team

I love my job in family practice as I really get to know my patients. I see multiple patients from the same family and treat patients of all ages. Patient’s visits are more enjoyable with this relationship as they are comfortable with me and the clinic. I highly recommend the FNP career! – Maryellen, MidlevelU

I love working as a nurse practitioner. My job is interesting, challenging, and fun. I work hard, but I enjoy my flexible schedule. I highly recommend a career as a nurse practitioner to anyone interested in healthcare. – Erin, Health eCareers

When you stand to make an impact as big as the role of that as an NP, a day in the life could not be more rewarding as there is an abundance of opportunity to positively impact the lives of so many. – Julia, Medelita

Possible Challenges

As assessing patients is such an intense task, we have a limit of three hours before taking a break from it. I take the chance to check on the team and make sure people that are due to take a break are able to. I always try to leave the stressful aspects there at work though. I get in my car, play some music, and unwind on the way home. – Myrtle, Health Foundation

“I have strong reservations against nurse practitioners.” This statement was one of the first things that came out of my physician’s mouth when I told her I was a pediatric nurse practitioner. I was her patient sitting on the exam table, (and) she claimed she knew more than a nurse practitioner due to her many years of schooling. At this point, I thought that I should probably change physicians and run out of the office.member of the Barton Team

Primary care physicians often hire NPs to help them maximize their practice by seeing some of their patient load. According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, ‘the average Nurse Practitioner sees three or more patients an hour.’ – Julia, Medelita

FNP Education and Job Outlook

Nationwide, the need for NPs is pressing, and there is an anticipated job growth of more than 30 percent in the next decade. As of May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported there were 1,150 nurse practitioners employed in New Hampshire. Their average salary was $112,440, around $2,000 above the national average.

The greatest concentration of NPs is in physicians’ offices and out-patient clinics. Other places where there are high concentrations of NPs are hospitals and personal care services.

According to the BLS, the demand for NPs is growing “much faster than average,” with a predicted job growth of 31 percent by 2026. Growth will occur primarily due to an “increased emphasis on preventive care and demand for healthcare services from an aging population.”

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