Chair: Rita Trofino, DNP, RN, email@example.com, 814-472-3185
Program Director: Lenore K. Resick, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, firstname.lastname@example.org, 814-472-2833
The Post-Master’s Certificate Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program was developed in accordance with the National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education (2016), the APRN Consensus Model (2008), the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Masters’ Education in Nursing (2011); the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (2013), and according to the Pennsylvania State Board* of Nursing Rules and Regulations for Nurse Practitioner Licensure and Practice (Pennsylvania Code 21.369).
*Out of state students will need to visit their state’s Board of Nursing for Rules and Regulations for Nurse Practitioner Licensure and Practice.
The Post-Master’s Certificate FNP program is designed for the student who already has earned a master’s degree in nursing and is seeking to become a family nurse practitioner. Students who successfully complete the program requirements are eligible to sit for either the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner Certification Board (AANPCB) FNP Exam or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) FNP Exam.
The PMC-FNP program is designed to prepare students in the advanced practice role of the family nurse practitioner caring for families and individuals across the lifespan in a primary care setting. Post-Master’s students who complete program requirements of the PMC-FNP program are qualified to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) Family Nurse Practitioner certification examination in order to apply for licensure as a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Links to the two organizations that offer national certification for FNPs and the Certification Requirements Link- can be found at: https://www.nursingworld.org/our-certifications/family-nurse-practitioner and http://www.aanpcert.org.
Courses vary in length from 7 to 15 weeks and will be offered in an online format. FNP 603, FNP 605, FNP 606, FNP 607, and FNP 608 require students to complete clinical hours.
Clinical clock hours are counted from the time the student enters the approved clinical site until the student leaves the approved clinical site. One clinical credit = 5 clock hours. In a 2-credit theory/2 credit clinical course, 2 clinical credits x 15 weeks of a clinical course x 5 clock hours = 150 clock hours of required clinical hours to complete the course. Travel time to the clinical site does not count as clinical hours. Time spent on campus in the lab or in class in a clinical course does not count as clinical hours. Only clinical hours approved by the course faculty can be counted as clinical hours. Clinical hours are to begin 2 weeks into the clinical course and end 1 week prior to the end of the course. Clinical hours are to be spread over the semester and not concentrated into one solid block of time. Clinical hours cannot be completed during University breaks or when the course is not in session. The course faculty must be notified of any changes in the approved clinical hours. Students must track clinical hours as part of the clinical course requirements. Tracking of clinical hours and patient encounters are held to the same standards as the SFU Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy.
The Department of Nursing faculty members are committed to quality and excellence in all Nursing programs. While the coursework is offered online, in order to maintain quality in our programs, residency requirements are essential to student success.
There are four residency requirements (a total of 11 days) for the students admitted to the Post-Master’s FNP (PMC-FNP) program. Attendance is mandatory for all four residencies in order to meet the program requirements. Students admitted to the PMC-FNP program are required to attend (in addition to the required two-day orientation upon admission to the PMC-FNP program), two three-day on campus residencies that are practice simulation labs. The first campus lab requirement will be three consecutive days during the advanced physical assessment course (FNP 603 Physical Assessment and Differential Diagnosis) prior to the required clinical experience with an assigned preceptor. The second three-day campus lab requirement will be three consecutive days during the next to the last clinical management course (FNP 607). The dates of these required residencies will be posted 6 months to a year in advance. These dates will fall approximately mid-semester in the first clinical course (FNP 603) and the next one approximately mid-semester the next to the last clinical management course (FNP 607). The last required residency will be a three-day Review Course during the last clinical management course (FNP 608). This Review Course may be offered in an online format or live face-to-face format (off campus). The format, date, and location of this review course will depend on when and where this review course is offered.
*Costs of travel and lodging related to residency requirements and clinical requirements to complete the program are in addition to the fees and the responsibility of the student.
