Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Information Session

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Learn more about the Maryville University’s Online MSN, Post Master NP Certificate & BSN to DNP programs from the Coordinator of the Nurse Practitioner Programs, Nina Zimmerman.


The RN to BSN, MSN, Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate, and DNP programs at Maryville University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

Cindel Schimka: Hello, everyone. My name is Cindel Schimka and I will be your moderator for this evening’s webinar. I would like to start off by thanking you all for joining us for the Maryville University Online MSN Post Master Nurse Practitioner Certificate and the Bachelors of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice Informational Webinar.

Please note that the presentation is in broadcast-only. Please make sure that your speakers are turned off on your computer so that you can hear the presentation throughout the evening.

You may type questions into the chat box at the right of your screen at any time. We will do our best to answer as many questions as possible during the Q and A session at the end of the webinar. If we are unable to answer your question this evening, an enrollment advisor will follow up with you later this week to discuss your question.

Today’s webinar is also being recorded and a copy will be emailed to you as soon as it is available.

As you can see by today’s agenda, we will be discussing many topics ranging from curriculum and clinical practicums to the online experience as well as enrollment requirements.

As previously mentioned, we will be answering your questions at the end of the presentation. We’ll welcome them throughout the webinar.

At this time, I am going to turn it over to our panelists to introduce themselves and begin telling you about Maryville University.


Nina Zimmerman: Hi, welcome, everyone. My name is Nina Zimmerman. I am the coordinator of the Nurse Practitioner Programs at Maryville University in St. Louis. I welcome everyone coming this evening, listening this evening, and I hope that this presentation will be very informative and will peak your interests to apply to Maryville.

Tom Noonas: And my name is Tom Noonas. I am an enrollment advisor with Maryville University’s online nursing programs. I have been with the program for two and a half years and I am very excited you all were able to take time out of your very busy schedules to be here with us tonight. I look forward to answering your questions as well.

Nina Zimmerman: Okay. So I want to talk about Maryville just for some background to let you know what we’re about and give you a description of what Maryville is.

So, as you can see from this slide, Maryville has been ranked among the nation’s best national university rankings as one of the best online graduate programs this past year, which is quite an honor, and in addition we have actually been rated as a number one over-producing university by the U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT for the last couple of years.

We also are ranked top by the Forbes and Kiplinger’s Report. Also, just to let you know that we are considered a private University, medium, small to medium size. We have approximately 5700 students currently at Maryville University, undergrad and graduate, and approximately 3000 of those students are actually in the nursing program which would include the undergraduate and graduate programs both on campus and online.

So that gives you a sense that the nursing programs are the number one admitting and largest programs at Maryville.

The next slide starts to talk about the curriculum overview for the master’s program. So, currently, we have four concentrations in the master’s program. They’re all Nurse Practitioner degrees or post-master’s certificates.

The first one is the FNP, which is the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration which is 47 credit hours which is 15 courses so that includes, and we will be talking about this, the core, the Nurse Practitioner core courses and the specialty courses.

The AGPCNP is Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner concentration which is 41 credit hours and 13 courses.

I graduated from Maryville University with my post-master’s in this program when it was called Adult Nurse Practitioner, but now to coincide with the consensus models of nurse practitioner curriculum, we have changed our curriculum and our titles of our programs to include gerontology.

The third one down is Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. That’s a new concentration that we just started which obviously focuses on acute care and taught by Acute Care Nurse Practitioners, developed by Acute Care Nurse Practitioners, excuse me, and that is also 15 courses and 47 credit hours.

The last one is the PNP or the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner concentration that is also new that started this semester with 44 credit hours and 14 courses.

The anticipated program completion for the FNP and Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program is approximately three years, two years and eight months, and the Adult Gero Primary Care and PNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is two and a half years.

So, when I say it is anticipated that the program completion is, everything goes well with, which most students complete this program in this completion time frame, that’s when you would graduate.

Some students do experience a delayed grade with some situations in their life or with clinicals which will delay graduation for another semester. So I just want you to be aware of that.

We are very fortunate with the online program that we have six entry points so you can start anywhere from January to October, and it’s all online which means there are some programs out there that require you to do a residency, but, at Maryville, it’s 100 percent online.

The post-master’s NP certificate is for candidates who actually have a master’s degree in nursing that come in that want to do a post-master’s NP certificate. So when we review your admissions file, we actually spell out your progression plan at that time.

But most students who have a master’s degree, all is required is 11 courses for their FNP, Family Nurse Practitioner, and 9 courses for the Adult Geriatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.

The FNP, you can complete approximately in six semesters and Adult Gerontology in five semesters. When I went to Maryville, eight, nine years ago now, it took me five semesters to complete this program when it was actually on ground and not online.

Also, just to remind you again that the program length depends on your previous graduate work which we take a look at and you are very aware specifically what we accept as what we call transfer credits and what your progression will be when you are accepted into the program.

There are also six entry points per year and it is all online. The post-master’s NP required courses consist of the nursing core courses and the nurse practitioner core courses.

