The Family Nurse Practitioner Program is dedicated to preparing graduate nurses for clinical practice, management, research and leadership in the advanced practice role. The rigorous curriculum prepares graduates to sit for national family nurse practitioner certification examinations while stressing concepts directed toward delivering care in the federal health care system; making USUHS graduates uniquely qualified to provide quality care in diverse settings. The program emphasizes research and statistical methodologies enabling our student to critically analyze scientific literature, evaluate nursing outcomes and participate in research activities.
The FNP DNP program is 36 months of full-time study combining lecture and clinical experiences. The program extends to 3 years in length to incorporate a series of courses focused on building systems-level competencies and expertise. A life-span case study approach is used to develop student clinical skills, focusing on the development of clinicians comfortable with and competent in practicing independently within the FNP role. Over the three year program, students are continuously exposed to learning experiences that help them develop differential diagnosis and critical thinking skills. On an average, graduates obtain over 1700 hours of clinical experience and working with experienced nurse practitioner or physician preceptors in civilian and military agencies.
In addition to developing clinical competence, the DNP program provides graduates with the skills needed to function as leaders within complex healthcare systems. DNP students acquire basic systems knowledge through their coursework in systems and organizational leadership, healthcare policy, population health, epidemiology, informatics, healthcare economics and a series of courses developing their ability to appraise and apply evidence to clinical practice. Over the course of the third year, DNP students develop a "Capstone Portfolio" showcasing the development of new DNP skills. Although each student's portfolio is unique, all students must provide evidence of development in five key areas: personal, professional, clinical, scholarship and dissemination. To meet the scholarship requirement each student will spend approximately 540 hours working with their committee examining a systems problem or issue.
The program meets or exceeds the revised 2002 National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties' guidelines for NP programs, the 2011 AACN MSN Essentials, the 2006 AACN DNP Essentials and the 2011/2012 NONPF core and FNP population competencies.