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Family Nurse Practitioners’ Scope and Qualifications

Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) are accountable for providing health care to people in the context of their community, paying close attention to the prevention of diseases. FNPs tend to patients of different genders, disease backgrounds, and ages, and hence require an extensive and certified knowledge base. FNP education, thus, becomes not a one-time goal but a constant endeavor, relying both on the furthering of their theoretical knowledge base and the implementation of theory in practice.

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Educational Requirements

The systems of knowledge evaluation have evolved for different healthcare professions, with the need for specialized care stimulating the number of individuals pursuing a medical career. A study by Rounds, Zych, and Mallary (2013) states that “this rapid development of specialties has resulted in a lack of uniform criteria for appropriate credentials, scopes of practice, and interstate regulation” (p. 180). Since FNPs deal with a variety of health issues, their examination should reflect their readiness in a variety of medical situations.

The required qualifications for nursing practitioners, hence, vary, drawing upon different knowledge bases and demanding slightly varying capabilities from those attempting the exams. Taking as an example the American Nurses Credential Center, it can be seen from their website that the “FNP certification examination is an entry-level competency-based examination” (“Family Nurse Practitioner Certification,” 2018).

At the same time, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nurse practitioners should always strive to further their education, while requiring a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) as a terminal degree (“APRN Education,” 2018). Nonetheless, this discrepancy in testing and certification creates an unstable situation for those seeking aid within the healthcare system, as well as those active within it (Rounds, Zych, & Mallary, 2013). Therefore, the creation of a unified examination would be beneficial to those seeking to pursue a career in FNP or advanced practice registered nursing.

Scope of practice

The healthcare capacity of FNPs defines the needed examinations, and their practice range adheres to specific rules and regulations, restricting them to certain practices. A list on the website of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board enumerates the knowledge areas of FNPs starting from the promotion of health and including methods up to epidemiological principles and therapeutic communication (“Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – AANPCB,” 2018). Thus, once again, the extent of the responsibilities of FNPs encompasses a vast degree of duty before a diverse population.

FNPs do not define their capacity by themselves, but by rules and regulations, just as their capability requires appropriate authorized certification. Legislation restrictions often negatively affect FNP ability to be competent actors in the health care system, especially if moving from state to state (Hain & Fleck, 2014). Different states requiring certain attestation and imposing various rules influence the state-by-state cost of health care in the same manner as certification variations.

The state role in setting practice rules may have the best interests of FNPs and patients in mind but requires a uniform approach. The purpose of the World Health Organization, in this scenario, is responsible for creating international guidelines to strengthen not only the expertise of nurses but their status and practicing capacity (“Nursing and midwifery,” 2018). Hence, the function of such an organization is to set independent guidelines and prevent FNPs from overusing their authority, while at the same time shielding them from overextension and upholding them to a worldwide standard.

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While the system of FNP certification may require unification to provide adequate health care, the existing current system does not cause significant setbacks and allows for the creation of specialized professionals. The interaction of FNPs with patients from newborns to aging citizens calls for their acquiring of an extensive knowledge base and the existence of a specific scope-of-practice regulation. Thus, the practice of FNPs is closely tied not only with healthcare regulations but also with a legislature that may limit their authority.


APRN Education. (2018). 

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – AANPCB. (2018). 

Family Nurse Practitioner Certification. (2018). 

Hain, D., & Fleck, L. (2014). Barriers to NP practice that impact healthcare redesign. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 19(2). Web.

Nursing and midwifery – WHO Global Strategic Directions for Strengthening Nursing and Midwifery 2016–2020. (2018). Web.

Rounds, L., Zych, J., & Mallary, L. (2013). The consensus model for regulation of APRNs: Implications for nurse practitioners. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 25(4), 180-185. Web.

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