The program meets licensure requirements in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, who can be contacted at: P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA, 17105; (717) 783-7142; https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Nursing/Pages/Board-Approved-Nursing-Education-Programs.aspx
The Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner Post Master’s Certificate at Saint Francis University is pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org). Applying for accreditation does not guarantee that accreditation will be granted.
Professional Licensure and/or Certification:
Following CCNE accreditation and successful completion of the post-master’s certificate program, students may be eligible to sit for the family nurse practitioner national certification examination from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB).
Students may be eligible for certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) in Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing or in any state in which the program is available for enrollment. We are working hard to expand the number of states in which each program is authorized. Refer to the University’s State Authorization web page for additional information and program availability.
Since this program leads to a professional license or certification, authorization may or may not be required of the University from the state professional licensing board prior to the student beginning a clinical or field experience in a state other than Pennsylvania. Check with your program clinical coordinator with questions about state professional licensure board requirements prior to enrollment. Any changes in state of residence after enrollment could affect eligibility to complete the program.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing requires that the Pharmacy course must be taken within 5 years of intended completion of the MSN Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner program for the applicant for CRNP licensure to be eligible for prescriptive licensure. Students living outside of Pennsylvania should investigate the requirements of the State Boards of Nursing in their respective home state.
Please note that most states require nurses to be nationally certified and to have completed an accredited graduate nursing program in order to obtain licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse. Each national certification provider and state Board of Nursing will have eligibility requirements in addition to these educational requirements, such as passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they are eligible for State Board of Nursing approval and certification as an advanced practice registered nurse in their state. Students can obtain additional information from their state’s Board of Nursing, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB). The National Council of State Boards of Nursing website [https://www.ncsbn.org/contact-bon.htm] provides contact information for each State Board of Nursing.
For more information regarding authorization and licensure, visit the University’s State Authorization web page (https://www.francis.edu/State-Authorization/).
Student Learning Outcomes:
Students who complete the requirements of this post master’s certificate program will be prepared to:
- Exercise a selected advanced nursing practice role to ensure the delivery of high-quality direct patient care and/or to foster an organizational climate in health care and nursing educational settings that serve to promote high quality patient care;
- Exercise leadership in interdisciplinary collaboration to develop and/or refine organizational structures and processes through which high quality, evidence-based and cost-effective care, and the improvement of patient outcomes are assured;
- Participate in political processes at a variety of levels to influence health care policy that benefits patients, the profession, and the interdisciplinary community of health care providers;
- Make critical, constructive, and effective use of scientific evidence in the implementation, evaluation, and revision of health care services to better serve the health needs of individuals in the context of their families and communities;
- Exercise leadership to cultivate a highly ethical, culturally competent, and caring health care culture through the promotion of self-awareness, effective communication, effective group dynamics, values-based realism, courage, and principled action;
- Employ administrative and clinical information technology to access and leverage knowledge effectively, ethically, and legally in the interest of safe, effective, patient care in a variety of settings.
Estimated Completion Time:
Typically 3 years
Total Credits Required:
To qualify for the online Post-Master’s Certificate, Family (Individual across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner program, the candidate must meet the following prerequisites:
- Official transcripts verifying the conferral of a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree in nursing from an ACEN, CCNE, or CNEA accredited program;
- Official transcripts verifying the conferral of a master’s of science in nursing from an NLNAC or CCNE-accredited program;
- A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
- Have at least one full calendar year of full-time experience as an RN prior to registration in clinical or specialty course;
- Current RN license in the U.S. state/territory or locale where student will complete clinical requirements. Licensure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is required for clinical coursework completed in Pennsylvania;
- Complete an undergraduate statistics course;
- Complete a Gap Analysis Form;
- Application essay that includes career goals;
- Two professional references (These letters should be completed by two people who can attest to the applicant’s aptitude for leadership in the profession);
- Experience/employment history/professional activity (e.g., community, organizational, and volunteer service, and creative professional accomplishments);
- Interview with program faculty (in person or by phone);
- Ability to attend the required program residencies (and review course for FNP students);
- Must meet the Technical Standards for Admission;
- Proficiency in English:
- All applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, http://www.toefl.org)
- The minimum overall TOEFL score is 84 (Internet-based test); 24 is the minimum score in the speaking section, and 24 is the writing section minimum score.