Then we will also talk about the specialty courses. So, usually students who come in with a master’s degree have courses like health policy and leadership and theory already completed.

So usually unless you are a nurse practitioner, if you are already a nurse practitioner coming back for a second nurse practitioner certificate, sometimes, you won’t even have to do the professional role or health promotion, but if you are a master’s prepared student coming in for a post-master’s, let’s say in education which is what my master’s degree was in, then you have to do the role course as an Advanced Practice Nurse, Nursing 603 and Health Promotion, Nursing 610, and then you start your core courses which is your Advanced CAPHO, Advanced Health Assessment and Advanced Pharmacia Therapeutics.

For both the Adult Geriatric Primary Care, NP and FNP, these are actually what we call the specialty courses that you will need after the core courses. So that consists of Adult Gerontology Healthcare 1, which is half of the health systems that we review with primary care issues, common primary care issues and health promotion issues, diagnoses and management.

Then your practicum which is dependent on what concentration, how many hours you will complete in the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner practicum, and then the Health Care 2 and the Nurse Practitioner Practicum 2.

So those are taken by the AD Primary Care Nurse Practitioner students and Family Nurse Practitioner students.

For the FNP certificate, in addition to the courses above, in the practicum above, you will also take the Pediatric Family Healthcare course which covers pediatric, women’s healthcare issues, and then you do 175 hours of pediatric and family nurse practitioner practicum hours which are the pediatric and the women’s health hours in addition to the adult gerontology courses and practicum.

The clinical hour requirements vary also, depending on your concentration. The Family Nurse Practitioner are 745 clinical hours total completed over four semesters.

The Adult Gerontology Primary Care is 580 clinical hours over three semesters, Adult Gerontology Acute Care is — is that — I don’t know if that’s — the Adult Gerontology Acute Care is also I believe 580 clinical hours and the PNP is 580 clinical hours.

So it depends on your concentration for how many hours you complete and what specifically is required in those clinical courses as far as the populations that you serve.

Regarding your preceptors and sites, it’s very advantageous that you as the student, depending on where you live, get to select your preceptor and the site of your choice.

It is very difficult for us in Missouri to know what the needs are maybe in North Dakota, on the west coast, on the east coast, and we do recommend that your find at least two preceptors every semester.

Now, the semester before you start your clinicals, there will be a clinical webinar and lots of details about what is required so not to fear. It sounds like a lot of information and a lot of details, but we do give you webinars, information, resources online and lots of help from our staff to organize that and get everything accepted before you start.

Your global practicum can be completed at your place of employment but not with someone you report to or in your same clinical area. So, for example, if you work at a big hospital, so here in St. Louis, we have Barnes Jewish Hospital downtown. If you actually worked in the emergency room, you could do your hours maybe in the internal medicine resident clinic or in a specialty area, but you could not do it in the same department where you work or with someone that you report to, so no physicians or nurse practitioners that you actually report to.

Now, there is also a program called the BSNDNP and that’s a blended program, so these are students that come in that actually want to go all the way through. So you don’t want to stop at the master’s level, you want to go from your BSN to your DNP. It’s a full-time program in a sense, but it’s approximately two classes a semester and sometimes you have the clinical with that, and it also consists of your chosen concentration, your FNP, your Adult Gero Primary Care, Adult Gero Acute Care, or PNP.

They’re all offered in the DSN-DNP expectation, curriculum courses. Your scholarly project is what you do for your doctoral piece and that’s the mastery of advanced-practice nursing and you’re actually addressing or creating a question to identify clinical problems or need in the proposed practice improvement. So it’s a practice improvement project that you do along with specialty courses and practicum.

BSDNP curriculum overview is on this slide. So it’s basically the same credit hours as the master’s program and it overlaps with the doctoral program, although there are a couple of classes that you don’t have to take when you do the BSNDNP, such as I think it’s leadership and theory are the two classes that you don’t have to repeat in the DNP program.

So you do save yourself a couple of courses when it overlaps the BSNBNP. There are three entry points to the BSNBNP, January, May and August, and it is all online.

So these are the enrollment requirements and I think were you going to talk about that, Tom?

Tom Noonas: I was. I wanted to thank you so much for all of that wonderful information, Nina. You went into great detail, but I do thank you very much there.

Nina Zimmerman: You’re welcome.

Tom Noonas: And from the enrollment perspective, you know, as far as requirements for these programs, these are what we are going to be looking for from prospective students here. And kind of looking across all three, you will see that they are very similar in certain ways. But we’ll kind of start just with the MSN programs.

So, for the MSN programs, we are looking that our students have a BSN degree from an NLNAC or CCNE accredited nursing program, a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA, licensure as a registered nurse in the United States, three letters of recommendation, an updated CV or resume, and you’d want that resume to reflect your current working status or where you are presently working, at least one year of experience in your role as a registered nurse, and then a 500-word essay.

And this essay will discuss your interest in becoming a nurse practitioner and how this degree could help you improve patient outcomes.
And, Nina, from the faculty-side of things, do you want to go into a little bit more detail about what you’d be looking for from that essay?

