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

Q. Will I have to have a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) to be a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

A. No, as long as you complete the requirements for the degree by the end of 2014, you'll be grandfathered in to practice with a masters degree. You may decide to go on at a later date for the DNP but only if you choose. All advanced practice nurses who graduate after 2015, including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists, must have a DNP to practice. To obtain more information on the DNP, go to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Q. To become a Psychiatric 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. Psychiatric 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. I have a masters degree as a nursing educator and wonder if I can apply for a post masters degree in the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Track. Will I be given any credit for my present masters degree?

A. Each candidate's application is reviewed and determined if they have met the objectives of the core Masters Degree courses offered at Fairfield University. Generally this means the applicant completes their application, and upon receiving admission submits their syllabi from their masters degree to the Graduate Director. The syllabi are assessed by the current faculty teaching the specific course and evaluated to determine if course objectives are equal. For those masters core courses that are considered equal to Fairfield's, credit is allowed to be transferred. The FNP specialty courses must all be taken at Fairfield University.

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.