Family Nursing FAQs
Where can I work after graduation?
Most FNPs work in primary care sites such as a family, pediatric or women’s health practice. Some work in minute clinics, urgent care centers or emergency room fast tracks. The scope of practice for FNPs is determined by individual state legislation though rules and regulations vary. Most scope of practice is based on both education and experience. The best place to explore individual scope of practice issues is to look to the State Board of Nursing for guidance not the physician or office manager in a practice. A listing of contact information for individual state boards of nursing can be found at: https://www.ncsbn.org/515.htm
How long is the program?
The length of the program depends on your background. DNP student’s program length depends on any graduate studies completed or if they are currently APN’s. Please see the links to the various program plans of studies.
Can I go part time, full time?
Both part-time and full-time plans are offered.
Can I work while going to school?
The UT program is a rigorous full-time program. The program includes significant clinical hours. For this reason, students are cautioned about trying to work full-time. Each student is an individual with individual family/personal responsibilities and support. If work is essential, students are encouraged to explore flexible part-time employment. Students are also encouraged to save or bank vacation or other leave that can be used to lessen work during the program. Some DNP clinical experiences may be accomplished at the workplace.
How much will this program cost?
Tuition costs are determined by in-state or out-of-state status and may change during the program. Tuition and fee information can be found at http://www.uthsc.edu/finaid/Nursing.html . Additionally, there is the Educational Common Market which may be available for some out-of-state students. Information on this program can be obtained at the Office of Financial Aid. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement even for part-time employees. Additionally, students will need to make arrangements for travel and hotel accommodations during the on-campus experiences. Financial aid information is available through http://www.uthsc.edu/finaid/Nursing.html. Students should also explore the many private scholarship funds available for graduate study in their communities, region, state and nation. Googling graduate nursing scholarships will produce vast opportunities. Scholarship programs are offered by many diverse groups such as Talbots and Este Lauder. Some states and organizations also have loan repayment programs for nursing education. There are also federal government grants for nursing students.
Deciding on graduate education is similar to buying a car. I am often taken aback that people will do more research when buying and financing a new car then they do in selecting a graduate program and degree. Remember that you want to select a vehicle that will take you to your professional goals and will last a lifetime. There are multiple models and each has many features or accessories. There are also many ways to finance this type of purchase and they should all be investigated and select the one that best suits your needs and financial situation. One thing to remember is that graduate education will cost about the same as a mid-priced vehicle. A vehicle will start to loose value the minute you take possession. A graduate degree will continue to retain or increase its value through your professional life.
What books, equipment and supplies will I need?
Book purchases will vary by semester. Students can contact the book store to explore the cost of text books. Text books are supplemented by electronic media much of which is available in the library for the students at no cost. Students will also need adequate computer hardware and internet access. Students will need basic health assessment equipment including an otoscope, ophthalmic scope and a high quality stethoscope. Lab coats will be required for most clinical experiences.
Where/when do I do my clinical experiences?
Clinical experiences are interspersed through out the program and vary by track, option and student background. Clinical experience hours are noted in the plan of study. One credit of clinical experience equates to 60 clinical clock hours. To determine the number of clinical hours simply multiply the credits in the plan of study by 60. Clinical hours may include on-campus experiences but do not include meal times or travel to and from the clinic.
How do I find a clinical site?
The faculty have an extensive list of highly qualified preceptors and will place most students in clinical experiences that offer opportunities to meet the course outcomes. Students who live outside of the Memphis area will work with the clinical course faculty to identify appropriate clinical sites. Relatives may not serve as preceptors for students. Clinical contracts are complex and time consuming so; it is important to start this process ASAP.
Do I have to come to campus?
On-campus experiences are scheduled four times a year. They last about 1 week each time. On-campus experiences are mandatory. A schedule is published for the year at http://www.uthsc.edu/nursing/current-students/academic-calendar/index.php The on-campus week details are published before the week begins but are always subject to change. This can be found at: http://www.uthsc.edu/nursing/current-students/academic-calendar/index.php
What is going to school online like?
Online education is very popular as it offers the student the opportunity to stay at home while learning. In today’s economic climate with rising gas prices this can be a real cost saver. It is more flexible than most traditional class schedules so; in many cases you can attend classes day or night, whichever is more accommodating to your style of learning. You can attend class around other obligations in most cases. Some online educational experiences are scheduled at a designated time so; you will have some structure. Online education takes discipline and self motivation; it is not for everyone. Online education is also more interactive; no more sitting in the back of the class listening to someone lecture. Rather, class learning is full of reading and discussing among the learners with guidance from the faculty. Keyboard skills are very handy in this environment. Since communication is primarily written, strong grammar and writing skills are a plus. Online learning can be lonesome but there are certainly opportunities online and during the on-campus weeks to get to know your colleagues and to develop strong professional relationships. While online learning is not for everyone; it is gaining in popularity. It has an excellent reputation for providing high quality educational opportunities. The Faculty at UT are some of the first educators in the nation to integrate this paradigm and have an excellent reputation for this type of learning.
Is there anything I can do to get ready for class?
Shadow a FNP for a day or two. Learn as much as you can about the role by meeting APNs and visiting the local and national web sites or meetings.
Find and visit your local NP group meetings. The Greater Memphis Area APN group web page is: http://www.memphisapns.org/
Obtain a diagnostic of your learning style. There are numerous online engines that offer this service at no cost, simply google the phrase –learning style assessment- to locate these instruments. This can also be done at UT at the learning resource center but you may also find this type of service locally in learning centers, high schools, etc. Discovering how you learn best will be helpful in optimizing your study time during the program.
Get out your undergraduate physical assessment book. Dust it off and start to review the head to toe physical exam skills that you may have forgotten.
Evaluate your family, community and work commitments and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. The program will take a significant amount of time and energy. You do not have to quit your family or community commitments but you do need to be realistic about how much effort you can commit to during school. You don’t have to say no but rather not at this time.
Engage internet access and learn to become friends with your computer. You are going to be spending a lot of time together and you need to enjoy each others company.
What is the difference between APNs and FNPs?
APN, advance practice nurse, is an umbrella term that encompasses Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anesthetists, Clinical Nurse
Specialists and Nurse Midwives. This term is often protected by individual state regulation. FNP, family nurse practitioner, is a type of nurse practitioner. Family Nurse Practitioners are primary care providers that are educated to provide primary care across the life span. The FNP scope of practice varies by state. You can review your state's rules and regulation accessing the information at the individual State Board of Nursing web sites https://www.ncsbn.org/170.htm.
DNP Family Nursing
Jacqueline Rosenjack Burchum, DNSc, FNP-BC, APN, CNE
Associate Professor, Interim FNP Concentration Coordinator
Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies
Memphis, TN 38163