Home Job Education What are some non-medical skills you can gain through an MSN-FNP degree?

What are some non-medical skills you can gain through an MSN-FNP degree?

by Lisa A. Yeager

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An MSN-FNP degree is a fantastic step forward for anyone looking to educate, influence, and treat people in a range of medical practices and clinics. Nurse practitioners who are educated with such qualifications are some of the most knowledgeable, versatile, and dependable professionals in their trade.

However, some might assume that the majority of skills you learn in a nurse practitioner degree are based on healthcare and treatments. While some elements of this qualification support your understanding of nursing and medical skills, many are transferable to all walks of life.

Whether you’re considering studying for an MSN-FNP program or are simply considering this option, this guide will help you learn more about what you’ll potentially pick up along the way.

What does a nurse practitioner degree cover?

This type of degree, often referred to as an MSN-FNP or a Master of Science in Nursing for Family Nurse Practitioners, helps people become practice nurses specializing in influential family care.

Specifically, practitioners with these degrees have incredible flexibility. They’re not simply diagnosing patients, providing medicine, or making suggestions regarding lifestyle changes. They make important decisions when it comes to promoting health education, supporting impoverished people in need of medical support, and even running clinics outright.

Of course, people educated to this level and in MSN-FNP roles can expect higher salaries than they might command while working as a ward nurse or something similar. However, it’s the variety, influence, and reassurance they’re giving others that push people to study for these roles.

Programs for these roles, naturally, go in-depth on the specific demands expected of high-level nurses and practitioners. When studying for a Nurse Practitioner degree at Wilkes University, for example, students can expect to dive deep into modules on diagnostic reasoning, pathophysiology, and advanced health assessments. In this program, students will also learn more about how to support culturally diverse communities and why cultural intelligence is so important when treating others in healthcare.

Transferable MSN-FNP degree skills that are not exclusive to healthcare

People who hold MSN-FNPs not only have medical expertise but also possess fantastic skills that they can use to help empower and support those around them and provide care and education to the people they treat in everyday clinics.

For example, nurse practitioners are likely to learn and develop:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Leadership and collaboration skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Self-directed education and a lifelong desire to learn
  • Business and technology acumen

All of these skill points are extremely useful, both in their practice and in everyday life. What’s more, these are highly transferable skills useful in other healthcare roles should graduates decide to move in a more specialized direction.

Ultimately, taking on a nursing practitioner degree is a great way to set yourself up for various jobs in family-based care and education.

Now, let’s look at how students can build these skills while on board an MSN-FNP degree or qualification and how these traits can help them develop and progress after graduation.

Communication and interpersonal skills

All successful nurse practitioners are great communicators. They’re adept at working with a variety of people from different backgrounds and with different healthcare needs. That means that while studying to become an FNP, a degree program will provide students with the tools and resources they need to practice different conversations, cases, and presentations.

As with nurses in general, FNPs handle a variety of cases, and to that end, they need to be ready to share information and translate medical jargon for everyday people. Effective communication as an FNP is just as much about taking time to understand the source material and know how to present it as it is about knowing how to speak effectively with the people they contact.

That also means FNPs need to be great interpersonal communicators. Successful NPs understand that patients simply want to be heard and supported. Whether or not you can solve a problem in the here and now, most people likely want reassurance first and treatment second. Therefore, as part of their education, FNPs will learn to listen actively to patients and others around them. They will learn that it’s just as important to hear and process what people say as it is to provide information.

Beyond this, FNPs will also learn how to present important information in a way that educates people clearly and without scaremongering. As part of a degree program, you’ll find opportunities to present projects and research to others and learn how to adapt certain information and findings to people who can benefit.

For example, take the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid an admittedly scary and tense time regarding an unknown disease, FNPs had to dissect and present information regarding social distancing and vaccines to audiences who might not have been receptive.

They needed to show communities that taking care of their health this way was important, albeit without leaning into potentially frightening language or suggesting dire scenarios. That takes a lot of creativity and a willingness to understand the people they’re talking to. These are skills you’ll build on an MSN-FNP degree and, arguably, skills you will continue to build long into your career.

Leadership and collaboration skills

Many people look to FNPs as leaders and presenters of critical, objective truth, and for good reason.

As part of an MSN-FNP program, students will often need to take the reins on various projects and mock cases. They will need to work in groups with other students and learn how to communicate effectively to ensure everyone is working on the same page.

