Family Nurse Practitioner

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse who provides a wide range of family-focused health care services to patients of all ages, including infants, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. FNPs have a broad scope of practice and provide a wide range of health care services, including the diagnosis and management of acute, chronic, and complex health problems, health promotion, disease prevention, health education, and counseling to individuals, families, groups, and communities. They also serve as health care researchers, interdisciplinary consultants, and patient advocates. FNP practice includes, but is not limited to, assessment; ordering, performing, supervising, and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests; making diagnoses; initiating and managing treatment including prescribing medication and non-pharmacologic treatments; coordinating care; counseling; and educating patients and their families and communities. FNPs can practice in nearly every health care setting, including but not limited to clinics, hospitals, universities, and public health departments.

FNPs are the providers of choice for millions of patients. In 2018, there were over 1.06 billion visits made to NPs. As licensed, independent practitioners, FNPs practice autonomously and in coordination with health care professionals and other individuals. Effective utilization of FNPs can help meet the growing demand for primary care services. Literature has shown that providing FNPs with their own patient panel improves access to care, decreases wait time for patients, promotes chronic disease management, reduces ER hospital visits and readmissions, and improves provider retention.

A thorough assessment of the Omaha System Guidelines corpus was conducted via four University of Minnesota Doctorate of Nursing Practice students in 2021. More than 1700 Omaha System interventions were assessed revealing 79% of interventions deemed within scope of practice for Family Nurse Practitioners. Several specific gaps were identified. In particular, the lack of medication prescribing guidelines for Family Nurse Practitioner scope of practice was notable. Unique interventions related to evidence-based guideline were identified and encoded using the Omaha System and SNOMED CT by Doctor of Nursing Practice students and faculty, with review by the Omaha System International Community of Practice. This work builds upon previous research by Barton and colleagues (2003) who promoted the use of standardized terminologies including the Omaha System by family nurse practitioners to improve health care quality and outcomes.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). (2015). Standards of practice for nurse practitioners. https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/advocacy-resource/position-statements/standards-of-practice-for-nurse-practitioners

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). (2019). Are you considering a career as a family nurse practitioner? https://www.aanp.org/news-feed/are-you-considering-a-career-as-a-family-nurse-practitioner

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). (2020). More than 290,000 nurse practitioners licensed in the United States. https://www.aanp.org/news-feed/290-000-nps- licensed-in-us

Barton, A. J., Gilbert, L., Erickson, V., Baramee, J., Sowers, D., & Robertson, K. J. (2003). A guide to assist nurse practitioners with standardized nursing language. CIN: Computers, informatics, nursing, 21(3), 128-133.

Barton, A. J., Baramee, J., Sowers, D., & Robertson, K. J. (2003). Articulating the value-added dimension of NP care. The Nurse Practitioner, 28(12), 34-40.

Buerhaus, P., Perloff, J., Clarke, S., O’Reilly-Jacob, M., Zolotusky, G., & DesRoches, C. M. (2018). Quality of primary care provided to Medicare beneficiaries by nurse practitioners and physicians. Medical Care, 56(6), 484-490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2017.06.007