Nina Zimmerman: Sure. So, myself, Dr. Elizabeth Buck, who is the director of the online programs, and another professor who teaches in the DNP program, Dr. Maria Snall, the three of us are currently the admissions committee.

So, we personally look at every project, every student candidate file that is applying to Maryville University. And so when we look at these projects, we look at the whole package.

So, in other words, what I’m saying is, yes, we want you to have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA. But keep in mind you might have gone to college 20 years ago and your GPA wasn’t a 3.0 but your cumulative GPA when you went further in your schooling helped reflect that you are an excellent student or you may end up writing us an addendum speaking to some of your experience in the past if you don’t meet these specific criteria.

In regards to your CV or resume, just as Tom has said, it’s real important that you specify your years of experience as a nurse. So, sometimes, we defer your project which means that it needs to be looked at again if your resume may state that you work at X hospital or clinic but it doesn’t say what position you hold.

So it’s important is to list your actual title as a registered nurse so that we can see that you have one year of experience before you are starting the program.

In regards to the essay, it’s very important to address the question so, just as Tom has stated, the questions are why you want to become a nurse practitioner, how this degree may help you improve in-patient outcomes. But it’s very important that you review this essay, that it’s written well, that if you have any references, that you reference them professionally.

And it’s like an assignment so this is our way of seeing how you can write and communicate. In addition, your letters of recommendation are very important and we like to see at least two of the three to be clinical.

The two of the three letters of recommendation we like to see are from your workplace and reflect on your clinical experience as a nurse. And we have forms for you that you that you can actually use, you don’t actually have to ask someone to write you a letter, although we do receive those and they are very nice but we have forms that you may use if it’s easier for you.

Tom, is there anything else you want me to speak to in regards to the enrollment requirement?

Tom Noonas: I think you did a wonderful job, so thank you so much, Nina, for the kind of a faculty prospective into what we’d be looking for here.

And then moving along here to the post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate, you will notice that that these requirements are very similar to that of what the MSN would be.

The main difference here is that we are looking for our students to have an MSN from an NLNAC or CCNE accredited nursing program.

And then moving along here to our BSN to DNP program, the main difference with this program is we are looking for students to have a minimum of 3.25 cumulative GPA requirement to be considered for this particular program.

And another main difference as you will notice at the bottom will be the three-page essay. So this essay will want to describe your interest in becoming a nurse practitioner, your philosophy of graduate nursing education and describe an area of interest you have that would lend itself to scholarly inquiries.

And I know that Nina has already covered what that essay would look a little bit like, so if you do have any further questions, I absolutely invite you to reach out to your enrollment advisor and they will be more than happy to work through that process with you.

All right. So now we are going to talk about tuition. So for all of our MSN programs, you are looking at a total of 755 755 per credit hour. And for the BSN to DNP program, the way that tuition is structured is every credit taken at the MSN level would be at that 755 per credit hour mark.

Any credits taken at the doctoral level will be taken at a total of 849 per credit hour. And you will see here there is a link you can visit for more information on tuition as well.

And then some additional fees that you will see in the programs here will be a $375 technology fee and that will be per semester. When we do get into the clinical areas, we have an $80 one-time type on software fee. And as you will see, that is software you use for logging your clinical hours.
When you do enter clinicals as well, you will also be required to complete a background check. That is also a one-time fee and then the cost of that can vary from state to state so absolutely keep that in mind.

You will also see a $10 fee for malpractice insurance every semester that involves a clinical component. So dependent on your specific program of study, the program you have selected, that will vary as well.

And then the final additional fee you will see is a $25 fee per course for exam proctoring.

And then a little bit about the online experience here. So flexibility. This isn’t a synchronous program. There’s no scheduled logon days or times. So you are able to log in anytime from any internet connection.

You can post responses on the discussion board and submit assignments by the required due dates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while courses are in session.

So this makes this programs a really good fit for the working professional. These programs actually cater to the working professional and they do provide you with a very flexible, yet structured learning environment.

The next topic is connection. Get individualized attention from faculty and develop close relationships with fellow learners as you interact with them creating a vast network of professional contacts. We keep our cohorts 20 students or less so, that way, you can expect timely feedback and a timely connection with both your professor as well as students that are in the program with you.

Interaction. You have the ability to post and respond to messages with fellow classmates and professors. Your professors will also hold live sessions throughout your courses as well where you will be able to come to those prepared with any questions or concerns that you might have for your current professor.

And, finally a timely curriculum. Course content is continually updated. Assignments and discussions encourage you to share the specific issues you deal with at work allowing you to apply lessons from each course.

And, really, you know this program really does encourage a high level of interaction between students that are in the program so that is an atmosphere that you will absolutely be privy to in our programs.

Cindel Schimka: At this time, we will actually go ahead and start answering some of the questions that we have received. As a reminder to our attendees, please feel free to type any questions you have in a chat box on the right side of your screen.
All right. To start off with the first question, Nina, this is a question for you.

Nina Zimmerman: Okay.

