Your nursing career has given you lots of opportunities, and it has allowed you to focus on patient-centered care. However, is there another role that you have been looking at undertaking? A role such as a Family Nurse Practitioner role gives you the opportunity and possibility for both career growth and development. As an FNP, you still get to focus on patient-centered care, but you also get the opportunity to care for whole family units and not just individual patients. So, if a role as a Family Nurse Practitioner, or FNP for short, sounds appealing to you and to your career plan – then how do you get started? What do you need to do first?
Have You Got What It Takes?
Firstly, you have to establish if you have what it takes to succeed. As an FNP, you will be building relationships with families, and you will be seeing them through change and through the natural aging process. To build these relationships and form strong bonds with all of your patients as an FNP, you have to be even more dedicated than ever before. You will be liaising with family members of all ages – and because of this, you will need to be approachable and able to talk to a wide variety of people in all age groups, and from all different backgrounds. Within your role as an FNP, you will use a lot of skills, experience, and knowledge that you have gained through your career as a nurse.
Dedication and Commitment
Once you have decided to go for an FNP role, you then must start focusing on your commitment and dedication levels. Being committed and dedicated to helping families and helping those in your community is important and crucial for your new role. However, you also need to be dedicated and committed to self-development, self-growth, and advanced learning. If you are not committed and dedicated, you will struggle to uphold standards, and you will not get the grades you need to pass, qualify, and get licensed. As an FNP, your priorities will be different from what they were as a nurse. Establishing and committing to making these positive changes is important.
Advancing Your Learning
Once you have got your mindset and focus where it needs to be, you then have to start focusing on advancing your education. To qualify as an FNP, you will need to study for a post-masters because it gives you the knowledge and awareness that you need to perform the expected roles and responsibilities of an FNP. When you are advancing your learning, you need to focus on where you are studying and what you are studying. You need flexibility within your studies (especially if you are working), and this would make online studying perfect. When it comes to looking at what to study, you must look at specific programs or certificates that are highly focused. Specialized knowledge and awareness are essential when you are looking at qualifying as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Focusing on Being a Great Professional
When you are studying and preparing for the next career move in nursing, it is important to focus on your mindset, attitude, and approach. The mindset that you hold can dictate or lead your career. When you are focused on being a great professional, you can then focus more on achieving success. If you are not aware of what a great nursing professional looks like, then get yourself acquainted as soon as possible A great nursing professional is dedicated to change, growth, and development, and they are committed to excellent patient care. It can sometimes be beneficial to have someone to work alongside (and learn from) to help you mold yourself into a great professional.
Seeking a Mentor
Experience is going to help you on your journey to becoming an FNP, but so too can a mentor. A mentor (or someone who is currently an FNP) has experience and knowledge that they can share with you. Mentors can guide you through changes, and they can help you become the FNP that you want to be. When you are looking for a nursing mentor, you may want to reach out to your educational provider, or you may wish to contact one of the nursing bodies or organizations in your local state or area. Mentors can be with you for weeks or they can be with you for months, but one thing is for sure: the time you have with them will be effective and useful.
Building a Professional Network
As your experience builds and grows, you will want to focus on building a professional network too. Building valuable contacts within the nursing industry is important. These contacts can pave the way for new jobs and opportunities, or they could help you get the most out of future roles. When you are building a professional network, it is important to focus on quality over quantity. You want to be sure that the professionals you know can be relied upon and trusted, and this is something that is easier to achieve in a small number (a smaller networking group).
Addressing Strengths and Weaknesses
As you are pushing your nursing career to the next level, you will need to focus on addressing your strengths and weaknesses. When you take control of improvement, you can then start building your knowledge and your confidence. This is important because as an FNP, you will spend a lot of time working by yourself. When it comes to talking about and improving strengths and weaknesses, you need to first evaluate what you offer and what areas are lacking. To do this, you need to undergo a process of professional evaluation. Evaluate your performance on recent tasks, and also look at how well you performed within the recent roles and responsibilities you have held. Dissecting this information will give you a greater deal of control.
When you are aware of your weaknesses and your strengths, you can then begin to take positive steps forward.