Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

The Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) program prepares students for the role of a patient-centered primary health care provider who focuses on gender related health care needs.

WHNP students are prepared to care for women from adolescence through their later-life; with expertise in gynecology, prenatal care, and primary care. They are also prepared to provide sexual and reproductive related health care to men and patients across gender identities. Relevant research and concepts from nursing, midwifery, medicine, the sciences, and the humanities provide a base for classroom education and clinical practice. Clinical practice experiences take place across a variety of outpatient health care systems from community health centers to public and private women’s health and primary care offices. Students actively reflect on their clinical practice and leadership development throughout the program. Upon graduation, WHNP students are eligible to sit for board certification as a WHNP; for which our program pass rate is 100%.

The Academic Experience

Yale School of Nursing is consistently ranked in the top ten masters’ in nursing programs in the U.S., and attracts students from all over the country, as well as some international students, all with unique backgrounds and experiences. The classroom is enriched by students bringing in personal expertise from a variety of fields of study, prior careers, and global experiences, tied together with a passion for women and gender related health.

Course content is intended to not only prepare students to be knowledgeable in their specialty area and pass their board certification exams, but also to become compassionate, ethical, professional, well rounded health care leaders.

All courses are offered on-site at the YSN campus in Orange, CT, allowing for an intimate, constructive, in-class experience where questions are answered in real time and students work together to learn under the guidance of expert faculty. This model allows for collaboration and connection with future colleagues, and the exceptional rigor of an in-class learning model that promote critical thinking in an environment where students know their professors well (typical student to faculty ratio in the department is 10:1).

The goal is to prepare students as primary care clinicians with a depth of understanding to care for women and women’s specific issues. This includes topics such as general health care maintenance and cancer screening, pregnancy and prenatal care, menopause, sexually transmitted infections, and contraception, to complex gynecologic care management such as pelvic pain, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and vulvar dermatology.

Of note, unique from the midwifery program, WHNP program has more course clinical requirements specific to comprehensive primary care. Primary care courses are taken alongside the family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology nurse practitioner students. Additionally, the WHNP’s board certification includes taking reproductive related care of men.

As a YSN student, students can take advantage of the vast opportunities of Yale University. For example, YSN students are eligible to take or audit courses in any of Yale University’s graduate schools. Yale University offers many talks, lectures, and events that are open to the entire university community, featuring renown influencers in fields such as politics, art, medicine, and innovation.

Specifics of the program course of study:
• Students may elect for full or part time courses of study
• Students may enter as either an RN or as part of the Graduate Entry Pre-specialty in Nursing (GEPN) program
• Students may apply for the WHNP in combination with the Midwifery program, this has a distinct plan of study and added tuition costs. For more information, click here.

The Clinical Experience

Yale School of Nursing prides itself on extensively vetting its clinical preceptors. Many of the clinical preceptors are also on staff at the university. Yale School of Nursing coordinates the match of students with preceptors to try to balance out types of clinical experiences semester by semester. Students are not required to obtain their own clinical experiences.

Clinical sites include all components of the WHNP scope of practice, including prenatal and postpartum care, contraception, menopausal care, sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment, preventative women’s health care, gynecologic complication management, and generalized primary care.

To prepare students for clinical, students have intensive skills labs at YSN’s state of the art Clinical Simulation Center. Students practice physical exam techniques both on human and simulation models prior to their clinical experiences. Additionally, techniques such as pelvic exam and related testing, IUD insertion/removal, Nexplanon insertion/removal, and wet mounts are taught.

In the final year of study, the WHNP student plan of study provides room for students to gain additional classroom or clinical experience in a “sub specialty” area of interest. These areas include, but are not limited to, such topics as high-risk pregnancy care, abortion-related care, and care for LGBTQ+ patients.

Additionally, YSN offers several structured concentrations of study. Structured program concentrations are currently offered in global health, adult oncology, diabetes, and research. 

Quotes from Student’s preceptors in 2018:

“I can’t say enough great things about her, Arielle is really stellar. She is a real natural for primary care. She is really good at thinking through differential diagnoses and just has a good instinct for this. She is really comfortable and good with patients; patients all had a great response with her.” –Maria, Preceptor in East Hartford, Connecticut
Bottom line, she is absolutely outstanding, and I love having her with me at clinical. I will now hold every student to a higher bar because of Carolyn. She is absolutely superb.” -Deb, Preceptor in New Haven, Connecticut

Who Should Apply?

Prospective students should have a demonstrated interest in women’s health. Many successful candidates have experience working or volunteering in a health-related field, public health, health advocacy, and/or come from an academic background. Previous science course work and experience is helpful for the coursework, but not required for application.

Some prospective students opt to apply for the dual specialty in women’s health and midwifery tracks, with the strongest candidates for that having significant experience with labor and birth and a clear desire to also become a certified nurse midwife as well as a WHNP.
Prospective students may currently work as RNs or apply to the GEPN program as direct entry students.

Certifications 

The Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) specialty curriculum prepares students to be eligible for the Certification Examination of the National Certification Corporation (NCC).

Accreditation

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.

Meet the Specialty Director

Loren Fields, DNP, MSN, APRN, WHNP-BC, ANP-BC

Lecturer in Nursing and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty Director 
Full bio