Official transcripts certifying graduate level courses completed at another institution prior to admission to Saint Francis University should be submitted at the time of application and should be evaluated for acceptability as advanced standing credit in the PMC-FNP program. Transfer credit will only be accepted for courses in which a minimum grade of “B” (QPA = 3.0 on 4.0 scale) or higher or its equivalent has been received from degree granting programs. Generally, courses must have been completed within 5 years of admission. However, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing requires that Pharmacology must be taken within 5 years of the intended program completion in order to be eligible for prescriptive licensure. Students living outside of Pennsylvania should investigate the requirements for the State Board of Nursing in their home state.
Please note: All submitted materials become the property of Saint Francis University.
A maximum of nine (9) graduate-level credits from a regionally accredited university and approved program may be transferred toward completion of the requirements for the Post-Master’s Certificate, Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner program. Transfer credit will only be accepted for courses in which a grade of “B” (GPA = 3.0 on 4.0 scale) or its equivalent has been received. Courses taken over five years prior to admission will not be accepted. Official transcripts certifying graduate level courses completed at another institution prior to admission to Saint Francis University should be submitted at the time of application to be evaluated for acceptability as advanced standing credit in the PMC-FNP program.
Procedure for Requesting Transfer Credits
Contact the Post-Master’s Certificate FNP Program Director for transfer credit evaluation.
*Note the Curriculum is subject to change.
The program has rolling admission.
Technical Standards or Essential Functions:
The Saint Francis University Department of Nursing requires students to meet nonacademic technical standards critical to your success in your Post-Master’s Certificate program. These standards are designed not to be exclusionary, but to establish performance expectations that will enable you to provide safe patient practice with or without accommodations.
The standards are program requirements, not individual functional ability requirements.
- Observation: You must be able to make careful observations in all learning settings. Observation is necessary to perform competent health assessments and interventions, and necessitates functional use of vision, hearing, tactile and somatic senses.
- Communication: You must have the ability to use multiple communication techniques (verbal, written, nonverbal, group processes, and information technology) to make it possible for you to communicate effectively with clients, teachers, and all members of the health care team. You must be able to speak, read, and write in English. You must be able to report to members of the health care team, express appropriate information to others, communicate with sensitivity, and teach, explain, direct, and counsel clients.
- Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: You must have the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data in a reasonable amount of time. These intellectual abilities are essential for problem solving, a critical skill demanded of health care practitioners. You must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
- Motor Skills: You must possess the fine and gross motor function essential for performing patient assessment and therapeutic interventions. Implementing many therapeutic interventions requires coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, stamina, equilibrium, and functional use of touch and vision.
- Behavioral and Social Attributes: You must possess the emotional health required for full use of your intellectual abilities, demonstration of good judgment, prompt and safe completion of all responsibilities, and development of mature and effective relationships with patients. You must be able to work cooperatively with others, adapt to rapidly changing environments, think clearly, and tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads under stressful situations. In addition, you must demonstrate moral reasoning and ethical behaviors.
In addition to the technical standards stated above, you must be able to successfully complete all required components of the curriculum.
