Frequently Asked Questions for the M.S.N., Family Nurse Practitioner Track

Q. To become a Family Nurse Practitioner, do I have to obtain a masters degree or can my extensive clinical experience allow me to be eligible to become certified as a nurse practitioner?

A. Everyone must complete a masters degree and specific competencies for their chosen area of specialty in order to become certified as a nurse practitioner. Family Nurse Practitioners can apply for board certification, visit American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to see the requirements or go to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner site for certification.

Q. Who develops the specific competencies for nurse practitioners graduate education?

A. The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is responsible for developing the nurse practitioner competencies.

Q. Can a Family Nurse Practitioner work only in primary care and with what age of patients?

A. A certified Family Nurse Practitioner is prepared to work with patients across the life span except for critical care and high risk pregnancy. Family Nurse Practitioners can work in primary care or specialized areas of medicine such as cardiology, infertility, interventional radiology, oncology, and pediatrics. The program at Fairfield University prepares the graduate to be able to work with all age groups. Clinical practica are arranged to prepare the student to gain experience in multiple specialty areas.

Q. Will I be better off to obtain a Family Nurse Practitioner degree if I know I want to work in pediatrics only?

A. The Family Nurse Practitioner degree will prepare you to work as an FNP in pediatric settings as well as with adults of all ages in case you change your mind as your career evolves. If you feel you want to be specialized in pediatrics, you should seek information at institutions offering a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner track.

Q. I am interested in working with older adults, but should I be prepared as a Family Nurse Practitioner so that I can be more flexible depending on what type of setting I get hired for practice?

A. Being a Family Nurse Practitioner will make you most marketable and enable you to work in any age setting. However, there is another opportunity for FNPs which would allow you to sit for the Geriatric Nurse Practitioner certification exam so you would be dual certified as both an FNP and a GNP. To obtain more information on the clinical and continuing education requirements for eligibility to be dual-certified, go to the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Q. I have taken 3 masters core courses at another university and wonder if I can transfer the 9 credits toward completing the masters degree in nursing at Fairfield University?

A. Only 2 courses or 6 credits can be accepted for transfer, and only if the course syllabi have been assessed and evaluated as equal to the courses required at Fairfield University.