Jul 19, 2024  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Family Nurse Practitioner, (MSN)

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree prepares advanced practice registered nurses as quality providers to meet healthcare needs of individuals, families and populations in the Tennessee, mid-south area, and in the nation. The MSN is the professional graduate degree that prepares registered nurses to become nurse practitioners to meet the dynamic and identified health care needs of local, regional and global societies. Upon completion of the Masters of Science in Nursing degree, graduates are eligible to sit for certification in the chosen specialty area. Tusculum University School of Nursing currently offers the MSN concentration area of Family Nurse Practitioner.

The Tusculum University MSN program provides students with the opportunity to provide advanced practice nursing care in a variety of practice settings. The MSN program has experienced faculty who provide mentorship and support to students. The emphasis of the program is on use of evidence-based knowledge and skills to lead the healthcare team, encourage health promotion, diagnose and treat acute and chronic illness and evaluate the plan of care. Critical thinking and decision-making skills are also emphasized. Upon completion of the program, the graduate is prepared to enter doctoral level education in nursing.

Admission to the Nursing major is limited.

Admission to Tusculum University does not guarantee acceptance to the nursing major.

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) concentration prepares graduates for advanced practice with competencies in delivering primary care to individuals across the lifespan. Classroom experiences, group conferences, and clinical experiences with standardized patients and clinical preceptors offer opportunities for students to deliver comprehensive and culturally competent health care to individuals across the lifespan.

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) concentration is a blended curriculum with students participating in hybrid classes held on campus and online activities. The program is not an on-line program (Starting January 2021, the program will be offered exclusively online to aid busy, working adults). Students may request full or part-time status. Part-time graduate nursing students must meet with their advisor to plan an individualized progression plan to ensure that course prerequisites and future course availability are incorporated. Anytime there is a change in academic status, a new program plan must be developed.

There are three tracks for this program: BSN to MSN, Associate degree (RN) to MSN and Post-Master’s certificate. The BSN to MSN FNP track requires 40 semester hours of graduate course work including a minimum of 540 clinical hours. The associate degree to MSN bridge program offers registered professional nurses with an associate degree the opportunity to streamline their education to earn the MSN without earning a BSN degree first. The Post Master’s Certificate (PMC) track is for the MSN prepared registered nurses who has not been prepared as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Students will take core courses (NURS 503 NURS 506 NURS 523 NURS 530 , and NURS 540  which provide knowledge and concepts that are foundational to the clinical aspect of the Family Nurse Practitioner. The FNP clinical courses (NURS 551 NURS 552 NURS 561 , NURS 563 NURS 571 NURS 573 NURS 581 NURS 583 , and NURS 593 ) build upon and expand on knowledge and concepts from the core courses of the curriculum and the unique life and academic experiences of the students. Successful completion of a comprehensive exam is required during the final semester. Students also complete a directed scholarly project.

Students may transfer a previous completed course work from a regionally accredited institution of higher education that is deemed to be equivalent in content and graduate-level rigor, and demonstrates comparable learning outcomes. Transfer credits must be approved by the MSN Program Director. Up to two courses may be approved for transfer, and in unusual circumstances additional coursework may be approved by the Dean of the School of Nursing.

Students will work with the MSN Program Director and course faculty to locate appropriate clinical placements that meet the academic requirements for the clinical course. While students may identify potential clinical sites, they are not guaranteed a particular site placement. Some clinical placements may require students to travel up to 2 to 3 hours for a clinical site placement. Travel to and from clinical sites is part of the FNP concentration requirement to meet the 540 required clinical hours in the program. Travel hours do not count towards clinical hours.

Students who desire to pursue the educational opportunity leading to the MSN degree at Tusculum University will complete all admission requirements. Requirements for admission to the MSN program include:

  • Graduation from an accredited associate, baccalaureate or master’s nursing program (depending on the tract for which applying),
  • Earned cumulative university-level grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher,
  • Students with a GPA less than 3.00 may be considered if the GPA of the last 60 credit hours is 3.00 or higher.
  • Have a basic understanding of statistics and basic computer skills,
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required, but is recommended, for associate or baccalaureate applicants, who have a cumulative GPA less than 3.2 GPA.
  • Submit a two to three-page letter addressed to the Graduate Nursing Admissions Committee describing the applicant’s professional goals,
  • Submit three recommendation letters from healthcare professionals who can give a reference as to the applicant’s potential (these should be from professionals in supervisory positions and not colleagues or friends; preference is one from a previous professor), and,
  • Hold an unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse in the state of Tennessee is required for enrollment; clinical practicum experiences may necessitate licensure in surrounding states. Compact licenses accepted.

To apply for admission to the Masters of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner concentration, complete the following steps.

  1. Apply to Tusculum University as a degree-seeking student (https://web.tusculum.edu/admission/prof_application.php).
  2. Submit all previous university transcripts to the Admission’s Office.
  3. Read all of the information on the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner web pages.
  4. Complete the required pre-requisite courses before submitting your application.

Once admitted, applicants are required to meet all background check, drug screening, immunizations, medical profile and BLS certification requirements as indicated below.

  • No more than 30 days before enrollment, students must submit a:
    • Immunization record,
    • Medical profile,
    • Urine drug screen from the designated provider, and
    • Criminal background check from the designated provider.
  • Proof of health insurance will be required at all times when enrolled in the program.
  • Proof of liability insurance, from the designated provider, will be required at all times when enrolled in the program.
  • AHA BLS certification will be required prior to admission into the program and during enrollment.

Note: Applicants/students who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation or who have been terminated from any state Medicare or Medicaid program, may be ineligible for licensure per state law. For more information, contact the Dean of the School of Nursing. Felony convictions and/or arrests must be reported to the Dean at the time they occur while enrolled in the nursing program. Failure to report an arrest or conviction will result in immediate removal from the Nursing Program and nursing courses.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all applicants and admitted students must be, with reasonable accommodations, physically and mentally capable of performing the essential functions of the nursing profession as outlined in the Core Performance Standards of Admission and Progression. The Core Performance Standards are located in the Graduate Nursing Student Handbook and are posted on the Core Performance Standards web page (www.tusculum.edu/msn-fnp).

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are awarded the Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degree or post masters certificate and become eligible to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner Certification.

Note: Students must earn a grade of “B” or better for all courses required for the MSN degree.​

Family Nurse Practitioner, Associate Degree RN to MSN Track, (MSN)  

Family Nurse Practitioner, BSN to MSN Track, (MSN)  

Family Nurse Practitioner, Post-Master’s Certification  

Graduate Research Requirement

Each graduate program at Tusculum University contains a research requirement, which engages students in the study and application of methods of problem identification; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; and recommendation of problem resolutions relative to their professional disciplines. Examples of these graduate studies include empirical research, study of and resolution of an organizational performance gap, or completion of an action research project. For the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduate degree program, emphasis is placed on examining, critiquing, and evaluating the relationship among theory, research, practice and nursing scholarship as it relates to advanced nursing practice (NURS 506 ) during the first semester. Assignments include presenting a theory, preparing article critiques, and completing an evidence-based practice and research paper. As the student progresses in the clinical portion of the program, assignments that incorporate the student integrating knowledge of the literature into their clinical practice are evidenced by the completion of a 1) patient teaching handout (NURS 571 ) and 2) five journal article critiques (NURS 581 ). A scholarly synthesis project (NURS 505 ) and comprehensive examination serves as cumulative outcome measures.


For more information regarding the MSN-FNP program, visit our web pages at www.tusculum.edu/msn-fnp.