Formative Evaluation Assessment
(Given during approximately the 12th week of FNP 603, Advanced Physical Assessment and Differential Diagnosis)
In order to determine the ability of students, enrolled in the Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner MSN Program, to synthesize the knowledge gained through the first three clinical core courses, Advanced Pathophysiology (FNP 601), Pharmacology for the Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner Prescriber (FNP 602), and Physical Assessment and Differential Diagnosis (FNP 603), and the potential success in the clinical management courses that follow as well as national certification, students are required to pass a clinical qualifying examination. This examination is offered during the last weeks of the physical assessment course (FNP 603) and before starting the first clinical management course that follows (FNP 605 Reproductive Health and Illness in Men and Women). The date for this online examination will be listed in the Physical Assessment and Differential Diagnosis course (FNP 603) schedule at the beginning of the semester. All students enrolled in FNP 603 are required to take this qualifying exam. The cost of this exam is paid by the University as part of the clinical fee. The passing score is determined by national data and the testing organization in conjunction with the University faculty. Students who achieve the passing score are considered to have synthesized the knowledge gained through completion of the first three FNP specialty courses (FNP 601, FNP 602, and FNP 603) and are likely to meet the requirements to progress through the clinical management courses that follow. The qualifying exam is a national examination prepared through Advanced Practice Education Associates (APEA) and used in many FNP programs nationally for many years.
This exam will be used as a formative assessment to benchmark students’ ability to master course content in relation to national standards. Students who do not meet the national benchmarks will meet with their program director to develop an individualized plan of study that coincides with the planning of the student’s subsequent clinical coursework. This plan of study will be finalized as a learning contract and used to help the student acquire knowledge level that coincides with their learning styles and meets the national benchmarks. Students with the learning contracts will meet with the program director on a regular basis to review their progression in the individualized learning plan of study.
When developing the individualized learning contract, the student and program director will develop an evaluation rubric as part of the contract. This rubric will be used for formative assessments as the student implements the individualized learning plan. The rubric will also be used by the program director to determine if the student has met the learning objectives in the contract. The student must meet all learning objectives before they can sit for the predictor exam (discussed later in the catalog/handbook).
Progression and/or Retention Criteria:
- Grades in Prerequisite Courses: A PMC-FNP student needs to achieve a passing grade in a pre-requisite course in order to progress to the next course. Passing is considered a grade of “B” or higher.
- Grades in Required Courses: To complete the PMC-FNP program, students must successfully pass the clinical portion of all clinical/practicum courses. In addition, students must earn a minimum grade of “B” in all courses required in the program. Grades of B- or below are not acceptable.
- If a student receives a grade below a “B” in any course in the approved program of studies, this course must be repeated the next time it is offered.
- All clinical/practicum experiences with the preceptor will be graded on a pass/fail basis by course faculty. A student must pass the clinical/practicum component of the clinical course in order to pass the course regardless of the theory grade earned in the course.
- A course may be repeated only once.
- If any PMC-FNP student receives two grades below a “B” in the same course or in more than one course, he or she will be dismissed from the program.
- Progression/PMC Completion Requirements: A PMC-FNP student must earn a cumulative course grade of a “B” or higher and in all courses to successfully complete the program.
- If a student receives a cumulative course grade lower than a “B”, the student will receive an academic warning. A student may be placed on academic warning/probation only once during the program of study.
- PMC-FNP students with “F” grades on their SFU PMC-FNP transcripts will not be eligible for program completion, regardless of whether the failed course is part of the program completion requirements. In order to meet program completion requirements, the PMC-FNP student must retake the course or an equivalent course
- Progression criteria specific for PMC-FNP students:
- Students are required to pass the Comprehensive FNP Program Exam (Post- Predictor Exam) administered during the last clinical management course of the program (FNP 608) in order to pass the last clinical management course.
*Letter grades discussed in this policy are delineated in the Grading Policy below.
The Comprehensive Post-Master’s Certificate FNP Program Exam
(Given in two parts, before the required Review course and after the Review course, during the last Spring Semester of the clinical management course [FNP 608 Health and Illness in the Family and the Individual Across the Lifespan] in which the student is enrolled).