Cindel Schimka: I work on the med-surge floor and am interested in getting my MSNP, not sure whether to go for the FNP or the Adult Gerontology or the Acute Care program. Do you have any advice on that topic?

Nina Zimmerman: So the family nurse practitioner and the adult gerontology primary care or primary care nurse practitioner concentrations are primary care diplomas and certificates which means that if you are looking to be in a primary care role, so in a clinic or in an urgent care or a convenience care like a retail care like Walgreens or CVS, those two roles are specific to primary care and pediatric nurse practitioner.

Obviously, the acute care adult gerontology is more specifically tailored to emergency room and intensive care units and urgent care.
So what I always talk to students about when their questioning which concentration is what is it that they see themselves doing in the next five to ten years. I

am an adult nurse practitioner so I chose adult nurse practitioner because — I had been a nurse for 20 years but I don’t have any experience with taking care of children except for in a research coordination role.

So, for me, it was a good fit for me to continue in the adult gerontology world as an advanced practice nurse. Your FNP covers all age groups. So if you live in a rural area, I would say the FNP if you want to do a primary care role is a very good choice because it gives you the options from all age perspectives.

The PNP actually is becoming more necessary and in higher demand from articles that we have read in the last month. So depending on where you live, a pediatric nurse practitioner just serving babies up to 21 may be very specific to your world, maybe an allergy and asthma or a pediatric practice.
And then the acute care roll is becoming in higher demand as well because states are now considering the consensus model of if you work in a hospital, so if you are a hospitalist or intensivist or even an emergency room, they’re now starting to be require, requirements by your boards of nursing, not in Missouri yet, but in other states, that you need to be certified in your area of expertise which would be acute care.

So, in summary, I would say it depends on the population you want to serve and where you live and what opportunities.

But I can tell you that as an adult nurse practitioner in the Midwest, I have never had a problem finding a job, and I know I get a lot of those questions so I can tell you that are many nurse practitioner positions throughout the country in all concentrations. But I think it’s important for you to think about what’s right for you as far as the population you want to serve, the types of patients you want to take care of and where you live.

Cindel Schimka: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Nina. That was a great explanation.

I am going to continue on down the question list and the next one is actually for you again regarding the MSN and the BSN to DNP program.
The question is, what are the advantages of each? Can you provide some perspective on that?

Nina Zimmerman: Okay. Sure. So just to clarify, the question is asking what the advantages would be to doing the MSN versus the BSN to DNP, correct?

Cindel Schimka: Correct.

Nina Zimmerman: So the MSN program is going to be shorter, a little bit shorter, and you would be able just to focus on the clinical aspect of becoming a nurse practitioner. That would be an advantage for that program.

The BSN to DNP currently is there is no master’s degree earned in the middle of that program. However, it is shortened in the fact that if you acquired your MSN and then went further to do your DNP, it would take you longer.

So the BSNDNP option is for someone who can really focus on this program. It is a very intense program but it would be shorter if you did the BSN to DNP as opposed to acquiring your MSN, practicing in the population that you serve and getting your certificate as a nurse practitioner and then going further as your DNP or doctorate.

Your DNP again is your terminal degree as a practicing nurse practitioner. So there is not yet a statement by the ANA to state that in the future nurse practitioners have to be doctorally prepared but it is being proposed.

So another advantage to doing the BSN/DNP is that you would acquire your terminal degree and, in the future if that is a requirement to actually practice as a nurse practitioner, you will be at the top of your clinical practice with acquiring your doctorate. And it would open up more opportunities for you in clinical practice and in academe.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Nina.

The next question is for Tom. How are most people funding their education?

Tom Noonas: And that actually is a very good question. So, for starters, I would say most people are utilizing FASCA for some or if not some at least, you know, a small portion of their funding as far as going back to school.

So FASCA would be kind of a good starting point for you. And your enrollment advisor can absolutely work with you in how to apply for FASCA if you do have any specific questions regarding that.

So some other ways that students can fund their education, you know, you can look for private loans or scholarships if they are available. As an advisor here, I recommend to my students that they do look at what’s available in their home states to see if there is anything that is specifically offered for them.

Aside from that, another avenue I recommend looking into is tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement. So if your place of work does offer any assistance as far as returning to school, I absolutely recommend taking advantage of that or at least looking into that to see if they do offer that program.

Finally, should you need to fund anything specifically out of pocket, we do have a fully functional financial aid office that would more than happy to work with you as far as setting up payment schedules and payment plans.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you for walking us through those options, Tom.

The next question we have is for you, Nina.

Nina Zimmerman: Okay.

Cindel Schimka: According to the AANP, Missouri is a restricted-practice state. However, does Maryville prepare their students to practice at the same level of a full-practice state?

Nina Zimmerman: Yes. So when you do your role as a nurse practitioner course and throughout the courses, we ask students to consider what the healthcare policies are and what your board of nursing practice act states.

So, even though Maryville is in Missouri, we take into consideration our students are from all across the United States. And so we don’t specifically teach in our curriculum in any of the courses what specifics to Missouri is and that’s a big part of the discussion with our students and assignments is to actually have you investigate and discuss what are the nurse practice acts and what are the restrictions or not restrictions in your state to practices and advance practice nurse.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Nina.