Of course, that means some natural leaders will emerge! People studying together for this type of qualification will need to actively listen, contribute to, and participate in problem-solving. They will also need to carefully organize themselves and understand each other’s strengths when designing care plans, providing treatments, and educating people. As such, if you’re keen on becoming a leader in a healthcare setting, this type of qualification is likely to give you ample and useful insight.

Moreover, FNPs build skills that help them work with others in different healthcare departments and specialisms. For example, they might need to speak at length with pharmacists to understand the benefits and potential dangers of specific types of medication. By collaborating in this way, they can carefully develop an educational program or outreach scheme that gently reassures people while delivering crucial information they need to know.

Working as an FNP is not a solitary job in many ways. While these professionals need to be self-starters on a daily basis, they also need to be ready and willing to seek guidance from others and guide them in return. Therefore, it’s easy to argue that an MSN-FNP degree also provides students with the necessary confidence. Not everyone enters these programs feeling confident to lead teams, but many will graduate feeling enlightened, capable, and energized to make a genuine difference.

Again, these are skills that FNPs will continue to develop while working with others on the job, particularly as they meet new people and patients and find new ways to communicate important healthcare information to the masses.

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Working as an FNP means being willing to solve problems without personal bias. Yes, many people enter the MSN-FNP program fairly open-mindedly, but leaning into bias is something that can happen subconsciously!

Therefore, if you choose to study this type of program, you’ll get the chance to build critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is all about looking at problems, cases, and opportunities with an objective eye. You’re able to see the bigger picture, process the facts, and create paths to solutions without getting bogged down in the details.

Again, critical thinking is a great transferable skill. In a healthcare setting, an FNP can use this skill to better communicate with staff and patients and to collaborate on care plans and education programs.

Students in these programs will learn how to avoid making assumptions about their audiences and instead work hard to look at the facts. Again, take the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, misinformation was rife, leading to some confusion over what the virus could potentially do and whether or not vaccines were effective in defending against it.

Therefore, FNPs and other healthcare providers needed to work with the facts available, dissect them, and use them to solve problems. That meant treating available research objectively and delivering clear answers and calls to action to everyday people.

Remember, working as an FNP will also likely present a range of varied cases and challenges from day to day. Therefore, it’s understandable that students will work on mock cases and projects to help measure and build their approaches to problem-solving.

Self-directed education and a lifelong desire to learn

While there will be opportunities for students on MSN-FNP degrees to collaborate and study together, there’s also likely to be plenty of opportunities to study alone and manage one’s own time.

Therefore, FNP students will also start to build self-resilience when it comes to studying and developing skills. Especially when learning from afar, they will need to manage their own timetables and prioritize projects effectively.

That’s a skill that will help FNPs in real practice, as there will be occasions when they need to balance varied workloads and prioritize certain cases. Again, this can take some objectivity!

Leaning into self-directed learning in this type of program will also ensure students gain an appreciation for lifelong study. It is especially important because, as discussed, people working as FNPs will never truly stop learning and developing on the job!

At least being willing to self-direct learning means FNP graduates can spring into the workforce with an open mind and a healthy attitude regarding development over time.

Business and technology acumen

Yes, there will also be opportunities for FNP students to learn business skills in their program! That’s largely because managing a team or a clinic is very much like running a business.

For example, you might need to manage budgeting for specific tools, medicines, or labor. That, and as a leader, you will need to organize people alongside resources. People will turn to you for insights regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of a clinic, and having a good head for business definitely helps.

Finally, FNPs will typically graduate with a strong grasp of modern technology and common tools used in healthcare, whether to support others around them or to help improve care standards.

Technology in healthcare is always evolving, which is why it’s wise for students to dive deep into the latest software and hardware provided to them while studying.

Leading MSN-FNP programs will ensure students have access to the tools they need to provide care and work with other healthcare professionals throughout their modules. And, again, as technology and healthcare needs evolve, there will always be opportunities for FNPs to continue learning and finding new avenues.

MSN-FNP qualifications can set you up for life

There are many admirable reasons to become a nurse practitioner, and from a self-development perspective, building transferable, non-medical skills is just one of them!

While there are plenty of different medical skills you will learn and develop in an MSN-FNP program, there are plenty more soft skills and lifelong talents you can pick up along the way.

Remember, FNPs never stop learning, meaning an open mind and a thirst for development are always healthy going into this type of career!


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