Nov 14, 2020 in Health

W1 Assignment 1 Discussion

W1 Assignment 1 Discussion

South University provides registered nurses with a variety of opportunities to advance their degrees. As the modern system of health care continues to evolve, the demand for advanced nurse practitioners also increases. South University offers a diversity of programs and degree specializations to the registered nurses, who have already obtained their Bachelor of Science degree. One of such advanced specializations is Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). According to South University (n.d.), the FNP specialization comprises a number of elements, such as advanced assessment, pharmacology, and family practicum courses. The chief function of every Family Nurse Practitioner is to be able to address patients health concerns across the entire lifespan and in more than one health care setting (South University, 2013). Unfortunately, the scope of practice, role boundaries, and functional obligations of family nurse practitioners require a more detailed analysis. The purpose of this work is to summarize what researchers and experts in advanced nursing practice have to say about the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty.


According to Nyirati, Denham, Raffle, and Ware (2012), family nursing has grown into a large and mature science. Not surprisingly, thousands of registered nurses seek effective transition to family practitioner roles and positions. Numerous theories and models have been developed to equip family nurse practitioners with enough knowledge, skills, and confidence to assess families and lead them to the desired health outcomes (Nyirati et al., 2012). Nevertheless, Nyirati et al. (2012) suggest that the science and practice of family nurses are paradoxically disconnected. Family nurse practitioners face role ambiguities and find it difficult to define the scope of their practice. Nyirati et al. (2012) performed a thorough analysis of FNP curricula across the United States and discovered a strong dissonance between the theory and practice of family nursing. Nevertheless, family nurse practitioners remain an important specialty in nursing practice and need a better understanding of their professional obligations.

The present-day researchers are focused on the analysis of FNP roles and functions mostly in pediatric settings. Freed, Dunham, Loveland-Cherry, and Martyn (2010) write that the number and proportion of FNPs engaged in pediatric care is currently unknown. Moreover, the extent to which FNPs can be involved in pediatric care delivery remains unknown (Freed et al., 2010). In the meantime, family nurse practitioners have the potential to play an essential role in improving the quality of pediatric care (Freed et al., 2010). Unfortunately, of all family nurse practitioners engaged in the study, only one-third were found to participate in pediatric care practices (Freed et al., 2010). Despite the fact that FNPs receive adequate training in the care of children, they form only a tiny part of the national pediatric health care force (Freed et al., 2012). Freed et al. (2012) make a gruesome but realistic conclusion that FNPs will hardly influence the availability of quality pediatric care for children in the nearest time. These findings contradict the results of the study conducted by Frisch, Johnson, Timmons, and Weatherford (2010).

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Frisch et al. (2010) offer a new insight into the role of family nurse practitioners in pediatric care. More specifically, the researchers suggest that family nurse practitioners can be actively involved in pre-operative assessments, consultations, and education for parents and their children (Frisch et al., 2010). The advanced medical and pharmacological knowledge obtained by family nursing practitioners is well suited to serve the emotional and medical needs of pediatric patients in pre-operative settings (Frisch et al., 2010). Their clinical backgrounds allow them the ability to perform all aspects of pediatric care in the pre-op area, for example, giving specific pre-op instructions, obtaining blood work, and interpreting pre-op labs (Frisch et al., 2010, p. 41). More importantly, FNPs do have the knowledge and experience needed to alleviate the state of anxiety in children and their parents before the surgery (Frisch et al., 2010). These findings expand the traditional picture of FNPs roles and functions, as presented in theoretical literature.

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One of the chief questions facing registered nurses is what it takes to become a family nurse practitioner. Poronsky (2013), Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Loyola University, offers an expert opinion on the process of transition from RN to FNP. In Poronskys (2013) view, the shift from being an RN to becoming a FNP is similar to moving from the side to the head of the patients bed. The transition to the new role may be associated with the lack of confidence, increased anxiety, a sense of incompetence, and even conflict (Poronsky, 2013). The lack of awareness of the transition process usually makes it much more complicated for future family nurse practitioners (Poronsky, 2013). Still, Poronsky (2013) claims that FNPs can become important players in reforming the healthcare system in the 21st century. The process of transition to FNP begins when registered nurses enter graduate school, and newly graduated nurses need relevant support and assistance to clarify their roles. As the nursing science develops, FNPs will require greater clarity in fulfilling their professional functions. As a result, researchers and practitioners in advanced nursing care will have to develop more systematic understanding of the roles and functions within the advanced family nursing specialty.

In conclusion, the roles of family nurse practitioners are poorly defined. Some contemporary researchers are focused on the roles played by FNPs in pediatric settings. Others seek to understand the process of transition from RN to FNP in detail. Still, an emerging consensus is that family nurse practitioners are likely to play one of the determining roles in the success of future health care reforms. With the rapid development of advanced nursing practice, nursing scholars and practitioners will need a better view on the roles, functions, and obligations to be fulfilled by FNPs. This advanced nursing specialty will keep attracting professional attention in the nearest future.


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