Tom, the next question is for you. Is a semester is 16 weeks long?

Tom Noonas: That is correct. So every semester will be a total of 16 weeks and within those 16-week semesters, you can expect 8-week classes or when you do get to your clinical rotations as well as patho and pharm, 16-week courses as well.

Cindel Schimka: Sweet.

Tom Noonas: Yeah. It’s a combination of both 16-week courses. It just depends on the courses.

Cindel Schimka: Okay. Moving on, the next question is, in which semester does the practicum begin?

Nina, can you answer this one?

Nina Zimmerman: Sure. So when you get to your specialty courses, so after you’ve done your core courses, so it’s usually two years into the program, you start your clinical rotations which starts with Adult Gerontology Healthcare 1 and the practicum at the same time. If you are a master’s student, not post-masters, then it’s about halfway into the program.

Cindel Schimka: Great.

Nina, this next question, I think a lot of people would probably like to hear your answer on this one.

What is the difference between the primary and acute care requirement?

Nina Zimmerman: Requirements being admission requirements or requirements as a nurse practitioner?

Cindel Schimka: Being as they didn’t clarify, but I would — can you answer in regards to the nurse practitioner?

Nina Zimmerman: Sure. So as far as the requirements in terms of our curriculum, the adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner goes to the core courses in the Adult Gerontology Healthcare 1, Adult Gerontology Healthcare 2 and the practicum.

The adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner does the Adult Healthcare 1 and 2, but also has further specialty courses, two specialty courses with two practicums in addition to the primary care adult gerontology healthcare course.

So that’s the difference in the curriculum. Again as a rule, it’s just like it states but it’s sometimes not very clear, the adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner fulfills roles in primary care practices, in a primary care role focusing on health prevention and management of chronic disease.

The acute care nurse practitioner role is in acute care settings so that may be in an emergency room, in an intensive care unit, possibly in urgent care, sometimes adult gerontology nurse practitioners, primary care practitioners work in urgent care, but definitely in an acute setting, more controlled acute setting.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you for clarifying, Nina.

The next question is for Tom and, Nina, if you have thoughts on this, please feel free to answer as well.

I have a concern about my GPA causing me not to be able to attend in this program.

Nina Zimmerman: Okay.

Tom Noonas: So from an enrollment perspective, is absolutely reach out to your enrollment advisor, you know, you want to speak to them to kind of go over, you know, where your GPA is and they can kind of work with you further as far as that goes.

We kind of covered it a little bit earlier, but you do have the opportunity to write an addendum. And what the addendum specifically is, is it just gives our admissions committee a clear picture as if there was anything specifically going on, you know, whether in your professional life or academically, anything that it might be that would have led to those grades being a little bit lower than you would have liked.

But, again, from an enrollment perspective, I would say to absolutely touch base with your enrollment advisor and they will be able to work with you to complete your file and really make that file as strong as possible.

Cindel Schimka: Nina, did you have anything to ask?

Nina Zimmerman: The only thing I would add is that we look at the whole admission project. So your GPA is not exactly a 3.0 but close to it as a cumulative GPA and you are a strong candidate in terms of your letters of recommendation and everything that you submit, then we take that into consideration.

So I would say that I would talk to your — just like Tom had reiterated is that you talk to your recruitment advisor and they do a great job of making your project as strong as possible. And we do consider each individual project on an individual basis.

Cindel Schimka: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Nina.

All right. The next question, Nina, is for you regarding the clinical, the preceptors.

Can I use a free clinic as a preceptor site for my FNP program?

Nina Zimmerman: It depends on a couple of things. So, yes, we have had students be in free clinics. It depends on if we can acquire a memorandum of understanding which is a clinical contract between that site and Maryville.

So if we haven’t had students in that clinical site, then our staff and the student put us in touch with the person at that clinical site who would be responsible for doing a memorandum of understanding or clinical contract .

And as long as Maryville and the clinical site can agree on a clinical contract, and we have one that is drafted that we use all the time, sometimes clinical sites want other things listed, then, yes. As long as we approve your preceptor and we approve the clinical site, that is absolutely possible.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you.

The next question is for Tom.

Are there any breaks between the semesters?

Tom Noonas: That’s a really good question. So you always get the break in the holiday season. So, generally, that’s mid-December to mid-January. That’s usually after the fall term ends and right before the spring term would pick back up after the holidays.

Aside from that specific break, there are no additional breaks in the program. So you would finish one course and then you would start the next one the following day.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Continuing on down.

Nina, the next question is regarding clinical rotation.

Nina Zimmerman: Okay.

Cindel Schimka: Someone is wondering if they are enrolling from a different state, how would the clinicals work if they are somewhere else outside of Missouri?

Nina Zimmerman: Yes. So we are approved in I believe 42 states, so you can ask your recruitment advisor if we are approved to do clinicals in that state, but we can’t recruit students in your state unless we are approved by the state.
So there’s two authorizations that happen. There is a state authorization to actually have students from each of the states in the United States and then there is a board of nursing authorization.

