The questions below relate directly to the Family Nurse Practitioner DNP specialty. You may also want to refer to our general FAQs regarding the DNP.
How long does it take to complete the specialty?
Students can choose from several options for completing their studies. Click the Sample Plans of Study tab to view each of the different options.
What type of nursing experience should applicants have?
The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) enrolls all types of nurses in the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty, and number of years of experience range from minimal to more than 20 years. Our most successful students have demonstrated excellent clinical skills and are highly adaptable. Applicants should have experience in caring for people across the lifespan as well as the family unit either through their employment or through volunteer work.
Where can graduates work? What is the job market like for graduates of this specialty?
FNPs provide primary care in a variety of settings such as clinics, private physician and nurse practitioner practices, nursing homes, schools, institutes of higher education, urgent care centers and public health departments in both urban and rural areas. Nurse practitioners help ease the primary care provider shortage in the United States, especially given the emphasis on health care reform measures and the patient-centered medical home.
How much hands-on clinical time will need to be completed?
The minimum number of practicum hours required for the DNP degree is 1,000 hours. For UMSON graduates to be eligible for their respective board certification exams, they must complete the DNP degree. Refer to the plans of study for the number of clinical hours required each semester.
Do students have to find their own preceptor or clinical site? Can they do their clinical rotations where they work?
Students are not required to find their own preceptor or clinical site. UMSON faculty members are committed to assigning students to clinical sites that are appropriate for course and program objectives. We are fortunate to have contacts with many nurse practitioner alumni and other providers who serve as preceptors. UMSON has clinical contracts with agencies in a variety of settings across the state of Maryland and in Washington, D.C. Students with a particular clinical site/preceptor of interest may forward the contact information to the course faculty member so the faculty member can determine whether the site is appropriate to meet the course objectives. Students should not complete their clinical rotations in the specific environments where they are employed due to a potential conflict of interest. Final approval of clinical site placement is at the faculty member’s discretion.
Clinical practicum settings are outpatient and community-based, such as in a family practice, primary care office, public and private clinics, and urgent care centers. Students will practice with nurse practitioners and physicians and will complete clinical practicum hours in women’s health, adult, geriatric, and pediatric populations. Clinical hours are generally obtained Monday through Friday during routine office hours. It is not uncommon for students to commute 1-2 hours one way to clinical sites.
Is there anything else I can do to strengthen my application?
Many variables are taken into consideration when reviewing a student’s application for admission. A strong foundation in courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment is one key to success. Writing and grammar skills are also critically important for graduate-level education. Taking a writing course, particularly a technical writing course, may be of assistance. You may take these courses at a university of your preference. In addition, an applicant’s involvement in professional and organizational activities, as well as other scholarly activities, is evidence of leadership capabilities and interests. Current clinical experience is ideal and completion of certification in your specialty area is strongly recommended. We highly recommend that you spend several hours shadowing an advanced practice nurse in the specialty you wish to pursue.
How can I get additional information?
For more information regarding admissions to this specialty, please contact the UMSON Admissions Office at: 410-706-0501, option #2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.