Teaching Systems Thinking for Advanced Family Nursing Practice: A Theory-Based Tool

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Systems thinking is essential for advanced family nursing practice, yet this skill is complex and not innate. The Family Nursing Assessment and Intervention Map (FN-AIM) was developed to support student development of systems thinking competencies for Family Systems Nursing practice (see Marigold Family Case Study). The FN-AIM is a pedagogical tool grounded in a family systems framework for nursing with a focus on core family processes as a foundation for interventions. The FN-AIM was implemented as an educational tool to support student skill development as part of a graduate family nursing course in the United States. Through a self-assessment of competence in family nursing practice, 30 students demonstrated an enhanced ability to articulate the distinction between family as context and family as system approaches to family nursing after using the FN-AIM mapping approach. The FN-AIM may be a useful strategy for supporting systems thinking in preparation for clinical skills development in graduate nursing students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author acknowledges the late Kathryn Hoehn Anderson, PhD, ARNP, PMH, PHMCNS-BS, LMFT, whose foundational scholarly work and commitment to the education of advanced family nursing practice was formative to this article and the development of the FN-AIM. She is also grateful to the reviewers whose comments and suggestions helped improve an earlier version of this article. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Family Systems Nursing
  • education
  • pedagogy
  • systems thinking

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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