And so we let you know when you are recruited and before you start your clinicals, but we are working on acquiring board of nursing authorization in all states. So I would ask your recruitment advisor about that question.

And some students have licenses in multiple states. But, of course, it is really important to know if we have that approval in the state where you live and where you have a registered nurse license. So You have to have your registered license to be able to do clinicals in that state, or if it’s a contacts license, that would also apply.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Nina.

Nina Zimmerman: You’re welcome.

Cindel Schimka: The next question we have is for Tom.

On average, how much time do the students spend on school work and online time?

Tom Noonas: Generally, we prepare students to spend about 20 to 25 hours per week on the curriculum. However, I will say that for your first course, you’re going to want to maybe budget about 25 to 30 hours per week just so you’re getting used to the online environment, getting back into a program if you have been out of school for some time and really kind of get back into the flow of school so to speak.

I will also say, you know, once you get further along your curriculums when you do get to classes, such as patho and pharm, and even your clinical rotations, you are going to want to have some additional times set aside per week to spend on these courses.

That being said, though, you know, one of the main skillsets that each student would want to possess would be a good understanding of time management, prioritizing and things of that nature to really make sure they succeed at the highest level.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Tom.

The next question is for you, Nina, regarding eligibility.

I have an MSN for leadership and nursing in healthcare systems. Would I be eligible for the post-masters nurse practitioner?

Nina Zimmerman: Yes.

Cindel Schimka: If so, how long does it take and how many credits?

We did address that but if you want to touch on it again.

Nina Zimmerman: So, yes. It’s absolutely possible to have an MSN in leadership and to see approximately your post-master’s.

Depending on what concentration, it could be anywhere from 13 courses to — it depends on your concentration so that FNP would be, I’m sorry, 11 courses, the adult gero primary care would be 9 courses.

So the completion in you FNP would be six semesters and your AG primary care NP would be approximately five semesters. The other concentrations, your PNP and your acute care are also approximately five, six semesters.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you. The next question is for Tom.

I will graduate with my BSN in May. Am I eligible to apply for the FNP program prior to graduation?

Tom Noonas: You absolutely are eligible. What you will want to do during the application process is obtain what’s called a letter of conferral from your current program. This letter, you will be able to obtain from your school’s registrar’s department.

And, basically, what this letter will state is that you are currently enrolled in your BSN program, will give us an idea of when you will be expected to graduate and will also let us know that you are in good academic standing.

And then when you do receive your transcript, it does show your degree conferred, you will also want to provide that to your enrollment advisor as well so they can add that to your file.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Tom.

The next question is for you as well. When is the deadline for the March entry date?

Tom Noonas: I think you may be speaking about May. So May 4th would be the next upcoming term that we do have available.

As far as deadlines go, we do have an application deadline of March 23rd, so we do have plenty of time as far as getting your documents together.
And, really, as enrollment advisors, our main goals here are to work with you in a collaborative effort to get your file all put together and submitted appropriately.

So if you have interest in the May 4th term, again, you do have more than enough time and please reach out to your advisor to make sure we’re able to get your documentation together.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Tom.

Nina, this next question is for you.

Nina Zimmerman: Okay.

Cindel Schimka: I completed my BSN in the Philippines in 2005. I am a US citizen, working as an RN here in the US since 2008. Because of my unique circumstances, are there any additional requirements I need besides the items listed previously?

Nina Zimmerman: Not that I’m aware of. I mean, we will let you know. So when we look at your project, we review it and if we need more information about your transcript or where you have acquired your registered nurse or your BSN, we will let you know but the same requirements apply to everyone.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you.

The next question is in reference to the one-year nursing experience, is that working on a nursing floor?

Nina, can you address that question?

Nina Zimmerman: Not necessarily. So you would need to be in a registered nurse role. So some of our nurses who have a year of experience are in a school nurse role or in a clinic or in an emergency — in an urgent care or convenient care, retail health care, home health. It needs to be a registered nurse position so it needs to be a nursing position where you are having patient care in some manner, maybe even case management of some sort. But as long as you are in a nursing position, we will consider your application as one year of experience.

Cindel Schimka: Okay. The next question is for Tom.

I would like to know the address of where to send the application documents.

Tom Noonas: Fantastic. And if you would like to begin the application process, again, I will absolutely recommend reaching out to your enrollment advisor. They can provide with you with an application instruction document that will provide you with that address of where to send all of your college level transcripts as well as kind of detailing everything we would need as far as completing your file.

So this document will really kind of break down, you know, the letters of recommendation, the resume, you know, everything we discussed previously here. They would be more than happy to provide that to you.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you. Nina, this question is for you.

What are the exams we will have to take after graduation to be able to practice as an FNP?

Nina Zimmerman: So there are two choices for the FNP students. The certification exams are from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the ANP, and then, what is it, the American Credentialing Center.

