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Family Nurse Practitioner

The focus of the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) concentration at the UNM College of Nursing is on primary care, with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations. Individuals from New Mexico and rural areas within the state, and those interested in rural and underserved clinical practice, are encouraged to apply.

Full-time study begins in the summer and continues for six consecutive terms. The degree awarded at completion of the program is a Master of Science in Nursing. Graduates will be eligible to become certified as Family Nurse Practitioners in New Mexico and nationally after successfully passing the certification exam.

Because graduate education in nursing builds on the baccalaureate curriculum, students are expected to enter the program with prerequisite coursework and clinical nursing competence. Specific areas that will be built upon, but not repeated at the graduate level, include basic anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology; introductory pharmacology; basic growth and development; basic physical and psychosocial assessment; basic statistics; interviewing and development of therapeutic relationships; and community health nursing. Students who seek admission without some of these competencies will need to take personal responsibility for acquiring them. The College of Nursing and the University of New Mexico have coursework, clinical opportunities, and faculty available to assist students prior to entering the program.

The FNP clinical courses begin in the spring term (third semester). Courses are sequential, with the curriculum building on prior learned content. Thus, students must take the courses in the order outlined in the program of studies. First-semester core courses are provided online. The FNP clinical courses are taught in a block format, whereas students receive didactic content by attending on-campus sessions for 2 to 3 weeks, followed by 4 to 5 weeks of a clinical rotation. Each semester of clinical courses has two similar block sessions. Block schedule dates vary from year to year, with faculty publishing the schedule 4 weeks in advance.

All students in the FNP concentration are expected to travel outside of the Albuquerque area for a minimum of two clinical rotations throughout the state. Depending on where the student lives, he or she may need to travel 1 to 5 hours to a clinical site, which may require an extended overnight stay. Students need to be aware that they are responsible for the travel expenses associated with all site placements. Faculty, along with the senior program manager, make all decisions regarding site placements. If a student is from a rural area and desires to have a clinical rotation there, we make every effort to place that student in that area; however, we cannot guarantee clinical site rotations.

If you would like more information regarding NPs in general (salary, job opportunities, etc.), we recommend visiting the American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners


At the completion of the program the graduate will be prepared to:

  •  Provide full scope primary care, utilizing both independent and collaborative approaches, to individuals and families across the lifespan, including management of acute and chronic health problems, health promotion, disease prevention, and support for transitional and end of life needs.
  • Integrate ethical principles in decision-making and evaluation of care related to individuals, families, populations and systems of care.
  • Coordinate health care through interdisciplinary collaboration with members of the health care team.
  • Empower and motivate individuals and families to be full participants in their own health care.
  • Advocate for systems and policies that reduce health disparities, facilitate access to care, and address cultural diversity and rural populations.
  • Assume professional responsibility for maintaining and advancing clinical practice competencies.
  • Participate in quality assurance and evaluation of health care delivery.
  • Use and articulate evidence-based research as the basis for practice.
  • Contribute to existing knowledge through participation in research.

Admission Requirements

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree (e.g., B.S.N.) from an accredited college or university, with an upper-division major in nursing. (Graduates from non-accredited programs [N.L.N. or C.C.N.E.] and RN’s with baccalaureate degree in non-nursing fields are considered on an individual basis. Contact the College of Nursing advisement information for more information.)
  • At least two years of experience as a registered nurse.
  • Have a minimum grade point average for baccalaureate work of B (3.0) or better.
  • Be registered in or eligible for nursing licensure in New Mexico with a New Mexico R.N. license obtained within the first term enrolled.
  • Complete the online application. The online application can be accessed by clicking on the link. Letters of recommendation, letter of intent, and a professional resume are required as part of the application process. See the online application guidelines for further information.
  • An interview is required as part of the admissions process.
  • Students who seek admission with existing graduate degrees in Nursing (Master's or Doctorate) will be able to pursue the PNP curriculum as a Post Master's certificate. However, their applications are considered along with all other applications.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take the FNP program part-time?

Not at this time.

What non-clinical courses are required for the FNP concentration?

The non-clinical core courses include: • N501 Nursing Theory 3 hours • N503 Nursing Research 3 hours • N505 Health Care Policy 3 hours • N554 Evidence Based Practice for APRN’s 1 Hour

Are the non-clinical courses offered on the web?


What are the clinical core courses?

The following courses are clinical core courses:

  • N526 Advanced Pathophysiology 3 hours
  • N540 Advanced Health Assessment* 3 hours Advanced Health Assessment has three components, didactic, lab and clinical. In addition to weekly lectures in health assessment students have a lab component for 4 hours a week during the first half of the semester. At about mid semester students then start a clinical rotation, which replaces the lab, for a total of about 48 hours over the remaining 8 weeks (students continue with lecture in the second part of the semester).
  •  N543 Pharmacology 3 hours

Are any of these courses offered on the web?

NURS 543 Pharmacology and NURS 526 Advanced Pathophysiology are offered online. NURS 540 Advanced Health Assessment is taught onsite only. Advanced Health Assessment has three components: didactic, lab, and clinical.

What are the FNP clinical courses?

The FNP clinical core courses are:

  •  N541 Antepartum 1 hour
  • N542 Ambulatory Pediatrics 3 hours 50 clinical hours
  • N535 Adult Health I 4 Hours 100 clinical hours
  • N536 Adult Health II 3 Hours 50 clinical hours
  • N546 Ambulatory Pediatrics II 4 hours 100 clinical hours

What is the total number of clinical hours?

This concentration has a total of 848 clinical hours.

Will I get to visit any rural sites?

Yes, we use a variety of clinical sites, including ones in rural and underserved areas. All students in the FNP concentration are expected to travel outside of the Albuquerque area for a minimum of two clinical rotations throughout the state. Faculty along with the senior program manager make all decisions regarding site placements.

If I have a MSN, how can I get a FNP?

Students with an MSN will have already completed the core courses. They will be responsible for taking the remaining FNP courses. They must have taken graduate level pathophysiology and pharmacology within the past 5 years. Faculty will review any advanced health assessment courses on a case-by-case basis.