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Future of Women's Health NP or Family Primary Care NP?

Amtrojan Amtrojan (New) New

I am almost finished with nursing school and I know I want to go into L&D or Post-partum right away due to experience and connections with staff.

I do want want to pursue higher education after a few years and wondered what the job outlook and a typical day was for Women's Health Nurse Practitioner vs Family Nurse Practitioner.

Cal State Fullerton and UCSF offers WHNP and tons of schools offer FNP.

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 34 years experience.

In my experience, WHNPs work primarily in the office/clinic setting caring for well women, or addressing acute or on-going care needs. When I moved to my current home 12 years ago, I started seeing a Women's Health NP and have never looked back. She does my yearly exams, contraceptive care, and is available for other care needs that can be met within the confines of an OB-GYN practice. For example, she treats minor illnesses and manages my migraines but won't address orthopedic injuries.

I maintain a relationship with my family practice doctor, but rarely see her anymore because her practice has grown so much that it is hard to get an appointment with her. She also has an NP in her office who sees a full range of patients from infant well and sick visits to elderly folks. That office will address virtually any health issue, so it is indeed "one stop shopping" for our family. Unfortunately, I don't care for the NP, so I only go there if there is an issue that I know the WHNP in the OB-GYN practice won't address, like my Achilles Tendon injury.

I think your answer will lie in the range of patients you desire to see and treat.

Thank you so much for your response. I'm glad you are able to trust your WHNP with your care. I think I would like to focus on OB GYN patients.

Amtrojan if you end up really loving L&D you could also look into the CNM role for your future studies.


Has 10 years experience.

If you want to go into women's health, get your WHNP or CNM (or both, very easy to get both). If you don't care what area of nursing you are in, get your FNP.

You are probably asking "Why get a CNM and WHNP?". Two reasons:

1. Even if you never deliver one baby as a CNM, you'll get a far more comprehensive education on how the prenatal care works, complications (that you have to be able to recognize and refer to the MD), and hands-on experience with delivery. I think that beats reading about it any day of the week.

2. WHNP because many CNMs have issues with billing for GYN services as a CNM. This is payor specific.

I am not bashing FNPs as they are very needed in our healthcare system, but many clinics hospitals have them working in areas that are way beyond the education/training that you receive in school. Way too many working in high-acuity areas. In FNP programs women's health/OB is ONE semester. Most CNM or WHNP programs are two years plus with 600 to 700 clinical hours only in that area of study. That should tell you something right there.

I have even seen FNPs working for MFMs which to me, is so far out of their scope it would make malpractice insurance worthless. Georgia is no longer permitting FNPs to work in acute care at hospitalists unless you have national certification as an ACNP. My state is getting ready to pass a measure not permitting FNPs to serve in a mental health NP role as there is also, national certification available in that area. You have to remember, just because an employer will hire you for a position, doesn't necessarily mean you are qualified to take it, or should.

Yes, there are tons of job available especially if you are willing to move.