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MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner FAQ

Q: What is the estimated class size?

A: Each enrollment of students consists of 24-28 students

Q: How long is the MSN, FNP program?

A: The MSN, FNP program is 1.7 years (5 semesters) in length if a student takes classes on a full-time basis (taking 2 courses/8 weeks until the clinical courses begin).

Q: Candidates must submit a writing sample as part of the admission requirements.  What does that entail?

A: Students will submit an essay that addresses the following two questions:

  • Describe your purpose for pursuing the Masters of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Degree.
  • Discuss your career goals as a FNP and where you envision yourself working after graduation.  Guidelines:  Limit three pages and follow American Psychological Association guidelines for writing and references.

Q: Will I need to attend any classes on site at Keiser University (KU) for the MSN FNP program?

A: There are 2 onsite residencies that are scheduled at specified times in Fort Lauderdale, Florida during the MSN FNP program. The first residency is in the Advanced Assessment course and is 3 days in length (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The second residency is in the final course, Integration Practicum, this residency is two days in length (Saturday and Sunday)

Q: Can students attend the MSN, FNP program on a part time basis?

A: Yes, students can attend the MSN, FNP program on a part time basis.  Part-time is considered one course per 8 weeks. We strongly recommend that students complete the program within 5 years of their start date.

Q: Is there a specific order in which to take the MSN FNP courses?

A: Yes. Courses are offered in specific sequences and students will receive guidance in developing their program plan from Keiser University’s admission counselors. NUR501 Leadership and Professional Development in Nursing is the first course in the program. NUR650 Advanced Pathophysiology for Practice, NUR661 Principles of Advanced Pharmacology II, and NUR 671 Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning as well as the core courses must be completed prior to starting the clinical courses.

Q: Can I work when I am a student in the MSN, FNP program?

A: Yes, it is possible to work during the program.  Your ability to balance your work schedule, your clinical schedule, your home responsibilities, and your academic studies is the key to being successful.  You will spend approximately 15-16 hours per week in your clinical practicums; 6-8 hours per week in the online course (discussion forums and instruction).  Your study and review time is based upon your individual study habits.

Q: How many clinical hours are required in the program?

A: Students will be required to complete a minimum of 510 clinical hours.

Q: AANP and AACN require 500 hours of clinical practice to be eligible for the certifying exam. Why does Keiser University (KU) require a minimum of 510 hours of clinical practice in the MSN, FNP curriculum?

A: KU has designed a rigorous curriculum that includes 510 clinical hours to ensure the highest quality graduates and success in meeting certification requirements.

Q: How long will it take for me to complete my clinical courses and experiences?

A: There are 5, eight week clinical practicum sessions that are each associated with a corresponding didactic course. The first two clinical practicums are 2 credits each (with 120 clinical hours each practicum).  That averages to approximately 16 hours per week. The second two clinical practicums have 60 clinical hours each that averages to approximately 8 hours per week. The last clinical course includes 150 clinical hours. Taken sequentially, it would take 40 weeks to complete the didactic and clinical component of the FNP program.

Q: What are the prerequisite courses required prior to starting clinical courses?

A: Student schedules and program plans are individually designed prior to the start of the program.  All core courses and the specialty courses, NUR650 Advanced Pathophysiology for Practice, NUR661 Principles of Advanced Pharmacology II, and NUR 671 are to be completed prior to the start of the clinical courses. Both theory and clinical courses must be successfully completed and final grades submitted prior to the student enrolling in subsequent clinical and theory courses.

Q: What steps need completion before I can begin the clinical practicum?

A: Prior to starting clinical practice experiences, students must show evidence of medical clearance (including appropriate immunization status) and have a clear criminal history background check. All clinical sites will have a contract with the college and all preceptors will be approved by the college before students begin their clinical experiences. Also, students must complete all core courses and specialty courses prior to starting the clinical courses.

Q: How do students get assigned a clinical preceptor?

A. Students identify their own clinical sites and preceptors.  Getting a preceptor can take some time, depending on where you live.  Some tips for locating a preceptor are listed below:

  • It is recommended that you begin to plan for your clinical courses approximately THREE MONTHS in ADVANCE of the course start date.  This will allow you sufficient time to gather the required documentation, make arrangements with your preceptor and clinical site, and obtain approval from your clinical coordinating MSN, FNP faculty.
  • 1) Identify a potential preceptor, assess whether they have the qualifications to serve as your preceptor, and determine if the individual is interested in working with you.  2) While it is preferred that the preceptor be a Masters prepared Family Nurse Practitioner, you may use a limited number of other professionals as preceptors such as  Masters prepared Adult Nurse Practitioners, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners).   Medical doctors (MD) and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are acceptable as preceptors.  3) Preceptor must possess an active license for their discipline; 4) Preceptor must practice in the clinical site you selected and have at least one year experience; 4) Preceptor must be willing to spend the time to mentor and precept you during your clinical hours.
  • Select a Primary care site and initiate contact with a potential preceptor who meets the qualifications and who may be interested in working with you.
  • You may complete the clinical hours where you work but the experience must: 1) be in a different setting that your usual assigned work department; 2) be under the direction of a preceptor who is not your immediate supervisor in your usual work; 3) be completed outside of your normal working hours.
  • Students are not permitted to be assigned to the clinical area or unit in which they are currently employed.
  • There is no compensation (no payment for time spent with your preceptor) for any of these clinical hours.