1. The Pre-Predictor Exam
This examination is administered to determine the ability of students who are about to complete the Post-Master’s Certificate Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Program, to synthesize the knowledge gained throughout the program and to assess the student’s potential to successfully pass the national FNP Certification Examination to practice as an FNP. The qualifying exam is a national examination prepared through Advanced Practice Education Associates and used in many FNP programs nationally for many years. The cost of this examination is paid by the University as part of the student’s clinical fee. This examination is given during the last clinical management course in the PMC-FNP program. This examination will be listed in the course schedule of the last clinical management course (FNP 608) and given approximately 3 - 4 weeks into the course and prior to the required Review Course offered in the Spring either face-to-face or online at a location off Campus. The exam will be administered online. The results of this exam will be used to guide the student in knowing how to focus study for the Review Course material.
2. Review Course
As part of the preparation for PMC-FNP students to take national certification board examination to be licensed to practice as a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner after program completion, SFU PMC-FNP students are required to attend review course as part of the last clinical management course (FNP 608) prior to program completion. The course will be taught online or in a face-to-face format and attended by nurse practitioner students and practicing nurse practitioners from various schools of nursing and agencies.
3. The Post-Predictor Exam
The Post-Predictor Exam is administered at the end of the last semester in preparation for the certification exam. The passing score is determined by national data and the testing organization in conjunction with the University faculty. This exam is given 3 weeks after attendance at the FNP Review Course. The student has two more attempts to pass. If fails after the second attempt of the post-predictor exam, student receives an “Incomplete” grade in FNP 608 and is required to register for an Independent Study (MSN 687) with an PMC-FNP faculty member. The student has a third attempt after this Independent Study. If not successful, student receives a failure for the course (FNP 608) and must repeat FNP 608 and the comprehensive FNP program exam the next time FNP 608 and the comprehensive exam are offered. The student is responsible for any cost not covered by the clinical fees associated for repeating FNP 608 and testing associated with the course. *Letter grades discussed in this policy are delineated in the Grading Policy below.
Students who are evaluated as preforming unsatisfactory during clinical experiences will have an informal conference scheduled by the clinical preceptor with the student to provide the student with constructive feedback on how to improve clinical practice. If the student performance does not improve after this conference, the clinical preceptor will notify the FNP faculty member who together with the preceptor will construct a plan for remediation. This plan will be completed by the middle of the semester in order for the student to have time to improve the performance in clinical. The FNP faculty will notify the PMC-FNP Director and will issue the student an “academic warning “to acknowledge the clinical preceptors concern along with the written clinical remediation plan to be placed in the student’s record. If the goals of the academic warning are not met by the student by the end of the clinical rotation, the clinical performance will be rated as unsatisfactory on the final clinical evaluation and the student will receive a failing clinical grade for the course.
If the student cannot perform at a safe level of practice and/or in a professional manner in clinical practice, the FNP faculty member and the PMC-FNP Director will be notified and the student will receive a failing clinical grade and the student will not be able to continue in the course.
Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned according to the SFU plus-minus grading system as outlined below:
92-100% = A 78-79% = C+
90-91% = A- 70-77% = C
88-89% = B+ 60-69% = D
82-87% = B 59% and below = F
80-81% = B-
* Students must receive an 82% (B) or better in all courses to pass the course.
Students must pass the clinical component of the course in order to pass the course regardless of the theory grade.
Incomplete grades: Incomplete grades are only granted for extenuating circumstances such as serious illness or the death of a family member. University policy governs the conferral of an “I” or “CN” grade and timeline for completion of remaining coursework.
Program Completion Requirements:
To complete this Post Master’s Certificate in Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner program, the student must satisfy the following requirements:
- Complete all requirements for an approved program of study;
- Complete the number of credits as specified in this publication;
- Achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better;
- Satisfy financial obligations to the University.
Tuition for 36 credits of course work @ $625/credit (subject to change)
Estimated fees for clinical coursework supplementary resources are approximately $300 per semester while in FNP specialty courses ($300 x 7 semesters = $2100). These fees are subject to change based on vendor rates over time.
Students will also be required to purchase course text books.
These estimated costs do not include any costs associated with travel/lodging to and from residency days and clinical experiences, required clinical clearances and background checks.