Family nurse practitioners and their administrative and managerial duties

There are many reasons to consider a career as a family nurse practitioner (FNP). This profession provides job security in a rapidly expanding field with many opportunities for career progression. FNPs, particularly those who show empathy and compassion, have the opportunity to take charge of their practice and oversee patient care from beginning to end, resulting in a heightened level of job fulfillment.

An introduction to FNPs

You might be wondering, what is a family nurse practitioner? An FNP is a healthcare provider, categorized as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who is dedicated to providing comprehensive healthcare to patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Completing a program at a specialized institute, such as Carson-Newman University, can help you hone the essential skills for the role, and develop them to become a successful FNP. These attributes include qualities such as compassion, empathy, confidence and endurance. Some of these qualities will come naturally to some people.

The educational path involves earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), passing the NCLEX-RN exam, gaining experience as a registered nurse (RN), pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with specialized courses, passing a national board exam, and obtaining state licensure.

FNPs have a broad scope of practice and, depending on the state in which they live, they can perform exams, manage patient records, create care plans, prescribe medication, and run or order diagnostic tests. Generally, their career resembles that of a general practitioner (GP).

FNPs are a critical solution to address healthcare shortages and disparities in underserved areas. Their growing role, especially with full practice authority (FPA), is essential for improving healthcare access and outcomes, particularly in regions that are facing physician shortages.

Health records management

FNPs maintain electronic health records (EHRs) with precision. They ensure that every patient interaction is accurately documented – this includes recording patient medical histories, physical examinations, diagnoses, treatment plans and communication. Well-maintained health records are important. They track treatment progress and provide a comprehensive view of the patient’s health journey. Having a thorough health record on the patient ensures continuity of care.

EHRs store a wide range of patient information, such as medical histories, diagnoses, medications, allergies, lab results, imaging reports and treatment plans. This centralized data repository allows FNPs, and also other caregivers who work together with the nurse, to access a patient’s complete health history. This allows the medical professionals to make informed decisions regarding the care plan.

Many EHRs include patient portals that enable patients to access their own health information, schedule appointments, request medication refills, and so on. They can sometimes communicate with their healthcare providers through these portals. When patients have access to their own health information, they are able to thoroughly understand what is going on. This enhances patient self-efficacy, which has a positive influence on the patient’s experience with healthcare.

Patient education

Patient education begins with assessing a patient’s health literacy, which refers to their ability to understand and use health information to make informed decisions. FNPs adjust the education level to meet each patient’s health literacy, ensuring that the information provided is easy to understand for the patient in question.

FNPs take the time to educate their patients about their health conditions. They inform them about possible causes, consequences, potential complications and treatment options. FNPs also educate patients about their medications, explaining the purpose of each drug. They give information about proper dosage instructions, potential side effects and the importance of medication adherence. They address any concerns or misconceptions that patients may have about their prescriptions.

Communication with patients helps to promote patient self-efficacy and improve health outcomes. It is important to explain complex medical information in an understandable manner. FNPs encourage patients to ask questions, express concerns and actively participate in discussions about their health.

Communication with patients

Effective communication between caregivers and patients is always crucial. This is also the case for FNPs and their patients as they maintain ongoing communication with them. These nurses make sure that they communicate effectively not only during office visits, but also before and after appointments.

Sometimes, people can be forgetful. By providing appointment reminders, the patients get reminded of their appointments, which contributes to their health management. FNPs can also share test results by phone so that the patients do not have to set an appointment just to find them out. This saves time for both the FNP and the patient. Furthermore, patients who need more urgent help can set an appointment instead.

FNPs can use various communication channels. They can reach their patients by phone, email or other secure messaging platforms. Through these channels, they can address patient questions or concerns, and even shortly discuss treatment plans. Thanks to this, patients can feel informed and supported.

Referral and care coordination

FNPs can help patients of all ages and take care of them, but they can also refer them to medical specialists when necessary. The FNP carefully evaluates a patient’s condition and selects appropriate specialists when more specific care is indicated. In this case, the FNP is responsible for sending referral documents and monitoring the patient’s progress with the provider. By ensuring effective referral coordination, the patient’s health outcomes are optimized.

Despite being independent for the most part, FNPs are true team players. They coordinate care effectively by collaborating with various healthcare professionals. They work alongside pharmacists, social workers, physical therapists and many more specialists. This helps to ensure that patients receive comprehensive and coordinated care.


FNPs are healthcare professionals who care for patients of all age groups. Their general scope of practice consists of tasks such as diagnosing, managing diseases, treating and focusing on preventive healthcare. They also have several administrative and managerial responsibilities, such as management of health records, ensuring efficient communication with patients, and coordinating care.

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