So, gosh, I’m drawing a blank. But, anyway, there’s two national organizations, the ANCC, the American Nursing Credentialing Center is the second organization.

There’s two certifying bodies so you have a choice of either going through the ANCC for your certification which is where my certification is from, and/or the ANP.

So it used to depend on the insurers which certification would be appropriate for you to take and what position you were going to be holding. But, now, it’s not so much that anymore.

For whatever reason, we have two certification bodies which makes it a little bit confusing. But you do have the choice.
The ANP exam is a little bit more clinical. It’s all clinical questions as far as the text matrix whereas the ANCC does have questions about education, research, ethic.

So they are two different exam matrix or matrices but, you know, we cover everything. Your degree, your FNP degree makes you eligible for either exam. There is really no advantage of taking both exams.

Cindel Schimka: Okay. Thank you, Nina.

The next question is for Tom.

How many applications do you accept each semester and, additionally, is it realistic that someone could complete their application and start in the summer semester?

Tom Noonas: Absolutely. So this is actually a great question that a lot of applicants do ask me on a frequent basis.

So as far as the number of applicants we accept, we do not have a seat capacity or waiting list here. So we absolutely are happy to offer room to any qualified applicants that do apply.

That being said, we do work on a rolling admissions basis. So if you are looking to the upcoming summer term or even if you are looking into the future here, I would absolutely recommend getting a start on the process so, that way, we can submit your file accordingly and be able to work with you throughout the next steps here.

And in regard to the upcoming summer term, you absolutely have enough time to get your file together. Generally, I tell students it takes around two weeks to start and complete the application process.

The main thing you would want to do would be to get your transcripts ordered first. Generally, in the application process, that is what takes the longest portion. Everything else can be completed, you know, I don’t want to say quickly, but it can be completed a little bit more easily while you are waiting for your transcripts to arrive.

And, again, if you do have an interest in the summer term, your enrollment advisor is more than happy to work with you to make that a possibility for you.

Cindel Schimka: Thank you, Tom.

Nina, this next question is for you. Am I correct that there is no requirements to ever obtain a DNP in order to practice as a nurse practitioner?

Nina Zimmerman: That is correct. At this time, there is not a statement that has been approved by any organization in the nursing arena that states that you have to have a DNP to be a practicing nurse practitioner.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Nina.

The next question is for Tom. Do you only take one class at a time?

Tom Noonas: For the majority of the program, yes. So a lot of your foundation or first-year of classes will be eight-week courses that will be taken one at a time.

When you do get into advanced patho and advanced pharm, that is where you will start to transition into the 16-week course. Those two courses are taken together over a 16-week period.

And, also, when you do get to your clinical rotations, you will have one clinical rotation for every 16-week semester. Within that 16-week semester, you will be responsible for completing your practicum hours as well as working on an online theory course that does supplement that as well.

Nina Zimmerman: And just to add to that, the advanced assessment course which is considered one of your core courses is both a didactic course and has 80 hours of clinical. But it’s one course.

So just to add to what Tom is saying, when you get into advanced assessment, Nursing 612, that’s when you actually start having clinical and coursework together in a 16-week format.

Tom Noonas: Wonderful.

Cindel Schimka: Okay. The next question is for you, Nina.

Do students have to visit the school in person at any time during their program?

Nina Zimmerman: No. It’s a 100 percent online. We do not require any kind of residency during the program. But you’re always welcome to come to Maryville if you are in the area or close to the area and we always encourage everyone to come to graduation.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Nina, the next question is for you as well.

Do you find that most of your MSN students work full time?

And, Tom, maybe you can answer some of this as well.

Tom Noonas: I will jump in first here.

Nina Zimmerman: Yes.

Tom Noonas: From an enrollment perspective, I always tell students that this program really is catered for students that are working full time. The vast majority of students are working, you know, those full time hours per week whether it’s three 12s or 40 hours or whatever it might be because it is a very flexible program in that it does allow you to log into from anywhere at any time.

There’s no schedule log-on days or times and things of that nature. I would recommend when you do get closer to the clinical portion of the program, that’s the portion where I do prepare students to maybe look at their current working hours and adjust accordingly.

You know, and that will be on a student-by-student basis. Certain students will be able to maintain their full-time hours while they are completing clinicals and other students do prefer to cut back a little bit while they are completing their practicums. But, again, that would be on a student-by-student basis.

Nina Zimmerman: I agree with what Tom is saying. Most students both online and on campus do work full time and have families. However, it depends on your individual educational needs.

I do find as a faculty member that once you get to advanced assessment in the clinical courses, it’s just as Tom said, that it’s really important that you have as much time as you can to study, to prepare and to do clinicals.

Because when you start to do clinicals in the adult Gerontology Healthcare 1, it’s either 215 or 250 clinical hours on top of your course work. So that’s about two days a week, two eight-hour days a week to do clinicals for 16 weeks.

So it’s a hectic load. We expect a lot from our students. However, it’s very doable. It’s just you don’t have a lot of down time, I mean, you really are focusing on your goal which is to become a nurse practitioner.

