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FNP Online Courses

FNP Online Courses

FNP Online Courses

To act as a primary care provider — offering the highest-level of patient care allowed with a nursing credential — demands rigorous and exacting preparation. Your coursework focuses heavily on primary care topics as well as advanced health assessment, pharmacology and health care research.

These distinctive FNP courses differ entirely from the online MSN in Nursing Education, Nursing Management and Executive Leadership, or Clinical Nurse Leader specializations offered at Sacred Heart University. Additionally, there are separate admission requirements for the online FNP program, and a larger time commitment from you to complete the degree. The FNP online courses are 100 percent virtual; however, an on-site orientation and two on-site evaluation visits are required. Students may be required to travel significant distances to access clinical sites and achieve the necessary clinical hours.

Sample Plan of Study

Interested in what the plan of study looks like for the online FNP? Click on the links below to see the course flow.

Plans of Study:


Our MSN graduates are qualified to sit for the national certification exams offered through the ANA and the AANP.


FNP Course Objectives

The FNP courses focus on family care in a primary-care provider context over the lifespan of your patients.

You'll learn to

  • Think critically using evidence-based practice
  • Offer education and counseling to patients
  • Provide a wide range of primary care for patients of various ages
  • Communicate effectively with patients from diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Analyze data from physical examinations and health assessments
  • Interpret medical information


FNP Core CoursesCredit Hours
NU 501Health Care Policy & Ethics for Contemporary Nursing Practice3
NU 530Theory and Professional Roles for Contemporary Nursing Practice3
NU 603Principles of Health Care Research for Contemporary Nursing Practice3
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Specialization CoursesCredit Hours
NU 550Family and Community Context for Healthcare3
NU 551Advanced Pharmacology for the Nurse Practitioner3
NU 552Advanced Health Assessment for the Nurse Practitioner3
NU 566Advanced Pathophysiology for the Nurse Practitioner 3
NU 561Primary Care I: Comprehensive Primary Care of the Adult6
NU 621Primary Care II: Advanced Primary Care of Families in Complex Systems7
NU 631Primary Care III: Advanced Primary Care of Families in Complex Systems 8


Prerequisite FNP Courses

These courses will be added to your curriculum plan if they weren’t completed previously.

NU 325 Health Assessment for RNs
Utilizing the conceptual framework of the nursing program, this course focuses on comprehensive health assessment. Adequate data collection and careful analysis for diagnostic and planning purposes is stressed. The student will use the diagnostic reasoning process to formulate nursing diagnoses based on the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA) nomenclature. The nursing laboratory experience is available for students, but not required. Videotaping assessment skills is a required course tool.

View Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Integrate knowledge from nursing and the sciences into the health assessment of individuals throughout the lifespan.
  2. Demonstrate skills in health assessment through interviewing, history taking, physical assessment and functional assessment.
  3. Utilize the diagnostic reasoning process to accurately formulate judgments about health assessment data.
  4. Demonstrate principles of adequate and accurate documentation related to the health assessment of an individual.
  5. Discuss the legal and ethical implications of the role of the nurse related to health assessment.

MA 131 Statistics for Decision MakingPrerequisite for NU 601 and all MSN tracks
This course is geared towards liberal arts, science and health science majors. It introduces descriptive statistics, probability distributions: both discrete and normal confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and correlation. Real-world applications are offered and computer statistical software may be used.

Prerequisite: One college-level Mathematics course or placement by Mathematics Department.

View Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. An understanding of different ways to collect, organize, and describe data sets.
  2. An understanding of the basic concepts of probability and be able to apply them to study probability distributions.
  3. An ability to use sample statistics to make inferences about a population parameter.


FNP Courses

The FNP specialization consists of 42 credit hours.

NU 501 Health Care Policy & Ethics for Contemporary Nursing Practice

This core course focuses on history, policy, and ethics in nursing and health care. It examines health care policy, including global health considerations, health care financing, quality and safety in health care, and the ethics of health care. Current practices in nursing and health care are viewed from the past and present as a way to contemplate the future. The course builds on a framework of critical thinking, as students explore aspects of the history of nursing and medicine, analysis of current policy development, and implications of the past for present and future actions in nursing and health care.

View Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Explore and evaluate selected aspects of health care policy and their impact on health care services and outcomes.
  2. Discuss key issues and trends in health care delivery and legislation including scope of practice, standards of practice, credentialing, licensure, certification and prescriptive authority.
  3. Describe the major principles of health care financing, noting their relationship to policy decisions and ethical issues.
  4. Discuss the evolution of the organization and structure of health care institutions and systems within the context of achievement of health care goals and outcomes.
  5. Identify and analyze common ethical dilemmas in health care using ethical principles and decision strategies.
  6. Describe major documents that guide health care in the United States and understand their implications for professional nursing including the Institute of Medicine Report (October 2010), The Future of Nursing, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and reports from the Institute of Medicine.
  7. Initiate a portfolio to begin the process of compiling and displaying a comprehensive set of professional works that reflect achievement of MSN end of program competencies.

NU 530 Theory and Professional Roles for Contemporary Nursing Practice

This course is one of the graduate core classes that provides the foundation for advanced practice nursing. The role of the advance practice nurse as a member of the profession will be emphasized. Students will be introduced to theories from nursing, natural, social, biological and organizational sciences to frame their future practice. Further, students consider issues of cultural diversity and competence to assure the delivery of culturally competent care and minimization of health disparities.

View Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Describe the role of advanced practice nurses as a member of the profession.
  2. Reflect on learning needs and opportunities for transition into the advanced practice role.
  3. Assess personal communication effectiveness.
  4. Critique, evaluate and utilize appropriate theory from nursing, natural, social, organizational and biological sciences.
  5. Develop an understanding for and appreciation of human diversity to assure the delivery of culturally competent care.
  6. Reflect on how one’s own world view and culture affects personal and professional relationships.

NU 603 Principles of Health Care Research for Contemporary Nursing Practice

This course studies the field of research and its relationship to problems related to nursing and health care. Each step of the research process is explored in-depth to develop the skills to apply research to practice. Students apply critical analysis to relevant research literature to determine its usefulness and application. Statistical methods and concepts are reviewed and integrated throughout the course to promote an understanding of those concepts within the context of health care research. Emphasis is on understanding the research process through proposal development. Prerequisite: MA 131

View Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Examine the evolution of nursing and health care research.
  2. Generate well-worded research questions.
  3. Compare and contrast different research designs.
  4. Prepare an evidence based literature review integrative literature review in a specified area of interest.
  5. Evaluate the strength of research evidence by critiquing key methodological steps within research reports.
  6. Interpret the relevance of statistical information in published reports.
  7. Apply principles of ethical and legal issues involved in conducting research.
  8. Translate evidence into practice.
  9. Apply research to lead change to improve health care outcomes.


FNP Specialization Courses

NU 550 Family and Community Context for Healthcare
This course addresses selected family, primary care, and community theories within the context of advanced practice nursing and clinical leadership roles. The family system is viewed as both unique and dynamic, existing interdependently with the community and the environment and requiring advanced nursing expertise and caring at various times across the life cycle. Particular emphasis is placed on family and community assessment strategies, the impact of culture upon the family and community systems, and the impact of various primary care-oriented health problems on family roles and functions. In addition, relevant concepts and principles of epidemiology are applied to the current and emerging health status of families and communities. Faculty members collaborate with students as they apply advanced clinical knowledge to the family system in a community setting. Students function interdependently with other health team members in the care of families and evaluate a plan of care using standards for advanced clinical practice.

View Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Critically analyze the family and community as clients using a systems and developmental approach.
  2. Analyze the multiple variables that shape family and community systems to determine the health status and needs of client families within a community context.
  3. Discuss components of primary care theory in correlation to family functioning within the community.
  4. Synthesize advanced nursing, family, community, and primary care theories for application to a family plan of care.
  5. Integrate the various components of culturally competent care into the design and implementation of effective family and community plans of care.
  6. Demonstrate advanced nursing assessment skills in caring for a selected family within the community context.
  7. Analyze the impact of selected health problems on family and community systems.
  8. Collaborate with a selected family to evaluate progress of this family toward mutually determined health goals.
  9. Analyze relevant facets of family systems, such as socialization of family members and utilization of resources that provide an ability to function as an effective citizen within society.
  10. Demonstrate an evolving understanding of the legal-ethical ramifications of advanced practice nursing and clinical leadership in the care of families within the community context.
  11. Demonstrate an evolving commitment to self-reflection and self-evaluation.
  12. Utilize relevant principles of epidemiology in the assessment of a selected family within the community context.

NU 551 Advanced Pharmacology for the Nurse Practitioner

This class focuses on the pharmacotherapeutic principles of drugs most commonly used in the primary care setting. Topics include the pharmacologic effects and clinical uses of various drug groups and classifications. Emphasis is placed on rational drug therapy for agent selection, monitoring drug therapies, identification and avoidance of adverse drug reactions and interactions, and extensive patient education and counseling.

NU 552 Advanced Health Assessment for the Nurse Practitioner

Students learn to assess in the biopsychosocial health status of clients across the life span in depth by obtaining a complete and accurate health history and by performing a thorough physical examination, then using the acquired data to formulate a working medical diagnosis. Content is designed to provide correlation of assessment strategies with an understanding of the mechanisms of illness and health problems of the main body systems, as well as to address the integration of common medical testing. Students explore role of the advanced practice nurse in the current health care delivery system. The laboratory component enables students to develop advanced assessment skills.

NU 566 Advanced Pathophysiology for the Nurse Practitioner This course supports a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiological disease processes mostly commonly seen afflicting patients across the lifespan. Clinical pathology content addresses alterations in major body systems that are commonly found in primary care settings, as well as common testing used in the diagnostic process.

View Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of pathophysiology and the ability to integrate this knowledge to identification of clinical findings.
  2. Demonstrate the principles of critical thinking in processing and evaluating clinical findings.
  3. Differentiate between normal and abnormal clinical findings during the health assessment process.
  4. Discuss the relevance of common abnormal clinical findings to the client.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the pathophysiology in common diseases and be able to apply that knowledge to typical primary care situations.
  6. Discuss appropriate use of common medical testing employed in the diagnosis of disease states.

NU 561 Primary Care I: Comprehensive Primary Care of the Adult

This is the first of three clinical courses in this online nurse practitioner program designed to enable students to learn problem-solving skills and clinical strategies necessary to socialize into the role of the Family Nurse Practitioner. Coursework introduces students to a systematic approach to understanding the delivery of primary health care to the well adult. Various principles of illness prevention and health maintenance are introduced, as well as methodologies used to diagnose and treat common primary care problems. Emphasis is on the consultation role component of the nurse practitioner as well as on the direct provision of primary care and health promotion.

NU 621 Primary Care II: Advanced Primary Care of Families in Complex Systems

The second of three clinical courses designed to enable graduate students to learn problem-solving skills and clinical strategies necessary to diagnose and treat common and complex primary care problems found in family members, from adults to children. Emphasis is on the leadership role component of the nurse practitioner as well as on the direct provision of primary care.

NU 631 Primary Care III: Advanced Primary Care of Families in Complex Systems

This final clinical course focuses on the diagnostic and management skills necessary to be effective in the role of Family Nurse Practitioner. Coursework emphasizes problems commonly found in emerging and aging families. Topics include pediatrics, women’s health, and geriatrics. Implementation and synthesis of the role, which are addressed through a focus on types of practice settings, reimbursement mechanisms, marketing strategies, employment opportunities and collaborative relationships. Students also explore future trends in advanced nursing practice are explored. And apply advanced nursing practice theory into supervised clinical practice.

Find out more about the curriculum of the FNP online courses of Sacred Heart's Master of Science in Nursing. Call us today at 877-791-7181 or request more information online.