Other helpful tips in locating a preceptor:

1.  Clinical hours may be completed in Primary care health departments, retail clinics, physician offices, urgent cares, and fast track clinics.

2. Contact your state board of nursing and ask if they have a list of available preceptors in your area.

3. Contact your local, regional, state, or national Nurse Practitioner (NP) Association. You can join as a student member (at reduced rates) and then attend local Association meetings to network with potential preceptors. Some NP Associations operate web sites and/or email list serves that are accessible to members and which allow students to post an “advertisement” for a preceptor.

4. Review organizations online that serve underserved populations:

  • Federally designated Migrant Health Service Centers and Indian Health Service Centers
  • County public health departments
  • Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) clinics that are designated by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Homeless shelters and health centers.
  • Rural or inner-city health clinics
  • Free clinics
  • Church and community health clinics.

Q: Can I schedule my clinical hours in blocks of time (e.g. 4 weeks in a row) as an intensive clinical practicum?

A: Each clinical course runs over a period of 8 weeks and students average 15-16 hours per week in clinical practice.  You will be collaborating with your preceptor to schedule your supervised clinical hours.   We highly recommend that you spread the clinical hours over the 8 week session. It is important for you to have time to reflect after and between each clinical session to review the experiences and to perform the appropriate research for learning to occur.

Q: How many hours per age group (pediatric, women’s health, adult) are required for certification?

A: Neither the AANP or ACCCN defines exact “hour counts” for certification eligibility. Students must submit confirmation (confirmed by Keiser University) of completion of 500 supervised clinical hours that are reflect care provision to patients across the lifespan.  Our program clinical hours are as follows: 120 hours in families with children (pediatrics); 120 hours in families with women including prenatal care, monitoring, and postpartum care; 120 hours in families with young/middle adult health and 120 hours in care of families with older adults;. 150 hours in integrated care of families across the lifespan.   Clinical hours and case logs are tracked by the student in a secure website (Typhon Tracking System) which calculates hours by age group and diagnosis.

Q: Do I need to carry my own malpractice insurance for the clinical practicums?

A: Keiser University does require that students carry their own liability insurance (and provide evidence of this) once they get to their clinical courses.  Even though Keiser University and the agency that you will affiliate with may have liability insurance, you must obtain personal liability insurance.  You will be practicing under your own RN license and it important that you protect it.  There are a number of organizations that provide liability insurance for practicing nurses: the American Nurses Association provides it at a discount if you are a member and Nurses Services Organization (NSO) has been providing insurance to nurses for years.  Here are some helpful websites for you to review for malpractice insurance:

You may also want to research the Nurse Practitioner Organizations or other professional nursing organizations to see if they offer student discounted malpractice insurance coverage.

Q: What electronic equipment is required for the clinical practicums?

A: We strongly recommend that students invest in handheld (such as a Smart Phone) or tablet devices for easy access to electronic (applications or “apps”) and internet resources to research patient diagnoses and best practice treatment guidelines (evidence based practice) during the clinical day. Some clinical sites will have internet access and electronic resources available to the student and others will not.  In more remote settings where internet or cell phone signal access not available, students may rely upon print materials (textbooks and journals) for basic information while at the clinical site.

Q: How do I achieve certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)?

A: There are two recognized, certifying bodies that provide certification for FNPs. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or AANP ( and the American Nurses Credentialing Center or ANCC ( Keiser University does not recommend one certifying body over another.  We recommend that you visit the two sites and explore their site information.

Q: How do I become licensed to practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)?

A: Licensing regulations for Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) vary from state to state.  All states require that an ARNP is certified (by examination) through a recognized certifying body (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center).  Contact your Board of Nursing for state specific regulations.  See the National Council of State Boards of nursing at  to locate your State Board of Nursing.

Q: Can I take the certification examination once I complete all of the course work? 

A: Both the AANP and the ANCC require a conferred degree and an official transcript prior to finalizing the certification process. The AANP certification exam may be taken prior to degree conferral but the examination results will not be released until the degree is conferred.  The ANCC requires a conferred degree and an official transcript on file prior to any candidate taking the examination.  Candidates may start the application process for both certifying bodies with a non-official transcript showing all courses completed while awaiting degree conferral.

In addition, both certifying bodies require documentation from the FNP program verifying that a minimum of 500 clinical hours have been completed.

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or AANP ( or the American Nurses Credentialing Center or ANCC (

Q: I have been told that I will be required to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP) by the year 2025?

A: The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) together with other advanced practice nursing organizations in the country published a Consensus Model for the educational preparation and certification of Nurse Practitioners (2008).  The DNP is an option for Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners but at this time, it is not required as “entry level” for nurse practitioners. The Keiser University MSN/FNP program adheres to all of the recommendations of the Consensus Model. or

Q: Does Keiser University (KU) offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree?

A: Yes, Keiser University offers a post-Master’s DNP program.