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Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Family Nurse Practitioner/Doctor of Nursing Practice (FNP/DNP), the University’s first doctoral program of study, begins its first cohort in fall 2018. It expands upon LR’s longstanding success in providing Bachelors and Masters-level Nursing programs to support our region and beyond. The FNP/DNP program assists students to build upon the baccalaureate nursing skills and develop advanced nursing competencies to function as a family nurse practitioner. Therefore, the curriculum is constructed as a BSN to DNP program.

The FNP/DNP is a practice-focused doctoral program that prepares registered nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to transform practice and improve health outcomes through the application of advanced nursing knowledge. The practitioner degree enables the nurse to diagnose and manage most common illnesses, including chronic ones, either independently or as a part of a health care team. FNP's largely focus on health maintenance, disease prevention, counseling, and patient education in a wide variety of settings. The DNP program is designed for registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees, and offers one clinical specialization track at the Master’s degree level: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

The FNP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) that has competencies in family health promotion and the clinical management of common health conditions across the lifespan. FNP’s manage acute and chronic medical conditions, which can be both physical and mental in nature. They complete history and physical exams, order diagnostic tests, and provide medical treatments. They are qualified to diagnose medical problems, order treatments, perform advanced procedures, prescribe medications and make referrals for a wide range of acute and chronic medical conditions within their scope of practice. FNP’s work in hospitals, private offices, clinics, and nursing homes or long term care facilities.

LR’s program is constructed with working adult learners in mind. The majority of the program is constructed in an online but highly interactive environment with several immersions planned to create collegial relationships among both students and faculty. (Immersion experiences will occur on the Hickory Campus: two immersions in the first semester, one immersion in the remaining semesters). The program is constructed as a cohort entrance in the fall of each academic year, which will allow students to complete the requirements for both the FNP and DNP within a 3-year time structure. The program will allow students to meet the national accreditation requirement of 1000 clinical hours with the completion of the program.

The FNP/DNP program uses the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties’ Nurse Practitioner Primary Core Competencies in Specialty Areas (AACN-NONPF), the National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) BSN & DNP Essentials, DNP Toolkit, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) core competencies and Quality and Safety in Education of Nurses (QSEN) standards as guidelines for all program outcomes. Accordingly, the program prepares students for higher level Nursing practice through advanced content knowledge, enhanced critical thinking skills, and appropriate professional dispositions.

The School of Nursing fosters in its graduates a sense of global responsibility and accountability for developing leadership skills to engage in higher level practice. Through classroom and/or clinical components, FNP/DNP students will:
  • Synthesize, integrate and apply nursing science with knowledge from the arts and sciences into clinical expertise to deliver advanced nursing and healthcare services to diverse populations;
  • Assume leadership roles in the evaluation, design, organization and improvement of health care delivery;
  • Discover, integrate, connect, disseminate, and translate research across disciplines to reduce risk, promote safety and enhance quality of clinical practice;
  • Employ effective communication and interdisciplinary collaboration skills to solve complex problems, facilitate change and promote improved quality care; and
  • Engage in safe, effective and efficient advanced nursing practice within a defined specialization.



The School of Nursing plans to seek accreditation for the FNP/DNP program through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791 (ccneaccreditation.org).

Program Contact

Dr. Kerry Thompson

Chair of the School of Nursing; Professor
Hickory Campus

Dr. Diane Caruso

Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice & Family Nurse Practitioner Program, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Hickory Campus