School of Nursing - LSU Health New Orleans

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LSUHSC School of Nursing Master of Nursing, Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Public/Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Nursing Administration concentrations are in the process of a major curriculum change from the awarding of a Master of Nursing degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree for these graduate concentrations. Applicants to these programs for the summer 2014 class will be admitted to a BSN to DNP curriculum.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the scope of practice for a family nurse practitioner?

Family nurse practitioners demonstrate a commitment to family centered care and provide primary care for patients across the lifespan within the context of the community. Family nurse practitioners generally practice in primary care centers.
For additional general information go to

2. What is the required educational preparation of family nurse practitioners?

A minimum of a masters degree is required for certification and licensure. A minimum of 500 clinical hours are required for certification. The curriculum at LSUHSC School of Nursing includes general core and advanced practice core courses as well as primary care family nurse practitioner courses that focus on the advanced nursing management of health conditions across the lifespan in primary care settings. The current plan of study provides opportunities for over 700 hours of clinical experience.

3. How many family nurse practitioners are there?

There are over 150,000 nurse practitioners in the United States and the majority are family nurse practitioners. Details may be obtained at

4. What types of positions do family nurse practitioners have?

Generally, family nurse practitioners work in primary care settings such as outpatient clinics or ambulatory care centers in the community. An increasing number of family nurse practitioners are practicing in a medical specialty such as endocrinology or dermatology. Some family nurse practitioners are employed in acute care settings but they must practice within the family nurse practitioner scope of practice.

5. What is the average salary of family nurse practitioners?

Salaries vary greatly on the practice setting and location. In general, the average annual income for nurse practitioners is approximately $90,000. For additional information go to

6. Must family nurse practitioners be certified? What agencies provide national certification?

Most states, including Louisiana, require certification by a national certifying body. The organizations that certify family nurse practitioners are: American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). LSUHSC family nurse practitioners are eligible to take either certification examination.

7. How many family nurse practitioner students are admitted each year?

At the present time, a limit has not been set on the number of admissions. The number of admissions is dependent upon the availability of resources

8. Is there a profile of typically successful applicants?

Most successful applicants have GPAs above 3.0, adequate GRE or MAT scores, strong recommendations from people who truly know the applicants' capabilities and clinical backgrounds that contribute to the applicants' profiles. Personal qualities that seem to contribute to students' successful completion of the program include strong critical thinking, problem solving and clinical reasoning skills.

9. Is there a waiting list for admission?

Not at this time.

10. Do you require any other placement examination besides the GRE or MAT?

Not at this time, only the GRE or MAT

11. Which undergraduate or graduate courses might be helpful to me as a family nurse practitioner student? Do I have to have a Louisiana nursing license before applying to the program?

Generally the completion of an accredited BSN program includes all needed courses. Some students have found it helpful to take the required graduate level statistics course prior to application. Applicants must have a current unencumbered license in any state and be eligible for licensure in Louisiana.

12. Do I have to have any additional certifications or licenses?

Healthcare Provider CPR

13. Do I have to obtain my own liability insurance for clinical experiences? Do I have to have a background check?

In addition to the malpractice coverage through LSUHSC, all family nurse practitioner students must obtain nurse practitioner student coverage prior to starting clinical experiences. A background check must be completed prior to starting clinical.

14. Is financial assistance available? What is the tuition for the program?

Contact for information regarding financial assistance. Contact for information on tuition.

15. Must you have an undergraduate degree in nursing in order to apply for the program?

An undergraduate degree, i.e. a BSN or its equivalent is required for application unless the applicant is enrolled in the LSUHSC School of Nursing RN-MN program.

16. May I apply for admission if I am enrolled in a degree completion program and scheduled to finish my BSN after the application deadline? What if I am applying for the RN-MN program?

At the present time, a student who is near completion of the LSUHSC RN-BSN program may begin the application process. However, the application is considered incomplete until all BSN or BSN equivalent courses have been completed and the BSN transcript has been received. Enrollment in graduate courses can't begin until all application requirements have been met.

Applicants to the RN-MN program specify as to which program, i.e. family nurse practitioner, they are applying. All RN-MN/family nurse practitioner applicants meet with the Director of the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner program prior to registering for graduate classes.

17. Will I be assigned an advisor? May I schedule an advising session?

The Director of the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner program functions as the academic advisor for all FNP students while they take core courses. All students are assigned FNP faculty academic advisor when students progress to clinical courses. Following receipt of an acceptance letter, each applicant should contact the Director of the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program to schedule an advising and registration session.

18. What if I already have a graduate degree in nursing?

ANCC and AANP require masters degrees in which the family nurse practitioner education was part of the masters degree track or as part of a post-masters certification program. LSUHSC School of Nursing does not offer a post-masters track. Therefore the applicant with a masters degree in nursing will be required to obtain a second masters degree. Each applicant's transcript will be individually reviewed as to the repetition and/or transfer of previously taken courses.

19. What is the average nursing experience, in years, for accepted applicants?

Recent applicants have had between one year and over 20 years of experience but the estimated average is approximately 10 years.

