May 20, 2019  
2013-2014 Undergradate & Graduate Bulletin 
2013-2014 Undergradate & Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION]

Master of Science in Nursing, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

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Master of Science in Nursing


Program Objectives

The College of Nursing and Health Professions offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science in Nursing degree. The objectives of the program are to prepare nurses at an advanced practice level who demonstrate professional leadership and foster a research climate in the practice of nursing. The graduate of the master’s degree program is a clinician, administrator, or educator who can:

  • synthesize knowledge and concepts from nursing, the sciences, and humanities as a foundation for advanced nursing practice;
  • integrate critical thinking and independent judgment to manage and provide advanced nursing practice with diverse populations;
  • participate in systematic inquiry and applied research to improve nursing care and enhance nursing as a profession;
  • integrate knowledge of the legal, socioeconomic, political, cultural, and ethical forces that affect patient care and the healthcare environment into the role of the advanced practice nurse;
  • function as an advocate, leader, and change agent to plan, implement, and evaluate healthcare in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, consumers, and policy makers; and
  • provide leadership in maintaining and promoting the professional values of caring, integrity, accountability, competence, collegiality, and lifelong learning.

The graduate nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, Suite 530, Washington D.C. 20036, 202/887-6791.


The master’s degree at the University of Southern Indiana offers the following specialty areas: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nursing Education (NED), and Nursing Management and Leadership (NML).

Admission Requirements

Each student submits an application to both the Office of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Nursing Program. Application must be submitted by October 1 for spring admission and February 1 for fall admission. Applications are not reviewed until all materials have been received by the Graduate Nursing Admissions and Progression Committee. Applicants must be admitted to graduate study before their materials can be reviewed by the Graduate Nursing Admissions and Progression Committee. (See Office of Graduate Studies, Admission to Graduate Studies.)

Part-time study options are available. Students must contact the Graduate Nursing Office, by email or phone, for an individual advising session eight weeks after submitting admissions materials. The minimum criteria for admission to the Graduate Nursing Program are:

  • a baccalaureate degree in nursing from an accredited school;
  • minimum baccalaureate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
  • satisfactory completion of a course in undergraduate statistics;
  • unencumbered RN license;
  • non-native speakers of English must provide an official report confirming a TOEFL score of 525 (paper test) or 71 (Internet based) or APIEL score of 3 or ILELTS score of 6.
  • successful completion of the application process to both the Office of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Nursing Program.
  • One year of full time employment or equivalent as a registered nurse is strongly recommended.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)

The acute care nurse practitioner acquires knowledge and experience to provide direct healthcare services to adults across the lifespan for the purposes of health promotion, health protection, disease prevention, and management of common acute and chronic illnesses. The acute care nurse practitioner works in a variety of clinical settings that include, but are not limited to, acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician offices, urgent care centers, and ambulatory care centers. The population in acute care nurse practitioner practice consists of adults over the age of 18 years through the elderly. The acute care nurse practitioner focuses on adults across the lifespan experiencing acute and episodic chronic health problems. There are a total of 42 hours in the specialty with 705 clinical hours.

The acute care nurse practitioner graduate is prepared to

  • synthesize knowledge from nursing theories, the humanities, and evidence-based scientific clinical guidelines to guide assessment of health status of adults across the lifespan;
  • demonstrate advanced practice clinical decision making, integrating critical thinking, to interpret patient and diagnostic test data and formulate differential diagnoses and a plan of care for adults across the lifespan;
  • design and implement a mutually agreed upon management plan and therapeutic interventions with adult patients and families across the lifespan;
  • evaluate and revise the documented management plan based on patient/family findings, problems and expected outcomes of treatment;
  • apply adult assessment methodologies and research findings to improve and evaluate the care of adult patients and families across the adult lifespan;
  • advocate for patients and families to provide cost-effective, culturally competent, ethical, quality care in and across healthcare settings; and
  • model responsibility for continued professional development, integrity, accountability, competence, and credentialing as an acute care nurse practitioner.


To achieve the master’s degree, all students complete the nursing core courses. Students choosing the ACNP, FNP, and NED options also complete clinical core courses. Additional courses required in each specialty are indicated.

Graduate nursing clinical practice requirements may be completed in the student’s own geographic area. Each student is responsible for identifying preceptors and clinical sites. Approval of each preceptor and clinical site must be obtained from faculty prior to beginning clinical hours. A written agreement with each agency is required prior to initiating clinical experiences. Students may be required to visit campus in order to demonstrate clinical competency. Faculty also will validate clinical competency through site visits and/or conference calls with preceptors and students. All students will be directly observed and evaluated at their clinical site by NP faculty at least once each semester. Students living within 125-mile radius of the University of Southern Indiana (USI) will be observed and evaluated by the full-time, USI NP faculty. Students living outside the 125 mile radius of USI will be observed and evaluated by the USI NP faculty or the clinical affiliate faculty. Clinical affiliate faculty will be located within reasonable proximity to the students living in the area. In order to satisfy the direct observation mandate, students living outside of the 125 mile radius of USI have the option of traveling to the practice site of the clinical affiliate faculty or traveling to the USI campus to be observed by the USI NP faculty. Students are responsible for all expenses incurred in satisfying the direct observation mandate.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

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