How family nurse practitioners help to empower women in communities

Family nurse practitioners, or FNPs, are some of the hardest-working medical professionals in their communities.

For millions of people of all ages and from all backgrounds, FNPs provide crucial healthcare guidance, treatments, and even diagnosis.

For women in particular, FNPs can be immensely supportive and inspirational. The typical work of an FNP involves treating children, adults, and older people alike – and given the changing needs of women throughout their lives, these professionals are well-positioned to offer care and guidance at critical times. FNPs provide women with more than medical care and treatment courses.

They’re educators, too – meaning many women rely on them for expert advice on managing sensitive symptoms and navigating big changes in their lives. In this guide, we look at what FNPs do and how they support and empower women through their everyday work.

What is an FNP?

An FNP is a specific type of nurse educated to help people throughout their lives. They typically work with families in community settings and cover a broad range of treatments, diagnostics, and advice. As such, they’re some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated experts people have access to.

An FNP can, for example, help to prescribe medications and treat chronic conditions. They can also support health centers, hospitals, and specific clinics. In some cases, FNPs dedicate themselves to specifically helping women. Many FNPs choose to specialize, which can mean following a specific career and education path in addition to their nursing degrees.

For example, some might choose to venture more into research rather than patient diagnosis. In this case, they’d choose an FNP-BC course over an FNP-C program. If you’d like to know more about the differences between FNP-BC and FNP-C courses, click here for more details from the experts at Carson-Newman University.

Now, let’s explore the ways in which FNPs can support and empower women specifically using their expertise.

They offer compassionate care

“Care” is a broad term used in nursing. However, in this example, it applies to showing empathy and understanding as much as it refers to physically providing medications and treatments. Sensitive points of a woman’s life require open communication, understanding, and the creation of safe spaces. For example, some women might struggle to discuss problems regarding reproductive care, whether they need help during pregnancy or are experiencing menopause.

FNPs offer more than just solutions to problems. Complex female healthcare needs require a genuinely empathetic approach, and these nurses help women process intense situations and know that there is always someone willing to help. Compassionate communication in female healthcare can help to reduce some of the stigma surrounding reproductive health.

Some women might not feel safe or confident talking about sensitive issues regarding their bodies. In this case, an FNP can empower said women by giving them space and time to talk through their concerns, and to provide them with resources. They will also ensure women feel listened to and appreciated and will reassure them that they are discussing concerns in a safe zone.

They can support family planning and the whole reproductive cycle

Family planning is a complex topic for women and female adolescents across the US. Topics such as teenage pregnancy, reproductive cycles, and menopause require open communication and careful planning.

FNPs can, for example, help educate women as they become sexually active for the first time by preparing them with contraceptive choices and to help them understand how their bodies respond. Women who are trying to conceive can also turn to FNPs for advice on how to monitor ovulation, what dietary changes they might need to make, and what to expect should they become pregnant.

Of course, FNPs also support women through their pregnancies, assuring patients that no two are ever the same. As with pre-conception, FNPs can offer advice on how to manage diets and medication, and how to make lifestyle choices that benefit their bodies as well as their children’s.

Women experiencing menopause might feel scared, embarrassed, or even frustrated about the changes they experience later in life. Therefore, it’s important for FNPs to offer guidance on what to expect from symptoms, and how to reduce physical pain and assure them of what happens next. Even if women simply want to know how to manage certain menopause symptoms, with natural remedies, for example, FNPs are on their side.

They provide avenues for women to discuss private matters at length

For many women, FNPs are more than just healthcare providers or drug prescribers. They’re professionals they can confide in at any time and rely upon for education and advice. FNPs are educated broadly in all aspects of female health, which means they’re often fonts of knowledge for women who might struggle to find help elsewhere.

FNPs can help women to plan ahead for treatment and major changes in their lives. They are objective and impartial, meaning women can feel free to discuss any problems they’re experiencing and to ask for advice on how to plan for a family, change their lifestyles, or break free from certain addictions.

In many cases, FNPs offer education as standard, and treatment second. Their scope of treatment can only go so far when it comes to rehabilitation, for example. But that doesn’t mean they can’t give advice to help women see more positive outcomes ahead.

Rather than relying on conflicting and sometimes false online advice, or those of peers, women of all ages can turn to their local FNPs for expert guidance. Even if they simply need someone to talk to about sensitive matters, speaking to an FNP is a healthy outlet for women at all stages of life.

FNPs empower women across the country

FNPs, above all, give women the opportunity to talk about themselves without fear of prejudice or enforcement. In fact, some even inspire women to enter the medical industry themselves and become FNPs later in life.

Regardless, the work of an FNP is more than simply offering diagnoses and delivering medication. They’re active listeners and careful planners for women who need more empowerment and who want to feel more confident about what their bodies are experiencing. For that reason alone, the US needs FNPs more than ever.