Cindel Schimka: Wonderful. Thank you both, Tom and Nina.

The next question, Nina, is directed towards you. Can an FNP work in an acute care setting?

Nina Zimmerman: It depends on your state and what the requirements are of that facility. What’s happening is the boards of nursing are looking at what we call the consensus model.

And the consensus model states that you need to be prepared by your certification and your studies, your diploma in the area of where you are practicing which means that, state-by-state, it’s becoming such that you are going to be required if you work in an urgent care, not so much as urgent care but an emergency room and intensive care unit in a hospital role, that you will be required to acquire an acute care nurse practitioner’s certification.

However, that being said, in Missouri, that has not been the case yet. Certain health systems in our area are starting to require the nurse practitioners that currently work in hospitalist roles or intensive care unit roles or emergency room roles to be certified as acute care nurse practitioners.

So it’s transitioning to that. But, again, it depends on your facility and your state board of nursing.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you, Nina. The next question is for both Tom and Nina.

I have concerns about enrolling in an online program as I have been enrolled in traditional learning as it has been over multiple years. Can you speak more to the online learning style?

Tom Noonas: Yeah. I mean, from an enrollment perspective, this is a concern that certain students do have. What I will tell you, the main concern that students who haven’t done an online program before have is that they feel they won’t receive the level of support throughout the process and even throughout the program that they have received at their traditional schools.

I will tell you that this is one thing we do pride ourselves on whether it is throughout the application process or even when you are in the program, you will always consistently feel as though you do have somebody you can reach out to should you have a problem or a concern, someone always checking on you.

I know myself, throughout the application process, I am in consistent contact with my students and updating them about where their file stand and, you know, kind of the next steps in the process as well.

So I will say that the support that you do need will be there for you as well.

And, then, Nina, if you want to address it from more of a — and I guess an academic perspective.

Nina Zimmerman: Sure. I can tell you as an online faculty that develops the courses and also teaches in the courses, that there is a lot of interaction with faculty online.

There is a lot of contact with students either on the online chats or we have online live sessions with students and faculty are available, of course, by phone if you need to reach them, and email.

Our expectation is of our faculty answer your emails within two days. So either your grading or your questions to your answers are usually addressed within two days.

And, then, if it’s a problem with your actual faculty, then you myself as a resource and then, of course, your advisors, your Maryville advisors play a tremendous role to support you and answer any questions or concerns that you may have throughout the courses and the program.

I think you have tremendous support online. To be honest with you, I don’t see that there is a big difference with the online versus on campus support that we offer at Maryville.

One of our missions is to be very student centered and I feel that now that I have been teaching online for a couple of years that I feel that we give a lot of individualized attention and a lot of resources to our online students.

Cindel Schimka: Great. We do have time for two more questions so one of those two is for Tom.

I have applied to the NSN program but now after hearing a presentation this evening, I think I may want to change to the BSN to DNP. How might one go about this process?

Tom Noonas: Well, this is actually a very easy change for you. I mean, the main thing you’d want to keep in mind is that the essay topics for both programs are different. So if you have already written and submitted your essay, you will just want to take a look at the BSN to DNP essay topic and then make sure you spend some time crafting your new essay.

Aside from that, you will just need some additional documentation, notating that you are requesting to change your program. But this is something that does happen frequently.

We do have students that decide to change programs, change start dates or anything like that that you may find. So, if that is your wish, absolutely reach out to your enrollment advisor and they will be able to provide you with necessary documentation.

Cindel Schimka: Thank you, Tom.

Now, the last question, both Nina and Tom, please feel free to provide your perspective.

Nina Zimmerman: Okay.

Cindel Schimka: But I have already completed my application for the summer semester. When am I going to know whether I am accepted?

Tom Noonas: So that is a great question. So from the enrollment perspective, we always prepare our students for a two-to-three-week turnaround as far as an admission decision goes.

And when you do receive that decision, we will be reaching out to you in real time. So the second that we do receive your decision, your advisor will be reaching out to you, providing you with your decision and then discussing the next steps in the process with you.

Cindel Schimka: Nina, did you have anything to add?

Nina Zimmerman: No. Two to three weeks is how much time we — we try to review your admissions project within two weeks, but, sometimes, with different processing, it may take a third week to contact the student about that decision.

Cindel Schimka: Great. Thank you both to Tom and Nina for answering all of the questions this evening.

Nina Zimmerman: You’re welcome.

Cindel Schimka: Again, for our attendees, if your question was not answered during our time, an enrollment advisor will be contacting you later this week to address any of your questions or concerns.

Additionally, please visit our website for more details we discussed today and more.

And, in closing, as we mentioned earlier, today’s webinar is being recorded and a copy will be emailed to you as soon as it is available.

Also, please keep in mind that the approaching application deadline for summer is Monday, March 23rd, and classes for the summer semester will begin on Monday, May 4th, 2015.

Thank you again for joining us this evening and we hope you found the webinar useful and that you obtained a lot of information. And, everyone, have a great evening.

Nina Zimmerman: Thank you.

Tom Noonas: Thank you.