Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does the Graduate Nursing major take to complete?

A: The Primary Care (Family Nurse Practitioner) program is approximately 2 1/2 years. The Nursing Education and Nursing Administration majors take approximately 22 months to complete.

Q: Do I need to obtain a state nursing license?

A: Students must be licensed in the state in which the practicum experience will occur.

Q: How do I find a clinical placement site?

A: Students arrange their own clinical experiences. The Division of Graduate Studies in Nursing maintains a file of clinical sites used by students.

Q: What is the difference between a physician’s assistant and a nurse practitioner?

A: Nurse practitioners bring to the practice a baccalaureate degree with a minimum of one year of nursing practice, plus the graduate degree with 700 hours of advanced practicum. Upon completion of the master's degree, nurse practitioners are eligible to practice autonomously with prescriptive authority and a collaborative agreement with a licensed physician.

Physician's assistants are prepared to assess and diagnose, but are not licensed for autonomous practice, prescriptive authority, or direct reimbursement, depending on the state in which they practice.

Q: Do I have to pass a certification exam in order to practice?

A: Advanced practice laws regulating the criteria for licensure vary from state to state. Current law in Indiana does not require certification. However, those seeking to be credentialed by Medicare and approved for third-party reimbursement on certain licensure plans will find certification a requirement. Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky currently require national certification for licensure.

Q: What is prescriptive authority?

A: In Indiana, nurse practitioners who have completed a master's program that includes advanced Pharmacology, advanced Pathophysiology, and advanced Physical Assessment are eligible to apply for a license to prescribe medications, including controlled substances. Renewal of the prescriptive authority requires thirty (30) hours of continuing education contact every two years.

Q: What if my undergraduate GPA is below 3.0?

A: Admission is granted by evaluation of undergraduate GPA, references, and writing samples. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be admitted on a probationary status at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Numerous loans, grants, and scholarships are available. IWU has received a significant grant to assist students in the Nursing Education specialization through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP). All applicants may seek more specific financial aid information through the Financial Aid Office.

Q: How much of the program is available online?

A:

  • Primary Care: The first year of classes meet online. Advanced Health Status Assessment is the only onsite course and is held in either the Greenwood Education Center or the Florence Education Center. Onsite classes meet from 6 to 10 p.m.
  • Nursing Education: This program is 100% online.
  • Nursing Administration: This program is 100% online.

Q: Currently, I am a registered nurse with a bachelor's degree in another major. What do I need to do to apply for the Master of Science in Nursing degree program?

A: Students with a non-nursing major who have a minimum of 10 years of recent experience in nursing practice may also be considered for admission. These candidates must also submit a portfolio which verifies a minimum of 10 years experience in nursing practice and includes a current CV/résumé with evidence of accomplishments in nursing based on the nine Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing and an expanded goal statement reflecting how the applicant intends to make an impact in nursing with an M.S.N.

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