STANDISH — Saint Joseph’s College has announced a new online program that allows nurses to do advanced degree course work online and complete clinical experiences largely in their home area. The family nurse practitioner classes can be completed as part of the master in nursing degree or as a post-MSN certificate.
“There are only a handful of online family nurse practitioner programs nationwide,” said Dr. Lois Hamel, director of online nursing programs. “The timing couldn’t be more perfect, given the federal Nurse Education Loan Repayment money to help nurses further their education,” she said.
The integrated curriculum includes a 15-week online classes in ethics, leadership, research and policy, in addition to advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology and advanced physical health assessment. Courses will blend a student’s professional experience with the course content, allowing for immediate application in the work setting.
The 600 hours of clinical work are done in the student’s home area with approved preceptors. Those hours are combined with another 80 hours on campus in two week-long summer intensives emphasizing clinical skills. Graduates of the program can sit for the national family nurse practitioner exam and practice in any state in the country.
Family nurse practitioners are primary care providers who perform comprehensive health assessments, develop diagnoses and prescribe pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments to manage acute and chronic health problems. They are also involved in all levels of prevention and health promotion. While they see patients for office visits and yearly exams, they are particularly known for their increased emphasis on patient education and patient support.