Vanderbilt University (VU, Vandy) in Tennessee is a private research university that was created with an endowment from Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, and opened its doors to students in 1875. The University has always been coed, and is dedicated to providing liberal arts and sciences education.
Today, the campus covers 330 acres, and has ten schools, a distinguished medical center, and a public policy institute. Vanderbilt enrolls nearly 13,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students each year.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
The MSN program is open to students with a diploma or associate degree in nursing, a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), or a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. Students that are in the final year of their BSN program may also apply.
Students must submit a statement of goals, official transcripts for all post high school education, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and have an interview.
In addition, BSN students must have taken a statistics course and have a current Registered Nurse (RN) license. RNs with an associate or diploma in nursing must have earned at least 78 credit hours and have taken Microbiology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Social Sciences, Humanities, English, Statistics, Nutrition, and Developmental Psychology. Students with a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than nursing must also have taken Microbiology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Statistics, Nutrition, and Developmental Psychology.
The MSN program offers specialties in the following areas:
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) – this program is for nurses who want to specialize in care of adults with critical, acute, or chronic conditions. This program is offered in a modified learning block format. That means that RNs that have at least two years of work experience may continue working and do not have to relocate to Nashville. They will earn their degree without having to spend extended amounts of time at campus. Courses are offered online, through distributed learning, and on campus for short blocks of time, including weekends. Clinical requirements can usually be met where the student lives. Graduates of this program are eligible for certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) – Nurses in this specialty provide care, disease prevention, and health promotion to patients over the age of 12. This program is offered in modified learning block format. Graduates of this program are eligible for certification through the ANCC.
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Intensivist – Nurses in this specialty gives care to adult patients in intensive care settings. It is a subspecialty of ACNP, focusing on patients that need critical care. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the ANCP certification exam, and are allowed to write prescriptions, in accordance with state law.
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – This specialty focuses on primary care for all ages. FNPs may practice in a variety of healthcare settings. Students in this program will experience over 700 hours of supervised clinical practice. Graduates of the FNP program are eligible for certification through the ANCC.
- Emergency Nurse Practitioner (FNP/ACNP) – This specialty of working in emergency care is fast paced and requires the ability to treat a variety of patients and ailments. This program is one of the first of its kind in the nation, and is offered in modified learning block format. The fifth semester of the program involves immersion in an emergency care setting. Graduates of this program are prepared to take both the ACNP and FNP certification exams, and will be able to have prescriptive authority, according to state law.
- Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP) – this in-demand specialty provides care to mental health patients of all ages. This program is one of several with a modified learning block format. Graduates of this program are allowed to take the Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification exam in Adult or Family. After passing that exam, they may apply for prescriptive privileges, and take the Certified Specialist in Adult or Child/Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing exam.
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) – Students that have two years of experience caring for high risk newborns are eligible for this program. If they don’t already have the required experience, students may continue working while they take pre-clinical courses. Students will have the chance to practice in Level I (Newborn), Level II (Intermediate Care) and Level III (Neonatal Intensive Care) neonatal centers. This program is one of the modified learning block formats. Graduates of this program are eligible for certification through National Certification Corp (NCC).
- Health Systems Management (HSM) – This program is for nurses who wish to take a leadership or management role in healthcare. The HSM program is offered through Vanderbilt’s e-learning system, and students will do their clinical practicum in their local area. Students that graduate from this program are allowed to take the national board certification exam from the ANCC.
- Nurse-Midwifery (NMW) – Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) provide primary health care to women at all stages of life, emphasizing health education, promotion, and disease prevention. Prior to graduation, students must take a cumulative comprehensive exam. After graduation, they may take the American Midwifery Certification Board exam and become CNMs.
- Nursing Informatics – This program is for nurses who are interested in managing data and improving health care by using the latest information management technologies. This program is aligned with Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, a national leader in the field. This is one of the modified learning block format programs. Upon graduation, students are eligible for the national board certification exam from the ANCC.
