The role of nurses has evolved significantly in recent years. They are no longer just responsible for taking care of patients but are also involved in advocating, developing, and educating various aspects of healthcare. Nursing is one of the most flourishing professions today, with opportunities to build careers in management positions and patient care. However, having too many options can result in a paradox of choice, so you can avoid making the wrong decision with proper research.
Below, we have discussed the roles of AGNPs and FNPs, their differences and similarities, and which is the right profession for you.
The Roles of AGNPs and FNPs
With advancements in medicine and the development of new treatment regimens, the life expectancy of individuals has considerably increased. Due to this, a more significant number of people will live to an older age. Hence the healthcare sector must meet the needs of a rapidly aging population. To fill this widening gap, specialists for geriatric health are in high demand to provide quality care to the patients and improve medical resources.
Adult gerontological nurse practitioners or AGNPs focus on providing care and treatment to adults of old age to the end of life. Nurses interested in pursuing a career in this field can enroll in advanced degree programs like an AGACNP master’s degree. Adult gerontological acute care nurse practitioners (AGACNPs) are more specific in their roles in diagnosing and treating older patients with chronic illnesses or critical health conditions. Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, blindness, pneumonia, or heart disease are all regarded as dementia.
These nurses may monitor patient vitals and work with physicians to develop personalized treatment plans. Besides this, an AGNP commonly administers medication and assists in routine tasks like bathing, eating, walking, or dressing. They work in multiple healthcare settings such as:
- Long-term care facilities
- Intensive care units
- Private practices
- Rehabilitation centers
- Outpatient care facilities
On the other hand, family nurse practitioners or FNPs provide a wide range of medical services to individuals of all ages, from infants and adolescents to adults and seniors. In addition, they play a vital role in providing proper healthcare resources to their patients. FNPs often work as intermediaries between a physician and the patient to collect data, provide information, and answer any patient concerns. They have the knowledge to diagnose and treat illnesses, and depending on the setting they work in, FNPs can even prescribe medication. They may work independently or in collaboration with other healthcare workers in various workplace settings, including:
- Private practices
- Health departments
- Rural clinics
How are the two nursing professions similar?
There are plenty of similarities between the two professions. Both AGNPs and FNPs have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide primary care to patients. They can diagnose and treat their patients without any supervision from a doctor. However, occasionally when patient care exceeds their expertise, they may collaborate with physicians or other healthcare professionals. By reading and interpreting lab reports and other data, they can develop effective treatment plans for their patients.
Both professions have similar educational requirements because prospective candidates must first become registered nurses to pursue a career as either one of them.
Additionally, AGNPs and FNPs must have specific skills in analytical thinking, critical thinking, time management, and effective communication.
How are the two nursing professions different?
Although the primary job responsibilities of both professions are pretty similar, several differences set the two apart. While an AGNP specializes in comprehensive healthcare for individuals from adolescence to old age only, FNPs look after patients of all age groups, including infants.
Since they don’t work with children, AGNPs don’t require pediatrics expertise and may work in acute care or primary care. However, FNPs must have the knowledge and skills to work with children. Because of this, they tend to have greater flexibility in switching fields of practice later on in their careers.
Which profession should you choose?
The healthcare sector is growing more complex by the day, and many nurses now want to specialize in one particular area of nursing. With plenty of benefits like increased respect and recognition, better job security, improved career satisfaction, and increased salaries—everyone is looking to find the right specialization for them.
AGNP and FNP are two of the most in-demand nursing specializations today. Now that you know what both professions entail, it’s time to decide which of the two disciplines you want to pursue.
To determine the perfect specialty for you, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to avoid making the wrong decision.
- What are your interests?
Each nursing specialization comes with a particular environment and pace. It’s best to choose one that harmonizes with your style to allow you to fit in comfortably. It also ensures you work at an optimum level and give the best possible effort while caring for patients.
- What are your strengths?
While some people work best in leadership roles and teams, others perform better independently. If you thrive under pressure and constantly look for a new challenge, you may serve better as an FNP. But if you enjoy slow-paced, systematic work, pursuing an AGNP career may be the right option.
- What options are available?
After figuring out where your interests lie, you will have to look up which options are accessible to you. It’s not just the physical location that matters, but also the duration of a program and the flexibility of classes can make a significant difference. Fortunately, the advent of remote learning has opened doors to easily accessible programs right at your fingertips. Online courses save time and money and allow you to attend classes at your own pace without compromising your work or personal life.
- What job setting best suits you?
Nurses with advanced professional degrees work in many non-hospital settings like physicians’ offices, clinics, schools, public health departments, or rehab centers. The responsibilities, working hours, and salaries may vary depending on these settings. So before choosing a specialty, first consider which job setting is most relevant to your career path.
- What is the job market?
The job market for each nursing profession varies depending on where you plan to work. If you do not plan on relocating, choose a field in greater demand where you live.
The healthcare sector is undergoing rapid changes, and health professionals must keep up with these changes. Are you interested in becoming an AGNP or FNP? Enroll in an advanced degree program. Either of these nursing professions will open the door to many opportunities and help you excel.