Indiana has a wealth of options for registered nurses (RNs) seeking online graduate programs in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization. Five universities offer an online master of science in nursing (MSN) and post-master’s certificate programs in FNP: Purdue University Northwest (Calumet), Ball State University, the University of Southern Indiana, Indiana State University, and Indiana Wesleyan University. These programs are specifically designed for registered nurses with a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degrees. Notably, Ball State University also offers an online RN-to-MSN pathway for those with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees.
All of these online FNP programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These advanced practice nursing degrees combine online coursework with clinical practice to prepare FNPs to provide primary care in a variety of healthcare settings. Some programs require one or more campus visits while enrolled.
This article provides a detailed description of these programs and information on FNP licensing requirements in Indiana.
Program Information: Online FNP Programs in Indiana
Home of the Indiana Center for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice, Purdue University Northwest (Calumet) offers an online MSN and post-master’s certificate in the FNP specialty. The MSN consists of 47 credits, while the certificate program includes 30 hours of coursework. One campus visit is required; however, practicum hours may be completed in students’ local areas. Admission is not currently available to residents of all states; prospective students are advised to email the department with their name, state of residency and state of RN licensure before beginning the application process.
Ball State University offers an RN-to-MSN track for nursing professionals with associate degrees in nursing and non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. The school also has a BSN-to-MSN FNP program and post-master’s FNP certificate. With no GRE requirement and no required campus visits, these 100 percent online programs are well-suited to working professionals. The required 47 credits can be completed in eight semesters. Students must also complete 690 clinical practicum hours.
The University of Southern Indiana administers a BSN-to-MSN and post-master’s certificate in the family nurse practitioner specialty. While both programs require 665 hours of clinical practice, the MSN consists of 42 credits of online coursework, whereas the certificate program is 24. GRE scores are not required; however, as of the fall of 2018, a two-day orientation and one or several two-day sessions must be completed on-campus as part of the FNP curricular experience. These programs are only offered to residents of certain states.
The FNP programs at Indiana State University focus on skill development in the areas needed to meet the holistic health needs of patients. These skills include health promotion and protection, disease prevention and treatment, practitioner-patient relationships, professional roles and the teaching-coaching function, managing and negotiating health care delivery systems, monitoring and ensuring the quality of healthcare practices, and cultural competence. The MSN and post-master’s certificate are offered 100 percent online, with no campus visits and clinical placements in students’ states of licensure. The part-time study option allows for completion in two-and-a-half to three years.
Indiana Wesleyan University offers an MSN in primary care nursing with a family nurse practitioner specialization. This degree program emphasizes the interconnectedness of theory, research, and evidence-based practice. All courses are delivered online, except for the advanced health and assessment class. Campus visits are also required for five clinical orientation workshops. While there is no GRE requirement, one year of direct-care experience is required of applicants with BSN degrees, and ten years of practice for RNs with a degree in a non-nursing major.
Indiana FNP Licensing Requirements
According to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, FNPs must apply for licensure as advanced practice nurses (APNs) after getting national certification in the family specialization. This process includes an application for independent prescriptive authority. To receive the state APN license, the following documentation must be submitted to the Professional Licensing Agency:
- A completed APN application
- Official transcripts from an accredited graduate degree program (sent directly to the Indiana State Board of Nursing)
- A copy of applicant’s current, unrestricted RN license
- A list of states in which applicant has been licensed
- A verification of licensure in any state in which the applicant has been licensed
- Proof of pharmacology education requirement
- A controlled substances application (CSA) for the location of primary practice and any other location where the applicant is in need of prescriptive authority
- A collaborative agreement
- A criminal background check
- A statement of explanation for any history of arrest
- A professional quality photograph (2.5 x 3.5 inches) with the applicant’s signature on the front
- A $50.00 non-refundable application fee payable by personal check, cashier’s check or money order
A note on renewal: At least 30 hours of approved, continuing education credits must be earned for renewal of APN licenses, eight of which must be in pharmacology for those already licensed with prescriptive authority.