The graduate nursing curriculum consists of courses in three areas: the graduate nursing core, the advanced practice core, and the clinical and/or functional specialization.
The graduate nursing core courses provide support for clinical and functional role development and focus on such areas as research; policy, organization and financing of health care; ethics; theoretical foundations of nursing practice; and human diversity and social issues. The graduate nursing core culminates in a capstone course in which all candidates for the master of science degree in nursing demonstrate the ability to integrate theory, research, and clinical and/or functional practice. The advanced practice nursing core courses build on knowledge acquired from the graduate nursing core and provide students with foundational understanding of professional role development, advanced assessment, pathophysiology, and advanced pharmacology.
Advanced practice clinical specialization courses reflect the changing trends in health care that require application of advanced clinical skills and development of collaborative roles. All clinical management courses provide for precepted clinical practice that concentrates on health restoration, health maintenance and health promotion. Clinical practice courses incorporate recommendations from ANA’s Standards and Scope of Nursing Practice; Healthy People 2020; AACN’s Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing 2011; and National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies 2011. All graduate nursing students must have the following documents on file before beginning clinical experiences: current copy of professional license, CPR certification, health clearance, professional liability insurance, and FBI fingerprinting, Pennsylvania criminal record and child abuse check.
The curricular options currently offered by the nursing department include:
Family Nurse Practitioner: The Family Nurse Practitioner option prepares students to function as principal providers of primary health care to families and individuals across the life span. The focus of this 45-credit program of study is the primary care management of acute episodic and chronic health problems of individuals and families. Students complete the graduate nursing core, the advanced practice core, and clinical specialization courses along with a minimum of 630 hours of direct clinical practice under the supervision of qualified nurse practitioner and physician preceptors. Graduates are eligible to take national family nurse practitioner certification examinations offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Corporation and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.