Family Practice Nurses are nurses who work in family practice settings. They work collaboratively with family doctors, nurse practitioners and other members of the family practice team.
What do FPNs do?
Help manage health issues such as diabetes, asthma, COPD, high blood pressure, smoking,cholesterol and heart disease.

Provide well-baby visits and prenatal care.

Review and update medications.

Perform pap tests.

Provide teaching and support for healthy living. Topics could include healthy eating, physical activity, mental health, and sexual health.

Review and promote health screening.

Provide immunizations, injections, wound care, and more.

What are the benefits of having nurses in family practice?
  • Improved and more timely access to primary care
  • Physicians receive support with complex and time-consuming patients
  • Patients and families get more time with a health professional for education, guidance and counselling
  • Enhanced chronic disease management
  • Comprehensive preventive health maintenance screening
  • Support and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviours
  • Improved screening, early detection and diagnosis
  • Access to two or more health-care providers with complementary strengths and perspectives
  • Comprehensive health records
  • More health care delivered in a cost-effective manner
  • Improved patient outcomes, which decreases costs to the health system in the future
  • Potentially reduced emergency department visits and hospital admissions
  • High career satisfaction for nurses due to greater independence, quality of team interactions and ability to achieve work-life balance
Is there an FPN course?

The Family Practice Nursing Education Program (FPNEP) is designed to prepare registered nurses to work in primary health care settings. This performance-based certification program supports registered nurses to advance their clinical judgment, critical thinking, and clinical leadership in family practice.

Requirements for the FPNEP Program:

  • An active-practicing RN license with the CRNNS.
  • Support by an employer to attain the competencies to practice to optimal scope as a RN in family practice include access to a primary care site to complete clinical experience.
  • Access/training in electronic medical records (EMR) if used in current practice setting.
  • Current Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search may be required prior to clinical.
  • Current Immunization may be required prior to clinical.
  • Registered nurses in any of RNPDC programs which have clinical components require active BLS(c) for HCP. The course can be readily obtained from St. John Ambulance or Heart and Stroke of Nova Scotia. RNPDC requires a copy of your active card on file.

The FPNEP Program is provide by the RNPDC (Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre).

For more information or if you have any questions about this course, please direct them to the RNPDC by following the link below:

My Typical Day - by Jill Morse FPN

I have 4 MD’s with whom I work with on a daily basis.  All have different approaches to patient care so I have learned to become flexible depending on which MD I’m working with.  The doctors value my assessment and opinion on varying aspects of care and are very happy to have me give all the baby needles and most of the gynecology screening to do.  

The day begins with a young lady looking for STI testing and birth control renewal.  This is simple enough for a Family Practice Nurse such as myself.  Swabs are easily obtained, discussion about birth control and various options reviewed.  Next I move on to a happy 2 month old who is receiving their first routine vaccinations, Mom is nervous but easily educated and reassured.  When I finish the vaccines I have a diabetic patient which needs his foot check and risk assessment completed, as well as various other health screens checked relevant to all those with diabetes.  A lady for a routine pap smear follows, she also has a UTI which must be assessed and then diagnosed by the physician I’m working with that day.  The list continues on with wart treatments, BP checks, more paps and birth control counseling.

Each office setting will be different depending on what the needs of the practice are.  We have been successfully providing care for the past 14 years with 2 RN’s and 5 MD’s.  

The video below explains a bit about family practice nursing. It was made by our national association CFPNA.