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MSN - FNP Program Curriculum

Curriculum Details

42 total credits required

In the MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program, you will gain the skills to diagnose and treat patients over their entire lifespan through the use of health assessments, statistical data and the diagnostic reasoning process.

Through three core MSN-FNP program curriculum courses and seven FNP specialization courses, you’ll learn to communicate health plans successfully while considering diverse patient backgrounds and family systems. You will also understand drug groups, so you can manage successful drug therapies and avoid adverse reactions.

Graduate qualified to sit for national certification exams offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

Sacred Heart University’s FNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Plans of Study

Fall Start



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.

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.

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.



This course, the first within the Family, Primary Care, and Community sequence, 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

This is the first of four 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.

Primary Care of Children applies knowledge of wellness and prevention to children, focusing on birth through adolescence. Topics include health promotion/maintenance, growth and development, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common acute and chronic illnesses in diverse infant, child, and adolescent populations. Emphasis is placed on a primary, collaborative, community approach with interprofessional teams as a foundation for clinical practice. In addition to didactic, students participate in clinical experiences.

Primary Women’s Healthcare introduces the Family Nurse Practitioner student to well woman care and care of the antepartum woman. The course will enable students to participate in clinical decision making in the primary care of women, from adolescents through the menopause transition. Gynecologic and antepartum management including cervical and breast cancer screenings, contraceptive care, acute and chronic gynecologic pathologies, and healthy prenatal examinations will be covered. In addition to didactic, students participate in clinical experiences.

The fourth of four clinical courses designed to enable graduate FNP students to learn problem-solving skills and clinical strategies necessary to diagnose and treat common and complex primary care problems found in complex adult families and their members. Emphasis is on the leadership role component of the nurse practitioner as well as on the direct provision of primary care. In addition to classes, students participate in clinical experiences.
Prerequisites: NU 566, NU 551, NU 552, NU 561, NU 606, and NU 607



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. Videotaping assessment skills is a required course component. A prerequisite to NU376 and NU 387.

Coursework covers descriptive statistics, probability distributions, confidence intervals, correlation and hypothesis testing. Students will study the applications of computer software to statistics.