We found 3 Family Nurse Practitioner Programs in North Carolina.
In January 2019, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released information on the state of the health professional shortage throughout the 50 states.
It reported that currently North Carolina only meets 46.70% of the primary care provider need. Moreover, the areas that are designated as having a shortage of health professionals comprise a population of 1,965,809.
Like many other states in the country, rural areas are disproportionately affected by a lack of primary care providers, and those living in these areas are some of the most vulnerable people in the country irrespective of whether or not they are insured.
In order to have this Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation, North Carolina must add at least 334 primary care professionals.
The need for more primary care health care professionals in combination with a number of top-ranking higher education institutes that enjoy competitive health programs make North Carolina highly attractive for those looking to take the next step in their health career and become primary care providers.
If you fit this bill but don't want to be in school for the rest of your life or, simply, just don't want to be a physician, you may find the Family Nurse Practitioner role particularly appealing.
FNP State Requirements for North Carolina
Those who would like to practice as Family Nurse Practitioners in North Carolina can do so by becoming certified as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).
To become certified as an APRN, FNPs should fulfill the requirements outlined by the North Carolina Board of Nursing and the Joint Subcommittee of the Medical Board which include:
- An FNP graduate degree or higher degree in a related field that is primarily focused on nursing
- Certification through one of the state's approved credentialing organizations (ANCC, AANP, NCC, and PNCB)
- Both a Registered Nurse (RN) license and an APRN license/Certificate of Authority, both of which need to be endorsed in the state of Georgia
It should be noted that Georgia is one of twelve states where nurse practitioners are restricted in their ability to perform at least one element of NP practice.
Online FNP Programs Available in North Carolina
Trying to decipher the differences between the schools offering an FNP degree in the state of North Carolina can be tough. We wanted to pick a couple programs (at random) so you can see how we evaluated programs, estimated cost, and program length.
Duke University is a private university that consistently ranks among the world's top universities and is particularly known for its health degrees.
In fact, Duke currently holds the title of number one Family Nurse Practitioner program in the United States. Thanks to its strides to make education more accessible, Duke offers its MSN-FNP and Post-Master's Certificate in a distance learning format.
Duke's MSN-FNP program sets itself apart from others in that it enjoys a wealth of knowledge from its experienced faculty and cutting-edge research. It also allows its students to complete their clinical work abroad.
With regards to cost, Duke costs about $1,769 per credit hour.
In terms of applying, Duke does not outright hold a GPA requirement, but it does require GRE score submission for those who hold less than a 3.4 GPA.
In terms of its curriculum, Duke uniquely offers specializations in cardiology, endocrinology, oncology, orthopedics, and HIV, as well as Pediatric and Perinatal courses.
The MSN-FNP track consists of 49 credit hours and 728 clinical hours, which are contained in four core courses, four advanced practice nursing courses, four clinical courses, five clinical rotations, and one required elective.
It also requires nurse licensure in either North Carolina or 'compact state' that is also your state of residence. Duke recommends that applicants have at least one year of nursing experience under their belt before beginning the program but does not require it.
For more detailed information on admissions, cost, and or curriculum, please contact Duke's School of Nursing directly.
East Carolina University (ECU)
East Carolina University is a public research institute in the Eastern North Carolina that offers a number of online nursing programs including an MSN with an FNP concentration and a Post-Master Certificate in FNP.
Both programs strive to prepare professional nurses for advanced roles in primary care settings. ECU's education aims to provide equal emphasis on didactic and clinical experiences.
The MSN-FNP program is intended to be done either full-time over the course of two years of part-time in five years. However, ECU is willing to modify the timeframe to meet the individual needs of students.
In either scenario, students need to complete 50 semester hours through a combination of core courses, clinical core courses, and concentration courses.
The program offers some attractive courses that are not commonly found in competitor programs. For example, there are courses focuses on philosophical perspectives, complex healthcare organizations, adolescent and adult reproductive health, and childbearing patients and their families.
Students part of their Post-Master Certificate program may also be able to take some of these more unique courses.
In terms of cost, North Carolina residents can expect to pay approximately $358 per credit hour
Non-residents should expect to pay around $1000 per credit hour.
It is important to note that even though students can participate in this program as a non-resident, students must complete clinical hours in North Carolina.
Additional notable admission requirements include a minimum GPA of 2.7, acceptable GRE or MAT scores, a prerequisite course in statistics and another in research.
FNP vs. PA Degrees in North Carolina
For those who are looking to take the next step in their health career or have been motivated to step up to the plate because of the physician shortage, you may be considering becoming either a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant as is often the case for people in this predicament.
FNPs and PAs are often mentioned together because they are able to perform some of the same functions. However, the career paths are quite different.
Traditionally, both NPs and PAs have been referred to as 'mid-level providers'
But there is much controversy surrounding this term as many of the people holding these titles have undergone extensive education and training and are actually practicing as primary care providers.
To begin, PA programs are typically housed in medical schools or medical centers, whereas, FNP programs are offered in nursing schools.
In addition, the two programs adhere to slightly different models of focus. FNP programs teach a patient-centered approach where FNPs are trained to care for patients throughout the entirety of their lives.
On the other hand, PAs follow a more disease-focused approach which allows them to specialize in a particular disease or medicine type. Usually, the goal of PAs is to treat patients in times of illnesses and reintegrate them back into their daily lives disease-free.
Therefore, it is highly encouraged that you consider whether you would like to learn more about specific patient populations or more disease-related topics such as internal medicine, behavioral medicine, pediatrics, and or surgery.