Advanced Practice Areas
Peruse below the Advanced Practice Areas (APAs) available for study at Carolina. You will receive upon matriculation an up-to-date plan of study to sign with your faculty advisor. The plan of study you receive upon matriculation supercedes any information below.
The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) option prepares students to provide care for patients age 13 to the end of life. The program requires course content in research, professional and clinical cores, and the advanced practice area with a selected focus. Graduates will be skilled in implementing and evaluating interventions across adult health care settings as well as throughout the trajectories of illness. Nurses are educated for practice that is evidence-based, collaborative, and reflective of an understanding of current health care delivery, as well as, economic, ethical, and professional issues.
Students complete five clinical courses which include a core course in advanced diagnostic reasoning, three clinical courses that emphasize management of common adult health problems and one course that emphasizes the management of complex adult health problems related to a focus area of choice. Graduates eligible to sit for the American Nurses’ Association (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certification examination for AGPCNP practitioners.
The School of Nursing offers courses leading to a specialty focus in Oncology. Applicants are admitted to the AGPCNP advanced practice area and complete an additional four credits of coursework focused in Oncology. Students who elect this option receive advanced knowledge and skills in both the prevention and management in the care of adults at risk for, or with, cancer. Graduates who complete additional clinical hours in oncology after graduation may also qualify to sit for the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation) exam.
Ranked 10th in nation, our Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty prepares students as advanced practice nurses for community-oriented primary care. Graduates provide comprehensive health promotion services to ambulatory clients; evaluate presenting problems at the client’s initial contact with the primary care system; and provide continuing care to clients with acute and stable chronic illnesses.
Themes emphasized throughout the primary care courses include: epidemiology; holism and caring; family and community systems; appropriate use of technology; cost effectiveness; collaboration; consultation and the referral process; and the research base for primary care practice.
FNP students with an interest in community-oriented primary care or global health have opportunities to focus their study in areas of special interest such as vulnerable populations or health disparities through clinical placements, elective courses, and the Master’s Paper. Students are encouraged to talk with their advisors about their interests in special areas for developing an individualized plan of study.
Today’s health care system requires new skills of nursing leaders to transform the delivery of nursing and health care. The Health Care Systems (HCS) program option prepares students with knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a variety of leadership positions in health care organizations.
This advanced practice area includes content in management and leadership, informatics, financial management, human resource management, quality improvement, outcomes management, and education. Graduates are prepared with a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills needed to develop, implement, and measure the impact of innovations in care delivery at all levels within health care organizations.
The Health Care System curriculum prepares students to become advanced nursing leaders in the following areas:
- Administration: Prepares students with advanced knowledge and skills in the management, organization, and delivery of systems of care, with emphasis on human and financial resource management.
- Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL): Prepares students to provide and manage care for individuals and groups of patients, with emphasis on understanding patients’ clinical progression, care transitions and processes, evidence-based practice, quality improvement and patient safety. Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination.
- Education: Prepares students with advanced knowledge and skills in teaching and nursing education to fill roles in patient education, staff development, or academic settings. Upon completion of the program, education graduates are eligible to sit for national certification as a Certified Nurse Educator.
- Informatics: Prepares students with in-depth knowledge and skills in information management and processing principles to support data, information, and knowledge needs in the practice of nursing.
- Outcomes Management: Prepares students with advanced skills in managing patient and systems outcomes, emphasizing quality and performance improvement, outcomes measurement, and introducing practice innovations.
Students complete core, specialty, and supporting coursework commensurate with their area of focus and future goals. All students complete an intensive residency experience and are placed with preceptors in individually selected clinical practice sites for role integration and immersion. Full-time students usually complete their program of study in five semesters, while part-time students typically complete the program in three years. Full-time CNL students typically complete in four semesters.
Dual Degree MSN/MSIS or MSN/MSLS
The School of Nursing and the School of Information and Library Sciences offer two dual programs of study leading to two professional degree combinations: the Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Science in Information Science (MSN/MSIS), and the Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Science in Library Science (MSN/MSLS). The dual degree programs provide an opportunity for HCS students focusing in Informatics to combine skills in nursing, health care informatics and clinical leadership with specialized training in information and library sciences to meet the demands of a highly complex health care environment. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs for further information.
Well Care Home Health Leadership Scholars Program
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing has partnered with Well Care Home Health, a leading home health provider to establish the Well Care Home Health Leadership Scholars Program—a program funded specifically to prepare nurse leaders for the home health industry.
Funded through charitable contributions from Well Care Home Health, the Scholars Program seeks to attract highly qualified master of science in nursing students to the home health industry through focused coursework and clinical experiences in the home health field. Well Care Home Health Leadership Scholars will be enrolled in the UNC School of Nursing’s Health Care Systems (HCS) graduate program, which ranks 4th nationally.
Learn more about the Well Care Home Health Leadership Scholars Program here.
The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care option prepares advanced practice nurses to provide care for children from birth to 21 years. The curriculum is designed to prepare nurses to provide comprehensive care to children and families by focusing on health maintenance and education, illness prevention and minor and chronic illness management.
Students are prepared to provide care that is evidence-based, collaborative, and reflective of an understanding of current health care delivery, as well as, economic, ethical, and professional issues. A student’s plan of study may be individualized to the student’s interests and needs through clinical placements, papers, presentations, and elective courses.
The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) option prepares students to be clinically competent and culturally sensitive advanced practice registered nurses. PMHNPs assess, facilitate and manage the psychiatric and mental health care needs of individuals, families, groups and communities in a variety of public, private, community, inpatient, and team-based, multidisciplinary practice settings.
The PMHNP specialty curriculum embraces a lifespan perspective in psychiatric mental health diagnostic reasoning, psychopharmacology, individual, group and family psychotherapies and management of complex psychiatric illnesses.
An emphasis on the interaction and integration of common mental and physical health problems gives the student an evidence-based framework for comprehensive psychiatric-mental health care. The emphasis on cultural sensitivity challenges students’ assumptions and value judgments, and promotes critical analysis of how racial and cultural biases in psychiatric diagnosis have led to disparities in care.
Clinical sites are selected to meet course objectives and individual student learning needs. The PMHNP option promotes and encourages students to complete their clinical hours in their own communities and/or regions of the state of North Carolina and beyond, depending upon their learning objectives, interests and scholarship.
Precepted clinical experiences include psychiatric assessment and comprehensive evaluations, documentation according to federal and state requirements, implementation of individual, family and group therapy, and medication initiation and management. Graduates are able to assume an expanded scope of practice including prescriptive authority and collaborative management of health problems across the lifespan.