Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

The Varied Roles of a Family Nurse Practitioner

Learn about the many roles of a family nurse practitioner and how this advanced nursing practice is one of the many in-demand career paths in the healthcare field.

Primary care providers must be equipped to treat patients with many different kinds of medical needs—from newborns to older adults. And family nurse practitioners (FNPs) possess the diverse skill set to care for patients across this wide spectrum.

FNPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who can work in a variety of healthcare environments and have a broad scope of practice.


Becoming a family nurse practitioner requires education, experience, and the proper certifications. According to, these requirements include licensure and real-world experience as a registered nurse, an advanced education degree such as an Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and FNP certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).1

FNPs are a valuable asset as the needs of an aging baby boom population put added stress on the healthcare system. For those interested in a family nurse practitioner specialization, let’s explore the varied roles of an FNP.

Patient Care

The main role of an FNP is to provide patient care. This can include a wide range of primary care duties, including providing wellness exams, treating illness and injury, developing treatment plans, and prescribing medications. FNPs can also diagnose conditions, treat both acute and chronic illness, and assist in surgical procedures.


In addition to providing patient care, FNPs can also educate families on a variety of topics, including developing healthy habits and how to prevent disease. Through education, FNPs can build strong relationships with their patients and further enhance their well-being.

Patient Records

Depending on the work setting and job role, FNPs may also be responsible for maintaining patient records. Part of their duties could include updating patient health histories, recording health decisions and agreed-upon actions, and listing any prescriptions or treatments the patient has had.

Working Independently

While FNPs often work under the supervision of a physician, some states allow them to work independently and serve as primary care providers. If you’re interested in taking this route, acquiring knowledge in business is also recommended.

Family nurse practitioner jobs offer a rewarding and challenging career path for any healthcare professional. Not only can this advanced role be multifaceted and personally fulfilling, but family nurse practitioners also have a strong job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of nurse practitioners is expected to grow 52% from 2020 to 2030, adding about 114,900 jobs.2

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a family nurse practitioner, Walden University offers a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization in its online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. Prepare yourself with the skills to manage disease prevention, health promotion, health maintenance, and restorative care. The program’s evidence-based practice approach to health and wellness can give you the knowledge you need to increase positive outcomes for all patients.

Walden University Practicum Pledge
Walden University understands that finding a site or preceptor can be challenging and we are dedicated to supporting you at every step of the way to ensure a timely and successful placement. Walden University Practicum Pledge creates a collaborative search process between our MSN NP and DNP NP students and our large network of field sites and preceptors. If after several tries you’re unable to identify your own site and preceptor, we pledge to help match you with a preceptor and site. We’ve added a dedicated Field Placement Team to explain the process and requirements and proactively partner with you to offer site and preceptor matching. The Walden University Practicum Pledge gives our students added confidence as they embark on their NP journey.

Walden University is an HLC-accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Note on licensure: Walden’s MSN nurse practitioner specializations are designed to academically prepare graduates with an active registered nurse (RN) license to practice in the U.S. as nurse practitioners. However, each state has its own academic preparation and authority to practice requirements and issues its own license for an RN to be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner in that state. Learn more about professional licensure.

No graduate program can guarantee that graduates will obtain licensure to practice as a nurse practitioner. We encourage students to consult the appropriate board of nursing or regulatory authority in the states or jurisdictions in which they reside or intend to seek licensure to determine specific requirements. Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide information relating to licensure; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to licensure for the state in which they intend to practice, as requirements vary widely.

Note on certification: Walden’s MSN program is designed to academically prepare graduates to apply for national certification. Walden makes no representations or guarantees that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to achieve national certification. We encourage students to consult an appropriate certifying body for the specific certification eligibility requirements. Students should also consult their state board of nursing or other state agency to determine what certifications are required or accepted in that state. It is an individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification, as requirements vary widely. For more information about nurse practitioner certification exams, students should visit the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board at, the American Nurses Credentialing Center at, or other nurse practitioner certification websites.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,