Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner: All you Need to Know

If you are thinking about studying to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, then you have come to the right place.

From finding out the relevant qualifications you will need to become an FNP to the current state of the market in this particular field, there is a lot to consider and know. Like, how much could you earn? What does it take to succeed? It is a challenging role, but it is also very rewarding. You need to determine whether this is the career for you, as well as how to go about studying for becoming a nurse. Continue reading for everything you need to know to become an FNP.

What is the role of a Family Nurse Practitioner?

As a Family Nurse Practitioner, or FNP for short, you will be responsible for working with patients, both children and adults, to maintain their health and overall wellbeing on a long-term basis. Your main focus will be on preventative care, but you will also be required to treat minor acute illnesses when necessary.

The types of patients that you work with can be extremely diverse and, therefore, you need to feel confident and competent in dealing with people from all walks of life; all races, ages, and genders. You will need to practice your people skills and how to communicate well, as a lot of the job is speaking to people and showing empathy.

Many FNPs work with underserved communities. You need to be able to communicate effectively with these patients by having a thorough understanding of the local community and the people within it.

Long-term care means that you will become very involved with the families that you work with, a factor that many FNP’s find very rewarding. However, this also means that you must ensure that you act compassionately at all times, as well as remembering specific health details of all members of each family.

The key is in building up a rapport and a high level of trust with your patients. This can be a lengthy process, but once it is done, you will have a bond with your patients like no other.

What is it like being an FNP?

Being an FNP is an exciting and varied job that is very patient-focused. Some of the tasks you may be required to carry out include:

– Conducting routine physical examinations

– Assessing and diagnosing health conditions

– Creating and implementing treatment plans

– Providing primary healthcare

– Prescribing medications

– Assisting in minor surgeries

– Ordering diagnostic tests

– Making referrals to other healthcare professionals where needed

– Working independently

You also have to be ready to be working in several different environments, unlike an RN, who would work predominately in a hospital setting.

You have the opportunity to work in a number of environments, meaning you get to experience a change of scenery but also meet many new people. Expect to work in:

– Clinics

– Private practices

– Hospices

– School clinics

– A patient’s homes

– Local community centers

– Health centers run by nurses

What are the key personality traits needed to become an FNP?

As with any nursing role, a duty of care is of the utmost importance, however, as an FNP, you need to have several specific personality traits in order to deal with the demands of the job and be able to communicate and look after your patients effectively.

These include:

– Excellent communication skills – This relates to people of all backgrounds, creeds and ages. There is no room for judgment or bias as an FNP.

– Compassion – As with all nursing professions, you need to be able to show compassion to your patients, whatever their circumstances.

– Organizational skills – You need to be very organized to be an FNP. You may be dealing with several families that span back many generations, and you need to be able to track their health issues over time. Losing your notes is not an option.

– Detail-oriented – You will be required to analyze large amounts of data as well as having to think critically; therefore, being able to pay attention to details is crucial.

– Confident – you need to be able to feel confident in your abilities and in your decision making; otherwise, your patients will not be able to trust you and may feel unsafe.

– Ability to work independently – If you tend to need the approval of your boss before making a decision, then a career as an FNP may not be right for you. You will often be working alone and will need to be able to work independently without reassurance.

– Resourcefulness – You must be able to think quickly on your feet and find the appropriate solutions for your patient’s problems.

– Deal with a moderate amount of stress. Being an FNP is less stressful than being an RN, however, you will still need to be able to deal with some stress, so you need to be able to stay calm and carry on with your job regardless.

What are the requirements needed to become an FNP?

The difference between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Nurse Practitioner (NP) is in both experience and qualifications.

In order to qualify, you must at the very minimum, have a master’s degree in Nursing and then you can choose a program that focuses on your chosen area of expertise.

Areas you may wish to consider include;

– Family nursing intervention

– Managing acute and chronic illnesses

– Research

– Primary healthcare concerns

If you are a working nurse with family commitments, then the best option for you is to look for an ADN to MSN program which will allow you to move quickly into a higher level of education. This means you can, in turn, achieve a higher paid career as an FNP much quicker.

Online programs are ideal as you can study around your commitments and will be given a clinical placement in your area. You do not need to travel far to gain the necessary experience.

These courses are flexible, cost-effective and can be completed in two years, allowing you to achieve your career goals faster without it having a detrimental effect on your current nursing role or your family commitments.

What is the career outlook for an FNP?

Of course, with any career change, you want to know how safe and secure your chosen job role is. Is there a demand for the role, will you be paid enough to make the progression worth your while, and what is the prediction for the future of your role?

All of these are important questions, and luckily, the answers are all positive. Check out the stats below to put your mind at peace.

Family Nurse Practitioners are in demand with:

36% projected job growth by 2026

56,100 new nurse practitioner jobs are expected to be created

Family Nurse Practitioners are paid well with:

The average salary of a fulltime NP being $109,021

Roughly $35,500 more than a fulltime RN

With the growing age of the population not slowing down anytime soon, there will always be a growing need for nurse practitioners This profession is one of the most reliable and solid ones around. If being an FNP is already appealing, then this stability and career growth can tick a few more boxes.

Why FNP’s specifically?  

The national healthcare system is always looking at ways to cut costs, and employing more FNP’s is a great way to do this.


Because advanced practice nurses like FNP’s have the ability to provide high-quality healthcare to the masses, often preventing further treatment being needed, saving money in the long run.

Are Family Nurse Practitioners satisfied in their jobs?

Job security and financial benefits aside, before embarking on a new career path, you may be interested to know if the majority of the workforce are happy in their jobs on a day to day basis. With any career you choose, you need to ensure that you will be happy with it. After all, a career can last a lifetime.

FNP’s are in the top 5 best healthcare jobs in terms of job satisfaction

FNP’s are in the top 7 of the best jobs overall in terms of job satisfaction

Why is this?

When asked, the FNP’s within the survey stated the below reasons for being satisfied with their job:

– The ability to work within their own community

– The ability to make a difference in said community

– The ability to actively see the difference that they have made to a patient’s life

– The ability to define their own practice

– The ability to be a primary care provider

– The ability to work independently and without being micromanaged

Hopefully, the above information will have helped you decide if a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner is the right career progression for you. If not, there are many other medical careers to consider.

If you are still in doubt, speak to your current employer and your peers about the role, or reach out to an online university to make initial inquiries. You do not need to make a finite decision right away; but at the very least, take a step towards your exciting and rewarding career as an FNP; you never know, it may be the best decision you ever make.



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