Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty emphasizes the primary care of newborns, infants, children, adolescents, adults, pregnant and postpartum women, and older adults within the context of family-centered care. 

Choosing to become a FNP means dedicating one’s life to caring for both well and ill individuals across the lifespan. Much of what FNP’s do is centered around holistic, family-centered care, promoting health and wellness to infants, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. They are equipped to provide comprehensive care to individuals of all ages, races, genders, and ethnicities in the primary care setting. Classroom and clinical teachings are evidence-based and focus on the most current and relevant research findings. Clinical practice is integrated throughout the program, with focus on primary care, pediatrics, community health and underserved populations. Clinical rotations bring to life the didactic curriculum where students immerse themselves in medical cases and treatment plans. Weekly clinical conferences allow students to reflect on their clinical days and learn from other students and experienced faculty. Upon graduation, eligible FNP students are able sit for board certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certifying boards.

the yale school of nursing family nurse practitioner specialty was ranked 12th by us news and world reports graduate nursing programs in 2020.

The Academic Experience

YSN is consistently ranked in the top ten of MSN programs in the United States and attracts students from all over the country. This creates a diverse pool of students with varied experiences that allow a richness of experience in our classroom discussions. Our FNP curriculum prepares graduates to provide evidence-based primary health care in age-friendly health systems through a multitude of clinical environments, including but not limited to community-health, general internal medicine/primary care practices, and specialty-based clinical environments.

YSN is a tight-knit academic community with many faculty and clinical preceptors being YSN alumni. The cohesiveness of each specialty year cohort combined with the interest of the faculty in providing optimal learning environments creates a supportive and engaging atmosphere conducive for many different types of learners. Simulation and other innovative teaching methods such as team-based learning is utilized to engage the learner in active learning. Faculty have open-door relationships with the students and are committed to being available to support and engage each student as needed. Alumni remain engaged after graduation and provide continual support and mentorship for our current students. Students within the track are integral in supporting one another and this leads to a positive environment with everyone committed to the success of each other.

Specifics of the program course of study:

• Students may elect for full or part time plans of study
• Students may enter as either an RN or as part of the Graduate Entry Pre-specialty in Nursing (GEPN) program

The Clinical Experience

The FNP program places students at robust clinical sites dedicated to teaching. With the help of the Clinical Support Unit, our program places students in primary care offices, specialty clinics (e.g., cardiology, women’s health, dermatology, etc.), hospital-based clinics, and community health centers. We strive to meet our students’ educational desires and medical interests when placing them for clinical rotations while encompassing all responsibilities of the family nurse practitioner. Preceptors for our program include physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who are dedicated to teaching our APRN students. Our preceptors are hand selected and valued by the Yale School of Nursing faculty, many of whom are YSN alumnae. Many students choose to go out-of-state for their final semester clinical, a request the faculty try to accommodate. Students are not required to acquire their own clinical experiences. 

To prepare students for clinical, students partake in intensive clinical skills labs in YSN’s state of the art Simulation lab. Students are able to practice physical assessment and procedural skills both on human and simulated models. YSN’s acquisition of imitation and virtual body parts allows students the opportunity to practice hands-on skills and procedures that teaches them “normal” versus “abnormal”, in attempts of skill mastery. Family NP students will participate in multiple simulations throughout their tenure at YSN, which place them in life-like scenarios with actors as patients. This allows for reproduction of clinical scenarios in a safe environment with immediate feedback from experienced faculty.  

Additionally, YSN offers several structured concentrations of study in adult oncology, diabetes, research, and gender-sexuality health justice. 

Testimonials from Students

“…breadth of classes and clinical rotations.” – Anonymous student (2019)

“The FNP specialty allows students to get a range of course content and experiences to be a more well-rounded practitioner.” – Anonymous student (2019)

“We get the appropriate amount of variety that we need in coursework to accompany what we see in [the] clinical setting.” – Anonymous student (2019)


Testimonials from Preceptors

“I really enjoy working with the nurse practitioner students.  With each student I try to provide opportunities to help them develop their assessment, diagnostic and prescribing skills. Helping them to develop their skills and watching them grow is rewarding! I’ve followed some of my students after graduation and am very proud of them and their accomplishments.” - Anonymous Preceptor (2019)

“Sharing knowledge and providing real-world advice for the novice NP to incorporate into practice; basically things I’ve learned along the way that can make their transition easier.” – Anonymous Preceptor (2019)

Who Should Apply?

Prospective students should have a vested interest in the health and well-being of individuals across the lifespan. Many candidates have experience working in health care, knowledge of the scope of practice of a FNP, have volunteered in a health care setting or are advocates for health care causes. Previous science background is not necessary, but beneficial to ensure success in the program.

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The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty curriculum prepares students to be eligible for the Certification Examination of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).


The master’s degree program in nursing at Yale School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.