A Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (CFNP) is a registered nurse educated at a master’s level or higher. CFNPs typically work under a physician but have more autonomy to make decisions. Enrolling in a Family Nurse Practitioner program allows you to gain skills to provide comprehensive patient care, impacting their health and well-being. Below are the steps to becoming a CFNP:
Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
You can become an RN by completing an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Most FNP programs require a BSN for admission, so it is best to enroll in a BSN program if you have not already. These programs take longer to complete than ADN programs. You gain a strong foundation in nursing theory, clinical practice, and patient care during your BSN program.
Upon completing your BSN program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The test will assess your competence as a nurse, and once you pass, you can apply for licensure. Your state’s nursing regulatory body is an excellent source of information on the requirements for nursing licensure.
Many nursing programs incorporate clinical rotations into their curriculum to allow students to gain nursing experience. Students get to work in various healthcare settings under the supervision of experienced nurses and nurse practitioners. The hands-on experience from clinical rotations prepares students for the more demanding FNP programs.
After getting your license, getting a job as a bedside nurse can help you understand the demands of patient care. Because bedside nurses serve a variety of patients, you will learn how to handle different conditions. This experience can be helpful when deciding on a specialty as you prepare for the role of an FNP.
Enroll in a Family Nurse Practitioner Program
You will want to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree to become a CFNP. MSN Programs take two to three years to complete, while DNP programs may take three to four years. Both programs offer specialized tracks for FNPs.
Consider whether you wish to focus on clinical practice or take a leadership role in healthcare. This will determine which family nurse practitioner program to enroll in and what courses to take. When choosing an FNP program, choose one accredited by the (American Nurses Credentialing Center) ANCC and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
Complete Your Coursework
The coursework for an FNP program comprises classes and a specified number of clinical rotation hours. An FNP curriculum may include healthcare ethics, nursing leadership, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and advanced health assessment courses. These courses equip you with knowledge that is instrumental to your CFNP career.
During your clinical rotations, you work under the guidance of experienced practitioners or physicians called preceptors in various clinical settings. These clinical rotations allow you to practice and develop patient assessment, diagnosis, and treatment skills.
Take the FNP Certification Exam
Once you complete your FNP program, you must take the certification exam to become a CFNP. The ANCC and the AANP are recognized certifying bodies that offer exams for family nurse practitioners. You can review the content outline to know what they will likely test you on. There are also practice exams online that you can take to be better prepared for your final test.
The FNP certification exam comprises multiple-choice questions and may include clinical simulations or case studies. Passing the exam demonstrates your knowledge and competence as a family nurse practitioner, qualifying you for certification.
Obtain State Licensure
You should obtain licensure from your state’s board of nursing to practice as a CFNP. Research licensure requirements in your state before you begin the license application process. As part of your application, you may need to provide proof of education and certification and pass a background check. Once you have your certificate and license, you can begin your career as a CFNP.
Build a Career in Nursing
Becoming a CFNP is largely dependent on your education. Your choice of a Family Nurse Practitioner program and dedication to your coursework are instrumental to your success. Research accredited FNP programs that you can take online or in person and start your journey to building a career as a CFNP.