Family Nurse Salary and Career Opportunities
Family nursing is a specialty that encompasses many responsibilities. These nurses meet family health needs through medical assessments, guidance, teaching, counseling, and direct care. They treat family members of all ages. Often they implement interventions to improve the health of both a family member and the family unit.
All family nurses are registered nurses (RNs). The demand for RNs is strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS ), the outlook for this profession includes 19 percent growth – faster than average – between 2012 and 2022. The median RN salary in 2012 was $65,470.
Nurses in specialties typically have a higher average salary. Most family nurses are RNs who have become family nurse practitioners (NPs), or advanced practice nurses. Johnson & Johnson reports that these NPs earn an average salary of up to $85,000 a year. BLS quotes 2012 median compensation for a U.S. NP as $96,460.
According to Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences , many hard-to-fill family NP positions top a salary with lucrative bonuses and benefits.
Paths to Increase Family Nursing Salary
The first step to a family nursing career is becoming an RN. Candidates complete a two- or four-year academic program or three years of hospital-based training. They must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN, for licensing in each state.
A majority of family nurses advance their careers by becoming family nurse practitioners. Family NPs often assume duties typically performed by a doctor, including writing prescriptions and ordering laboratory tests. They are often part of a team that's less focused on patient-centered treatment than on taking care of the entire family, Nursing Theory explains. Becoming a family NP requires at least a master’s degree in nursing, with a number of such programs available online.
Obtaining family practice board certification (FNP-BC) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center is an additional way to increase salary. Family nurses who want to advance their careers by becoming nursing educators often complete a doctorate in nursing. Others enjoy the freedom and increased income of owning their own practices or serving as consultants.
It’s also possible increase family nursing salary by accepting per diem of travel jobs. Many employers are willing to offer incentives to help cover relocation and housing costs.
Those already in family nursing careers might have an interest in using their skills in these related specialties:
- Hospice nurses care for terminally ill patients both in their homes and in medical facilities. Their duties include not only hands-on patient care, but also dealing with family dynamics when a member has a terminal illness.
- Nurse midwives provide more than routine gynecological care and delivering babies. They assess family needs and preferences regarding an upcoming birth. This typically includes helping prospective parents determine whether they want to experience a home birth or one in a particular type of facility.
- Community health nurses are sometimes called public health nurses. Some operate clinics that provide preventive health care to families. Others work as school nurses, keeping schools safe, maintaining student records, and communicating with families when student health issues arise.
Further Your Career
Family nursing professionals are in an ideal situation as far as demand and ways to increase their earnings. They can take advantage of opportunities in hospitals, hospice center, schools, clinics, medical offices, and homes and have the chance to provide both primary and preventive care. They perform specialized work, have a great deal of responsibility, and as a result, are rewarded accordingly. The future is a bright one for professionals hoping to boost their family nursing salaries.
Vonda J. Sines is a freelance writer based in the Washington, DC area. She specializes in health/medical, career, and pet topics and writes extensively about Crohn's disease. Her work has been published at EverydayHealth, Lifescript, womansday.com, Yahoo! Health, Catholic Digest, Angie's List Health, and on many more sites.