Becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a career pathway that an increasing number of students are taking. FNPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and experts in the nursing field. As the American health care industry deals with reforms, disruption, increasing costs and an aging population, among other factors, highly educated and skilled nurse practitioners like FNPs are being looked to as valuable resources.
While certification as an FNP currently requires only a master’s degree, more nurses are working toward earning a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) to advance their mastery of nursing competencies. The terminal degree in clinical nursing, the DNP is used to not only sharpen skills but also prepare nurse practitioners to be real change-makers, influencers and advocates for patient care and safety.
DNP-FNP nurses are in a prime position to provide high-quality care to children, individuals and families, as well as effect greater change. However, of concern to students is how various online DNP-FNP programs facilitate learning through their curricula.
For a peek at how Bradley University’s online DNP-FNP (BSN entry) track cultivates such enrichment, here are some classes students can expect to take:
NUR 638 and 642 – Principles of FNP Practice I and II: Acute/Chronic
These courses prepare students to care for adults with acute and chronic disorders. NUR 638 helps introduce students to the core principles and concepts of an APRN’s role and responsibilities; NUR 642 dives deeper into the material and further explores the nuance in theory and how APRNs practically deliver, evaluate and monitor care.
NUR 644, 646 and 648 – Principles of FNP Practice III, IV and V: Women’s Health, Children and Aging Adult Populations
FNPs are educated to provide care across the patient’s lifespan, and these courses help nurses increase their competency in caring for diverse populations — specifically women, children and seniors:
- NUR 644 examines the importance of women’s health needs, both in context of the individual and the family.
- Nur 646 focuses on healthy development in children and how APRNs can care for the youngest patients and ensure positive health outcomes.
- NUR 648 takes students through effective and safe care of seniors, which is crucial,
given the aging of the American population.
NUR 600 – Advanced Health Assessment
Knowledge of how to care for patients from infancy to old age is valuable, but nurses also need practical tools and skills to effect that high quality of care. NUR 600 helps empower FNPs to address the continuing scope of family care by introducing them to a systematic methodology for health data collection that enables a holistic assessment of patients throughout their lifespans and in differing health care settings. This course addresses the hard and soft skills needed to conduct a comprehensive assessment. For instance, technical proficiency is central to physical examination and accurate recordkeeping, but communication skills are needed for interviewing patients about medical history.
NUR 603 – Health Promotion in Populations
Population is one of the defining trends in modern health care. While still an evolving term, population health generally refers to the management of health and disease in entire populations by looking at outcomes, patterns of determinants, interventions and how those all intersect with policy.
NUR 603 takes a two-pronged approach to address the subject, by:
- Providing students a basic understanding of population health principles and epidemiological tools that can be applied in health promotion of groups, communities and populations.
- Taking students through the steps needed to develop, implement and evaluate programs and initiatives aimed at population health promotion and illness prevention.
NUR 720 – Evidence-Based Practice
DNP-prepared FNPs are uniquely prepared to push improvements in care quality, delivery and cost effectiveness. However, they also need the scientific tools and know-how to conceptualize, test and assess such programs — which is all covered in NUR 720.
In this course, students learn about research utilization and evidence-based practice theories and principles. Topics include methods of evidence collection, quality improvement evaluation and best practices. Students are also instructed to question and refine how they think critically about care, as well as how to enhance quality, delivery and cost effectiveness.
NUR 735 – Leadership in Advanced Practice Nursing
Leadership is valuable in the nursing world and a requirement for positions at the top levels of care, administration and policy. Earning a DNP helps cultivate leadership qualities in FNPs, as well as educating them on the opportunities they may have to advocate for change and make a positive impact.
Throughout this course, students will focus on organizational and systemic leadership strategies that APRNs can deploy. There’s also an emphasis on managing and inspiring productivity in emerging practice environments — like telehealth, which FNPs are heavily involved in. Also highlighted are ways nurses can drive progress in health outcomes, patient safety, care coordination and interprofessional collaboration.
Doctoral-level courses: NUR 625/725/826/827
The FNP-DNP curriculum is also differentiated by the doctorate-level courses that will grant students the opportunity to refine their skills and knowledge at the highest level. They include:
- Nur 625 – DNP Practie Seminar I
- Nur 725 – DNP Pracice Seminar II
- Nur 826 – DNP Prctice Seminar III-A
- Nur 827 – DNP Practice Seminar III-B
Students will log valuable clinical hours in these courses, as well as culminate their education through self-led projects that address key issues in nursing. The experiential focus enable students to apply all the classroom learning to real-life situations in order to build experience and competency. For instance, in NUR 625, students examine health care financing, regulationa and/or delivery while placed in a clinical setting. The course ends with a schlorarly proposal after assessing the needs of providers, consumers and stakeholders first-hand. Similar opportunities will be offered through the other courses, which imerse students in nursing concepts like leadership, policy-making and care improvement.
Talk to Bradley University for more information
The online Doctorate of Nursing Practice-Family Nurse Practitioner program at Bradley University is designed to provide students as rich and specialized an education experience as possible. The courses outlined above are only a small sampling of the robust curriculum covered in the entire DNP-FNP track.
If you’re interested in discovering more about Bradley’s online DNP-FNP program, contact an enrollment advisor today.