In nursing school, you learn to use evidence-based care strategies for different populations. The focus of care is specific to a group of people, such as the elderly and the young. Knowing the way to care for your patient will help you become the best nurse in the context of your job.
Becoming a registered nurse
Earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is the first step in fulfilling your goal of medically caring for those who cannot care for themselves. Exceptional medical care can make a world of difference in the outcome for two specific groups of people in particular – the older population and the younger population.
This four-year degree will set you on the path to another degree that specializes in higher-level care for unique populations. Attaining a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Walsh University with a focus on practicing as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is the way to impact medical care and education for young and elderly people.
What FNPs can and cannot do
While doctors and FNPs often work side-by-side to deliver health and medical care to their patients, there are some tasks and responsibilities doctors can do but FNPs cannot.
Both medical providers can do the following:
- They can prescribe medicine to their patients. However, in some states, a doctor must oversee the medications prescribed by the FNP. In most states, the FNP is able to prescribe all medications.
- They can perform physical examinations to determine illnesses, diseases, and mental health issues.
- Both doctors and FNPS can order lab tests and other necessary tests.
The role of Family Nurse Practitioners centers on treating the entire family to work as a healthcare advocate. DNP to FNPs do the following:
- FNPs act as a liaison between the patient, their family, and the primary doctor.
- They assess the health of a patient and establish a healthcare plan to address the problems of the patient.
- They educate the patient on ways to prevent health problems and help them find the assistance they need for medications, therapies, and mental health interventions.
- Many FNPs play a vital role in primary care for young people and older people.
Nursing strategies for elderly populations
Dealing with an aging patient requires time and patience. However, having great communication with your elderly patients has been scientifically proven to improve the likelihood of their taking medications properly and offers better outcomes.
Some strategies to use with elderly populations are:
- Always address an older patient respectfully.
- Take the time to explain details to them and answer their questions.
- Try to communicate medical and care instructions to another family member, too.
- Ensure they have comfortable seating when you discuss their concerns and care.
- Do your best not to rush as older people are often hard of hearing and slow-moving.
- Actively listen to them and ask questions to clarify your understanding.
- Show empathy for them by expressing that you understand their difficulties.
- Try not to use medical jargon; instead, use ordinary language they are more likely to understand.
- Be cautious when using labels like dementia or cancer.
Nursing strategies for young people
Keep in mind that when you are working with pediatric patients, you are also working with their parents. Many children are nervous about going to the doctor, so you should do all you can to put them at ease. Use some of the following nursing strategies as you work with young patients:
- Try to build a rapport with them and their parents by talking to them about something they like or enjoy.
- Create a comfortable exam environment. Be sure your exam tables are comfortable, the chairs are clean and comfortable, and the temperature is not too warm or cold.
- Decorate the exam rooms with age-appropriate paintings, murals, and colors.
- Explain clearly what will happen in the appointment.
- Be sure to talk to the pediatric patient as well as the caregiver.
- Use understandable language.
- Sit down while you talk to them so they feel less intimidated.
Careers for Family Nurse Practitioners
With a DNP to FNP degree, you can work in a wide variety of settings. Part of the appeal of this medical qualification is the ability to move around in the medical field as a practitioner. Here are some careers you can have as an FNP.
Emergency rooms or urgent care
When you prefer to have a wide range of cases throughout the day, a job in an emergency room or urgent care could be ideal. In these environments, you never know what wound, illness, or emergency you will see next. You have to be able to make fast decisions in some cases.
In this work context, you would perform many of the same duties as a doctor. You can assess injuries, treat illnesses, and prescribe medications. This medical facility offers both routine examinations and emergency visits.
Community health centers
Working in a community health center can be ideal, especially if you speak a second language. Many community health centers provide generalized care to a diverse population. As a family nurse practitioner in this medical environment, you would have a variety of duties, including:
- Providing clinical assessments of illnesses, diseases, and psycho-social issues.
- Provide health education and instruction to patients for sickness and disease prevention.
- Helping patients locate specialized medical help when they need it.
- Assisting patients by creating a treatment plan.
When you enjoy helping those who are less fortunate, this is the ideal place to be.
School nurses and clinics
Family nurse practitioners are essential to students from primary schools to universities who need a medical provider to diagnose illnesses and health conditions and provide effective treatment plans. This environment fills a critical gap in healthcare for young people. You build relationships with patients as you monitor their long-term care.
Many family nurse practitioners like the flexible hours of a retail clinic, such as those found in some drugstore chains. This position is similar to working in a doctor’s office since patients have appointments, and the FNP sees certain types of health problems.
Working in this clinic type can be ideal for those FNPs who want to work part-time or have flexible work schedules.
Prisoners in correctional facilities need good medical care, and a family nurse practitioner can be perfect for this setting. As an FNP in a prison, you would perform the following duties:
- Optimize healthcare for inmates by diagnosing and treating illnesses, diseases, and mental health problems.
- Advocate for inmates when they need further care in a hospital.
- Educate the prison population on good health choices, such as eating healthy food and exercising.
This is a challenging work environment, and a field that is growing quickly. You must give your patients compassionate treatment and provide the best care despite their history.
Private physician’s office
There is a shortage of licensed family doctors, and family nurse practitioners can fill that void. This is especially true in rural areas.
Family nurse practitioners allow physician’s offices to take on more patients since the FNP focus is on whole family care. The FNP role is to deliver a more holistic approach to illnesses and diseases within a family, aiming to improve the health of the entire family unit.
Family nurse practitioners can handle many of the routine visits, freeing the doctors to treat more complex cases. This can create a wonderful team that benefits many patients.
Pediatric physician’s office
Working in a pediatric physician’s office is perfect when you love to be around children. Many times, children and their parents feel less intimidated by a family nurse practitioner. The outlook is bright for FNPs who love interacting with children and teens.
Be prepared to manage and prevent pediatric illnesses and chronic conditions. You will be the primary medical practitioner in a pediatric office, with patients ranging from newborns to young adults.
Skilled nursing facilities
Working with the aging population can offer many opportunities. You perform all components of a medical assessment, provide follow-up care, and act as a first-line medical provider for older patients. You assist sick patients and approve patients who are ready to go home.
Becoming a family nurse practitioner with a Doctor of Nurse Practitioner degree gives you an excellent career path. The demand for DNP to FNP providers is a fast-growing segment of the medical profession. Your skills will transfer to many medical environments, but most FNPs work with families.
Family nurse practitioners work most frequently with the elderly and young population. These two groups need medical providers who are patient and good communicators, and who are able to clinically assess them and develop effective medical plans.
You can look forward to caring for a family over time, from newborns to the older generation. This is one of the few medical professions that offer such longevity in medical care.