The Family Nurse Practitioner
Family--in its broadest definition--influences nearly every aspect of a person's health.
The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) meets the health care needs of the family by providing health assessments, direct care, and guidance, teaching, or counseling as appropriate, particularly around family self-care. The FNP typically works collaboratively with family primary care physicians and other professionals within the health care system.
In addition to conventional practice in an office, clinic, or ambulatory care center, the FNP may follow families in a variety of settings, such as school, home, work place, or hospital, dependent upon client need.
Family Nurse Practitioner Program
Meeting individual health care needs in the context of the family dictates that a family nurse practitioner understands the value of collaborative, family-centered care as well as the interaction among the physical, emotional, mental, and sociocultural systems of patients.
In addition, the program has a strong emphasis on meeting the needs of underserved, high-risk, and multi-cultural populations. These beliefs drive the FNP program.
A typical two-year course of study leads to the Master of Science degree and certification eligibility as a Family Nurse Practitioner; a part-time study option is also available. In addition to the core program, students may pursue an emphasis in other areas such as teaching, HIV care, or health policy.
Our students take courses in:
- family nursing theory
- family nursing intervention
- primary health care concepts and practice
- management of acute and chronic illness
- research approaches and critique
- socio-cultural issues
- role and leadership preparation
Seminars focus on application of knowledge and development of critical thinking and decision-making. Clinical practice provides practical experience in a range of community and primary care settings in collaboration with nurse practitioners, physicians, and other health practitioners.
Using this preparation as a springboard, our graduates are collaborative and culturally aware as they help determine and treat the primary care needs of many individuals spanning all age groups across a variety of health care settings.
Details on the required courses for the FNP specialty area are available by selecting the following link:
The FNP curriculum has been developed to meet current national standards. Graduates of the FNP program are eligible to sit for national certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
For information on applying to the Master of Science Program at UCSF School of Nursing, see the following links:
Those who are already Family Nurse Practitioners, with a bachelor's degree in nursing (or the equivalent), can earn a master's degree in one year by completing 36 units of academic coursework in an individually designed program of study.
UCSF also offers a Post-Master's FNP program; nurses who have already completed a master's degree in nursing may complete a post-master's program to obtain an FNP certificate.
The Post-MS FNP Program is six quarters in length (fall, winter, spring, summer, fall and winter). The following link shows the Post-MS FNP curriculum:
The curriculum changes slightly from year to year, but the attachment will give you an idea of the schedule.
Since applicants to this program have completed a Masters degree in Nursing, Post-MS students do not have to take the Masters Core courses (e.g., Research), but do need to take all of the Clinical Core courses, including all of the FNP specialty courses. Students will also need to complete all of the clinical residency hours (a minimum of 560).
Most courses are taught 1-2 days a week each quarter. Core courses are offered on Wednesdays; in most quarters, a second half day on campus (Tuesday or Thursday) is also required for specialty coursework. The clinical practicum begins in the summer quarter; students complete 240 hours of clinical over the summer (20-24 hours/week x 10-12 weeks). Most of the clinical practicum is during the daytime, although a few clinical practicums may be done in the evenings. There are no academic courses required during the summer. In the second year of the program (fall and winter quarters), students complete 16 hours/week of clinical in addition to academic coursework.
This program option provides a certificate at completion and eligibility to apply for a national FNP certification examination. The number of admissions is limited and determined by the availability of faculty resources.
The coordinator of the Post-Masters FNP Program application process is Pilar Bernal de Pheils. Please email her if you have questions about the post-master's FNP option.
For general information on our Post-Master's programs, and an application, please see the post-masters web page.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have admitted students whose background has been oriented in a different direction than family health, but who are currently developing career goals clearly in the direction of family and community-oriented primary health care. Clinical experience in any area that requires high levels of decision-making is definitely an asset. Fluency in a second language is also an asset due to the cultural diversity mandates of our program. Prior experience with underserved groups, either through work or volunteer activities, is a priority.
Masters Programs: An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on the 4.0 maximum scale) is expected for admission into the School of Nursing, although special circumstances can be discussed.
Doctoral Programs: an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.2, and, if a graduate (master's) degree has been earned, a Grade Point Average of 3.5 is expected, verified by official transcripts.
Caution: transcripts from outside the USA require special handling.
Non-English transcripts or international transcripts (especially transcripts using different grading systems) should be submitted for translation and/or evaluation to a transcript evaluation agency.
The purpose of the evaluation is to verify that your degree/coursework is the equivalent to that of a US Bachelor or Master's degree.
Evaluation agencies provide a variety of services. Be sure to request an evaluation that provides the following:
- Lists all subjects/courses completed at the post-secondary level
- Provides a U.S. semester credit and grade equivalent for each course
- Provides a U.S. grade point average (GPA) for the Bachelor's degree or its equivalent on a 4.0 scale, and
- Designates the level (upper or lower) of each undergraduate course
Un-translated non-English transcripts will not be accepted.
If you wish to provide health care to people across the lifespan or are planning on practicing in a rural area, the selection of the FNP program would be most appropriate.
If your interest, however, is in providing primary care to infants, children, and adolescents within a family context, the Pediatric NP program is most appropriate.
The faculty will work with you to find the preceptors who are best suited for your area of specialization. Our experience is that students often provide input in selecting and planning their clinical experiences and participate in this process of selecting preceptors.