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7 Characteristics of a Successful Family Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) concentrates on the specialty and primary care of patients of all age groups. FNPs have great autonomy within the medical sector and possess advanced skillsets to carry out their day-to-day duties. If an FNP role is what you want to go into within nursing, it’s vital that you have the right characteristics before qualifying. With that in mind, here are some key attributes you’ll need to flourish as an FNP.

Excellent Communication

While effective communication is necessary for any role, as an FNP, your communication skills need to be fully developed. During your day, you will deal with a variety of patients, so the language you use needs to differ between who you are treating. Of course, the way you would talk to a child is not how you would speak to an adult. Therefore, knowing how to communicate effectively with patients of all ages is key.

As you gather information from patients, you must ensure you get the right details. You will need to explain what the treatment will look like for the patient, and in some cases, simplify what you’re saying. As well as how you engage with patients, you’ll need to communicate with other professionals in the nursing sector, like doctors. 


If you want to go into a nursing position like a family nurse practitioner, the chances are you’re doing so to help those in need and make a difference. A key part of that is to have compassion and empathy for the patients you treat. Whatever their background or circumstance, being able to identify with their situation and resonating with their problems and illnesses is essential.

Some patients may be more than willing to disclose what is wrong, while others may be reluctant and frightened to be in hospital. Therefore, possessing a calm, warm and welcoming nature can go a long way in putting the patient at ease and helping you deliver the best care possible. 


When working as a family nurse practitioner, it’s your job to read between the lines when analyzing patients. You’ll need to establish whether the patient’s illness is developmental or congenital. To gauge what symptoms your patient is displaying, you’ll need to ask the right questions so you can help them to the best of your ability. If you don’t study a case properly or take the right action, there’s the risk of misdiagnosing a patient.

Analytics and attention to detail are essential traits of any FNP. If you aren’t fulfilling your duties correctly, serious consequences can arise as a result. Therefore, listening to the patient’s needs and thinking outside the box is key for getting to the root cause of their illness.

Time Management

To be a successful FNP, you’re going to need to learn the value of time management. Whatever is on the agenda for your shift, you’ll likely have some tasks that can be prioritized over others. Therefore, using your time effectively will mean you complete what needs to be done in a certain timeframe. When you start a shift, every second matters, so you need to be organized and in control of your duties from start to finish.

Effective management of time enables you to get more work done while producing a higher standard of work. Should you let your duties pile up, this can make it increasingly difficult to catch up and stay on track. As you learn time management skills, you’ll get the most out of your shift and ensure you leave for the day feeling satisfied with what you’ve done. 


Family nurse practitioners interact with patients, their families, and other professional colleagues. If this role sounds right for you, you need to have the confidence and belief in yourself to make decisions, particularly in tough settings and situations. FNPs must take charge and know how to lead a team to success.

In some scenarios, being a leader means working as part of a team and knowing how to delegate tasks responsibly. If you’re managing a team of people, knowing how to lead is essential for gaining respect and recognition. 

Work Well Under Pressure

Many family nurse practitioners work in hospitals. As you would expect, this environment can get incredibly chaotic. As each patient comes in and out of hospital, they’ll all have different needs and behaviors that you need to respect and cope with. For instance, if a patient is in distress or agitated, you’ll need to keep your own stress levels at bay and help them get the right care and support.

FNPs can take on several cases at once, so you’ll need to master the art of multitasking while keeping your cool. You’re bound to have shifts that are easier than others. However, whatever is happening, you must maintain your professionalism, take a deep breath, and know what is expected of you. Working as an FNP will have its ups and downs. One day you may feel fully in control, whereas the next, everything may feel on top of you. Whatever situation you’re in, working well under pressure is a must for any successful FNP.

Core Competencies

Core competencies are ethical standards you must develop to work as a family nurse practitioner. Your competency will determine how well you progress throughout your career. As an FNP, you must have an excellent scientific foundation. The care you give to patients must correlate with hospital policies. These include sanitizing before each check-up, as well as being information and technology literate.

Obviously, you will need to gain certain credentials to operate as an FNP and understand the core competencies. Baylor University has a family nurse practitioner program that can accelerate your career and help you step into this role armed with the right skills, qualifications, and drive to succeed. 

Family nurse practitioners are driven by their passion and commitment to helping others and making a positive difference in their community. If you would like to become an FNP, you must learn and master all the skills above which will set you apart from other candidates and help you carry out your duties correctly and successfully.

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