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What Is an FNP-BC and What Do They Do?

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A nurse practitioner (NP) provides primary and specialty healthcare by assessing and diagnosing patients, ordering lab tests, prescribing medications, and managing health conditions. There are several specialty areas that NPs can pursue, such as nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, psychiatric and mental health, oncology, and pediatric health. Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) specialize in adult and child health care beyond the capabilities of Registered Nurses (RNs). FNPs serve in a primary care capacity due to their advanced education and certification.

What does the “BC” in FNP-BC mean?

You must successfully pass a competency-based examination that assesses your clinical knowledge and skills as a nurse practitioner. You need to complete the eligibility requirements for the Family Nurse Practitioner board certification exam and pass the exam to earn your credential. The Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (FNP-BC) credential is valid for five years and can be renewed, assuming you meet the renewal requirements.

What is the role of an FNP?


FNPs play a vital role in providing quality family-focused patient care. According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), more than half of those who choose a career as a general NP specialize in family medicine. FNPs specialize in family health care needs and liaison between doctors and patients. Any licensed registered nurse (RN) with work experience and a graduate degree can pursue a career as a nurse practitioner. After earning an advanced degree, you can obtain NP certification in your chosen specialty. NPs enjoy more professional autonomy than RNs and treat their own patients in clinics.

Pursuing an advanced degree is a great way to advance your career, but studying while working full-time is challenging. An online nursing program from Wilkes University offers the flexibility to learn a new specialty while working. The college of nursing offers nurse practitioner concentrations in Psychiatric/Mental Health, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, and Family. Applicants can enter the program through three entrance points—Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) to Master of Science-Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioners, and Post-Graduate/APRN Certificate.

Students who choose the Family Nurse Practitioner track will learn about health promotion, protection, and disease prevention, as well as clinical decision-making and diagnostic reasoning. Students who complete the FNP program will be poised to take the FNP-BC exam.

Duties and Responsibilities

Duties and Responsibilities

Nurse practitioners are responsible for conducting health assessments, taking complete medical and psychosocial histories, and recording symptoms. They examine patients to arrive at diagnoses and create treatment plans including prescribing medications and therapies. NPs work closely with patients to educate them about healthy habits that will prevent diseases and promote good health. They also order and read lab test results, collaborate with other healthcare professionals, and keep up with the progress of treatment plans.

Machine learning (ML) and Artificial intelligence (AI) are being applied to technologies across a variety of industries. ML gives computer systems the ability to learn from their experiences analyzing large datasets without human intervention. There are two categories of the machine learning model: supervised and unsupervised learning. Supervised learning algorithms allow programs to apply concepts learned to new data through pattern recognition and labeled examples. This method uses training data to teach the machine how to perform a task. Unsupervised learning algorithms use non-labeled data and unstructured data sets to learn how to perform complex tasks. Several machine learning modes fall within each machine learning model.

Health care has plenty of use cases for machine learning, from scanning test results and creating neural networks to gaining deeper insights into the mind. In some cases, machines are used to make a medical diagnosis. Future Insights provides other practical examples of supervised learning and unsupervised learning. Classification, image recognition, video surveillance, news coverage, financial security, computer speech recognition, transportation, retail and service, and social media are some common applications of machine learning.

Pursing a career in nursing can be a gratifying career for those who are passionate about providing quality patient care. The first step toward becoming an FNP-BC is to become an RN and earn the necessary advanced degree that will prepare you to sit and pass the FNP board certification exam.

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