There is a wide range of specialties within the nursing profession that it is possible to specialize in. Becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP) means dealing with the family unit as a client and simultaneously handling the family members as individual clients. As an FNP, it is necessary to have the required skills to provide exemplary nursing services. What are the exact skills required for an individual to become a great nurse practitioner who offers exemplary family nursing services? You can find out the answers to this question below.

Assessment skills

Nursing is one of the healthcare professions that require thorough assessment skills. As an FNP deals with different family members, regardless of their age, it is key that the nurse is well-equipped with assessment skills. The FNP must use various assessment techniques, including inspection, auscultation, percussion and palpation. The assessment skills employed in family nursing should meet the required standards as it is highly likely that the FNP will interact with the family members first, especially if offering home-based care, before they visit the hospital.

Time management skills

There is a famous adage that says ‘time is money’. FNPs are required to attend to all the members of the family at a specific time. As one nurse can have different families as clients, it is important to have time management skills. This will help them to attend to their clients well at the scheduled time without rushing. For families with very varied age differences among the members, the family members’ schedules will be different. Therefore, getting to the family members at a specific time may be hard considering the schedules of students or those who work different shifts. Time management skills also help the FNP attend to separate members of the same families as required or different families according to the schedule.

Communication skills

Communication skills are one of the core skills that nurse practitioners should have. Communication for an FNP is more than just an exchange of words with family members. It includes observing the family members, especially those of extreme age, such as toddlers and the elderly, for their non-verbal cues, mostly of pain or discomfort. Communication is also important when working with children with developmental disorders and adolescents who sometimes may not communicate effectively about their needs and wants.

Communication skills are also important for an FNP because they are essential in establishing and maintaining the care plan. It is also important to collaborate with the family doctor. A nurse practitioner must have effective written and verbal communication skills, whether they are attending to the family at home or within a healthcare setup.


Most people say that nursing is a career driven by passion, but that is subject to an individual’s perception of career choices. All FNPs must be passionate about their career and empathetic as this will help them when attending to their clients. FNPs must also be compassionate communicators. When they can empathize with the family members, they can care for them holistically. Empathy is, therefore, a highly valued skill not only among family nurses but also among other advanced nurse practitioners.

Analytical and diagnostic skills

FNPs should have good analytical and diagnostic skills when attending to their clients. As FNPs can work at community health centers and offer home-based care, they are likely to interact with patients first. Therefore they need strong analytical skills and diagnostic skills. It is acknowledged by the healthcare providers and the family members that sometimes they may have to get to the hospital to have laboratory tests done for their diagnosis. However, competent FNPs should be able to clearly analyze the history and information given to them by the clients and give possible diagnoses, if not an actual diagnosis.

Analyzing the symptoms and history and formulating a diagnosis helps to establish the initial plan of care. Once the plan of care is established, it is easy to stabilize the client as they seek further treatment. This important step can prevent complications or even save a life.

Moral and ethical uprightness

A nursing career is guided by a code of ethics, an important aspect of family nursing practice. Upholding individual values and morals helps both the nurse and the family members of the patient to set boundaries. It’s of utmost importance to consider the patient above all else. The nursing code of ethics helps all nurses create a healthy environment and promote patient care. The code of ethics includes ethical considerations such as non-maleficence, benevolence, autonomy, and privacy. FNP programs prepare students with the knowledge and practices needed to be a successful FNP and offer expert advice on navigating ethical and moral dilemmas that occur on the job.

Organizational skills

FNPs need to be highly organized as they handle a lot of data and information on the family members. They need to stay organized as the data of one family should not be mistaken for the data of another family. The data of individual family members should equally be safely stored. Whether handling and processing the data through online platforms or through manual writing and printing, FNPs need to be organized.


There are many benefits to developing analytical and organizational skills when working as an FNP. Firstly, FNPs who hone their current skillset can continueproviding excellent patient care, thus positively impacting vulnerable patients’ lives. Qualified FNPs who have developed their skills at accredited online degree programs, such as the one offered by Carson-Newman University, can hope to increase their potential earnings with an FNP salary. FNP graduates can implement their new expertise in the medical world when practicing. They can even continue studying in a doctorate program with the hopes of further increasing their earnings while helping the welfare of members of their community.


The skills required to be a successful FNP are varied and are not limited to those outlined above. These skills help the nurse care for the family and the family members well and enable them to be competent and work in a healthy environment.