20. Does it matter if all my clinical experience is with a specialty such as pediatrics or oncology?

All clinical experience contributes to an applicant's overall profile. However, if an applicant has specialized in a rather narrow field or population, transitions to new types of patients as well additional studying should be anticipated.

21. Are students able to transfer in course work from another college or university. If so, how many hours?

Consistent with LSUHSC School of Nursing policies, students may transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours if the courses have been determined to be equivalent to LSUHSC courses. Following a transcript review and request for acceptance by the Director of the Primary Care Family Nurse Program, the Admissions, Progression and Graduation Committee determines which courses are equivalent to LSUHSC courses and eligible for transfer.

22. Are there any prerequisite course requirements for the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program?

Not at this time

23. Is the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program offered by distance learning?

The LSUHSC School of Nursing Graduate Program has adopted a hybrid model which includes traditional classes along with web-enhanced activities and distance learning teaching strategies. Currently, no course is completely on-line.

24. Can I attend the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program on a part-time basis? How long does it take to complete the program?

Most enrolled students attend the program on a part-time basis. The length of time for completion of the course depends on the number of courses taken per semester. Most students take 7-9 semesters to complete the program.

25. How much do books cost? Are other supplies needed?

Textbooks and additional supplies are carefully selected by program faculty and establish a professional library for students. The actual cost of books fluctuates semester to semester due to the number of scheduled courses and the prices set by individual publishers. However, students should anticipate books costing $200 - $400 per semester. Additional supplies include those needed in learning certain procedures and for clinical experiences, such as suture supplies and a high quality stethoscope. A list of required textbooks and supplies is provided in each course.

26. How much study time should be allotted per week for each hour of graduate class?

Students are expected to be self-directed learners and capable of independent learning beyond class activities. It is expected that for every one credit hour taken that students spend a minimum of three hours studying, e.g. a student registers for a three hour course. This means the class will have approximately 3 hours of instructional activity weekly. Therefore, the student should anticipate needing to study a minimum of 9 hours per week. This recommendation does not include the time needed to research and to write assigned papers.

27. Are subject matter examinations given in the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner program?

One of the goals of the program is to help students prepare for certification examinations. Therefore, on campus proctored examinations are administered throughout most courses.

28. How many times per semester do students come to campus for class?

On campus attendance is dependent upon the courses taken. Classes that are taught by School of Nursing faculty follow the Graduate Program's schedule which includes on campus classes approximately once or twice a month. Classes that are taught by faculty from other LSUHSC schools or departments generally meet once or twice during the week, usually on Mondays or Wednesdays.

29. On what days of the week are classes scheduled?

Most School of Nursing Graduate Program classes meet on Fridays or Saturdays.

30. What is the size of the classes in the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program?

Since 2008, classes have ranged approximately from 20 to 40 students.

31. Is an exit examination required for graduation?

The use of an exit examination is being pilot tested at this time.

32. What are the graduation and certification rates?

Graduation rates of students enrolled in family nurse practitioner courses is generally 97-100%. Students who do not complete the program generally leave the program while taking core courses. The May 2009 graduating class had a 100% pass rate on their certification exams.

33. How many clinical hours are required in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program?

The current curriculum includes a minimum of 760 hours of clinical experiences. The required number of clinical hours range from 100 to 180 hours per course.

34. Is housing available for graduate students?

Contact for information related to on-campus housing.

35. How many hours per week can I work while enrolled in the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program?

Although the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program does not have a formal policy regarding working while in taking classes, students are not encouraged to work full-time. It is recognized that many factors, such as the work schedule, type of position and family responsibilities, affect the decisions related to working. Generally, students who work approximately twenty (20) hours per week are able to have adequate time for school responsibilities.

36. How are clinical experiences assigned?

Clinical experiences are assigned by program faculty after receiving personal information from students.

37. Can I request to do my clinical hours close to my home?

Efforts are made to assign students to clinical sites in their home communities but can't be guaranteed.

38. Is the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program accredited and by whom?

LSUHSC School of Nursing, which includes the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program, is fully accredited by CCNE who has integrated National Organization of Nurse Practitioner (NONPF) curriculum and evaluation guidelines into their accreditation requirements.

39. May a student change programs in the graduate program, e.g. change from Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program to the neonatal nurse practitioner program?

Transfers between programs are managed by the respective programs. A policy related to transfers to the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program is being developed.

40. What type of computer access is required for the family nurse practitioner program?

Students must have access to email and internet, be competent in Word and PowerPoint and have basic spreadsheet skills in Excel.

41. Is a student portfolio required?

Students develop a student portfolio that is continuous throughout the program. Information from the portfolio is used as part of the evaluation process and to develop a professional portfolio the last semester of the program.

42. Is a Capstone or a thesis required?

A Capstone or a thesis is not required.

43. Does the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner program use simulators?

The Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program currently uses various mannequins and low fidelity simulators. The use of standardized patient cases is used frequently. Web based activities and simulations are incorporated into classes.