The state of Washington is home to one institution that offers online graduate degree programs for registered nurses (RNs) who want to specialize as family nurse practitioners (FNPs). Located in Spokane, Gonzaga University has several distance education options designed to help students at varying levels of educational attainment pursue a master’s degree or higher in the specialty, and become certified as an FNP. All of the school’s online FNP programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and feature online coursework and lectures delivered through asynchronous instruction. For more information about online FNP programs in Washington, and to learn about the state’s licensing requirements for FNPs, see the sections below.
Program Information: Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs in Washington
Gonzaga University’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Family Nurse Practitioner program is open to RNs who possess either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Offered on a part-time basis, the program is comprised of 47 course credits; however, students entering the program with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree must take four additional bridge courses. Along with online coursework, MSN students are required to complete 600 clinical practice hours in order to graduate, and visit campus six times throughout the program (roughly two visits per year). The program can be completed in approximately three years, but it may take longer for those who need to complete bridge courses. Students have up to five years to finish the program, if necessary.
For students who have already earned an MSN, but now wish to pursue certification as an FNP, the school offers an online Second Master’s Degree option. Their Second Master’s Degree pathway is available for part-time study, with start dates in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Depending on a gap analysis of their previous MSN coursework, post-master’s students will need to complete 32 to 35 credits to graduate, as well as fulfill 600 clinical hours. The six to seven semester program can completed in around two years, and students must participate in six on-campus sessions throughout their course of study.
Finally, Gonzaga has an online Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that gives RNs with a BSN or both an ADN and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree the chance to purse their doctorate alongside FNP certification. The 75-credit program will take those without a BSN slightly longer to complete, as they are required to take four bridge courses in addition to the regular curriculum. Offered on either a full- or part-time basis, the online DNP program at Gonzaga requires 1000 clinical practice hours, and a total of seven on-campus visits. The accelerated full-time program can be completed in roughly three years (10 semesters), while part-time students typically finish in four and a half to five years (13 to 15 semesters). Those pursuing their DNP part-time must complete the program within a seven year timeframe.
As mentioned above, students are required to visit the Gonzaga campus several times over their course of study for orientations or hands-on training intensives. These immersion experiences, spread throughout the program, allow students to participate in objective structured clinical evaluations (OSCEs) and other practice scenarios under the guidance of faculty members, and each may take place over one or more days.
Washington FNP Licensing Requirements
In the state of Washington, nurse licensure is administered by the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC), a division of the Washington State Department of Health. Students who want to practice as an FNP in Washington must apply for and obtain an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) license through the NCQAC. The first step in doing so is to maintain an active and unencumbered RN license in the state. Next, RNs will need to earn a graduate-level degree in the specialty from a program accredited by the CCNE, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), or another accrediting agency approved by the NCQAC. Completing an MSN, Post-Master’s Certificate, or DNP from a properly accredited nurse practitioner program qualifies students to obtain national certification, a requirement for state licensure.
Before RNs can apply for an ARNP license from the NCQAC, they must successfully pass a national certification examination in their chosen specialty. Prospective FNPs who have fulfilled the necessary educational requirements will need to sit for a certification exam administered by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB). Both organizations require students to have completed a minimum of 500 clinical hours under the supervision of a nursing instructor, nurse preceptor, or other clinical professional. Once they have passed the exam, and become nationally certified as an FNP, nurses are then eligible to apply for ARNP licensure through the NCQAC on the Washington Department of Health website.
Along with filling out an application form and submitting a $125 fee, RNs will need to provide officials transcripts from their graduate nursing program (sent directly from the school where they completed their degree), and proof of current national certification. Additionally, the NCQAC requires all ARNP applicants submit documentation verifying they have received seven hours of HIV/AIDS training, as well as answer personal data questions outlining their physical/mental health status and any history of disciplinary actions, felony convictions, or professional liability claims. Applicants who graduated from their FNP program more than one year prior must provide verification of 250 hours of advanced nursing employment within the last two years. This also applies to those applying from out-of-state or trying to reactivate a lapsed license. ARNPs must renew their license every two years (the same time they renew their RN license), and complete 30 hours of continuing education and at least 250 hours of practice each renewal cycle.
Universities in Washington with Online FNP Programs
|Gonzaga University||DNP (BSN or Non-Nursing Bachelors accepted)||Online Post-Bacc Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) option|
|Gonzaga University||MSN (BSN or Non-Nursing Bachelors accepted)||Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) option|
|Gonzaga University||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online Second Master's Degree - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) option|