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) – This specialty focuses on the needs of women from adolescence through the later stages of life, and concentrates on reproduction and gynecology. This program is one of the modified learning block format programs. Graduates of this program are eligible for certification through NCC.
- Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PNP) – Nurses in this specialty provide primary care for children up to age 21, in a variety of healthcare settings. The PNP program is one of the modified learning block format programs. The only exception to this is for students that do not have a nursing background. They will have to take their first three semesters on campus, but may finish the program as a distance format. Graduates of this program are allowed to take the national board certification exams from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) and the ANCC.
- Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP) – This program is for nurses who wish to provide care to children up until age 21, in a variety of pediatric acute care settings. Vanderbilt was one of the first schools to establish this program. This is one of the modified learning block format programs. Graduates of this program are allowed to take the national board certification exam from the PNCB.
- Dual Focus Nurse-Midwifery/FNP – This program expands the scope of the CNM to encompass men and children, allowing them to care for the entire family at all stages of life. This program can be finished in five semesters, if taken full time by a student who already has a BSN and is an RN.
- Dual Focus Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)/Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) – This program gives nurses the knowledge of a WHNP, but also teaches them the skills to care for the whole family. This is one of the modified learning block format programs. This program requires five semesters to complete if taken full time.
- Urogynecology – This specialty involves caring for female patients with pelvic floor dysfunction. This is a Post-Master’s program to be completed after the WHNP program. Graduates of this program are eligible for certification through NCC.
Dual MSN Degrees
The School of Nursing has a program for earning an MSN degree in combination with a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, or a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree. Students must apply to and be accepted by both the School of Nursing and the Divinity School. These programs are available on campus only.
The dual MSN/MDiv program takes four years if the student already has a BSN. Students will complete their first year of Divinity studies, then a year of Nursing studies, and finish with two years of Divinity studies. RNs without a BSN degree will need to begin their program with the School of Nursing Pre-Specialty Year, and will take five years to finish the program.
BSN graduates in the MSN/MTS program can finish in three years, with a year of Divinity classes, a year of Nursing studies, and the final year of Divinity classes. For RNs without a BSN, a Nursing Pre-Specialty year is required and the program will take four years.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Students with a BSN degree may enter the DNP program and earn their MSN degree, or they may enter with an MSN degree. The program offers on-campus classes and online/distance learning options, allowing nursing professionals to continue working.
To apply, students must submit transcripts, proof of their RN license and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) certification, letters of recommendation, a resume, professional statement, and have an interview.
Students may study an Advanced Practice Nursing specialty and earn a Post Master’s certificate, along with their DNP degree. This will lengthen the time it takes to finish the program.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing Science
The PhD in Nursing program is an online/distance course of study. Students may apply if they have a BSN or MSN and at least a B GPA. They will need to provide transcripts, GRE scores, recommendations from PhDs, curriculum vitae, an essay about career goals, and have interviews with faculty.
This program is for students wishing to change or expand their advanced nursing specialty. A Post-Master’s certificate allows students to study another specialty without earning another complete MSN degree. Students will need to submit transcripts, resume, and national nursing certifications to apply.
Post-Master’s certificates are available in the following specialties:
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
- Health Systems Management
- Nurse-Midwifery, Nursing Informatics
- Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
The Postdoctoral program at Vanderbilt is a two-year program that lets students who have completed a doctoral program in the last five years continue their research and enhance their writing and communication skills. Students must be located in Nashville for this program. The program offers an annual salary, plus a stipend to cover research and travel expenses.
Students will be selected based on a match between the faculty advisor and the candidate.
Special Students (Non-Degree Seeking)
Students may enroll in graduate level non-clinical courses without being accepted into the MSN program. Students will need to submit a registration form along with transcripts. Admission into the classes will be based upon availability of space after degree-program students have registered.
Admission requires approval of the Registrar, and does not guarantee future admission to the School of Nursing MSN or DNP programs.
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