The care of individuals and families across
the lifespan

Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program


Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Primary Care Family Program Focus


The Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track prepares advanced practice nurses for the current and evolving primary health care system.  More specifically, the program focuses on providing students with the skills needed to deliver cutting edge, community-based primary health care to individuals and families across the lifespan. We place a strong emphasis  on health promotion as well as the development of positive health behaviors as they pertain to diverse groups at different developmental and age stages. As a result, FNP students share course content with fellow students in the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PCPNP), and Nurse Midwife (NM) programs where relevant.  Some examples of this course content sharing include:
  • AGPCNP, FNP & NM students share one course addressing Adult Health Promotion, Well-Woman Care, and Management of Common Acute Illnesses (N566)

  • AGPCNP & FNP students share all adult-focused Primary Care courses (N568, N646, N566, N666, N667 and N688)

  • PCPNP and FNP students take the same Pediatric Wellness and Common Pediatric Illness courses (N547 and N549)

This structure exposes students to a variety of expert specialty faculty and also helps the development of inter-specialty relationships that may prove fruitful in students' future practices.


Our program prepares graduates to provide the full range of primary care from the ante partum period, infancy, childhood and adolescence through the adult lifespan. This includes the provision of well care to children and adults as well as the diagnosis and management of common acute and chronic health problems  In addition to direct patient care, primary care family nurse practitioner students also participate in research, education, and policy activities relevant to advanced practice nursing and diverse population health care issues. As a result of this broad preparation, our graduates are employed in a wide variety of settings, including, but not limited to, community-based health centers,  local health departments, emergency rooms, nurse managed health centers, private practices, managed care organizations, and Indian Health Services.
See the application requirements for this program.

“The Michigan Difference” in Family Nurse Practitioner Education, Practice & Research

A History of Pioneering Leadership and Innovation

At its inception in the mid-1990s, the FNP program was designed to take advantage of the resources of various master’s programs already in existence. Since FNPs provide care across the lifespan, FNP students partake in a highly interdisciplinary curriculum which exposes them to issues in pediatric and adult primary care, as well as in the management of a woman’s ante partum health care needs. Such  integration of coursework has benefited students in these graduate programs since it allows all students to study with course faculty who are experts in their particular areas and it promotes development of strong bonds between students across the various programs. Alumni comment on how these relationships have been helpful in their current practice settings and in the development of a future cadre of consultants.

World-Class Faculty Leaders in Education, Research, and Practice

All faculty in the program’s clinical courses are nationally certified as advanced practice nurses and engage in clinical practice across a broad array of settings. As active participants in local and national educational and policy setting organizations, such as the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners (MICNP), the National Association of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP), faculty stay current in advanced practice education and practice trends and provide leadership to the profession.
The majority of our faculty are also doctoral prepared researchers who regularly involve students in their research in local communities as well as in national and/or international settings. These research initiatives typically involve underserved communities, for which nurse interventions may prove helpful in promoting health, identifying health risk, or managing illness. Current research among FNP faculty includes working with homeless families in urban areas, working with high risk youth, promoting health and encouraging smoking cessation in high risk adults, and designing interventions to increase management self-efficacy in individuals with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Upon completion of projects, students are encouraged to publish their projects and/or present their findings in local or national conferences, often jointly with their faculty mentors.

Diverse Practice Settings and Exposure to the Full Spectrum of Care

As an essential component of the FNP educational experience, our clinical settings expose students to the entire spectrum of care—from clinics located within the community (e.g. Ozone House), school-based clinics, and homeless shelters (e.g. Delonis Homeless Shelter), to high paced specialty clinics affiliated with major hospital systems (e.g. Taylor Teen Clinic). In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in community health fairs, health education, and local and state politics involving nurse practitioners and health care.

Significant International Outreach and Global Opportunities

The School of Nursing is a designated PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center. As such, primary care family nurse practitioner students have had the opportunity to work with School of Nursing faculty in clinical settings in Africa (Zimbabwe, Liberia, Ghana) and Central America (Honduras).

Innovative, Groundbreaking Research Specific to Health Promotion and Risk Reduction

The University of Michigan School of Nursing is widely known for its excellence in Health Promotion and Risk Reduction research. While much of this comes from professional research faculty, we privilege our students' unique perspectives and so provide ample opportunity for their collaboration on research initiatives that draw on their particular interests.  For example, FNP students have collaborated with Dr. Villarruel on her work with HIV prevention among high risk Mexican youth; with Dr. Darling-Fisher to develop interventions that address high risk sexual behaviors in adolescents; with Dr. Brush on measures to promote physical and psychosocial well-being in homeless women and children; and with many others to produce quality research and conclusions that contribute meaningful to existing scholarship in the field.


The University of Michigan School of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner Program meets and exceeds the Core Competencies for Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioners outlined by the National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Upon graduation and entry into practice, family nurse practitioners are proficient in the following areas:
  • Providing health promotion, health protection, disease prevention, and treatment

  • Assessing health status

  • Diagnosing health status

  • Creating a plan of care and implementation of treatment

  • Ensuring a professional, collegial, and collaborative approach to care

  • Serving as a teacher and coach to patients

  • Committing to advancing the profession

  • Assisting patients in managing and negotiating the health care delivery system

  • Monitoring and ensuring high quality health care practice

  • Demonstrating cultural competence


Listed below are the required courses for the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Program. The Primary Care Family NP students will be placed in clinical settings appropriate to the NP role, the curriculum is offered in an on-campus format; however, a few of the core courses may be web-blended (the University of Michigan School of Nursing does not offer a completely on-line curriculum). The Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner program is offered as a fall term (September) start only. The set program plan for the Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner curriculum is 3 years in length, at this time this program is offered primarily at part-time enrollment status (less than 9 credits each fall, winter and spring-summer term of the curriculum). We currently do not offer a full-time program plan (9 or more credits each fall, winter and spring-summer term of enrollment) due to the sequence of coursework for the Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. 
Course Number
Course Name
Course Credits
Term Offered

Core Courses

Models, Theories and Methods to Promote Optimal Health Outcomes
Promoting Optimal Models and Systems for Healthcare Delivery
Scientific and Analytic Approaches for Advanced Practice

Specialty Courses

Course Credits
N502Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan4
Advanced Health Assessment for Advanced Practice Nurses
Common Pediatric Health Problems
Infant, Child and Adolescent Health: Wellness
Advanced Primary Care Nursing: Health Promotion and Management of Acute Health Problems of Adults and Well Women/GYN Care
Critical Elements and the Study of Family and Health
Nursing Care of Childbearing Families (Antepartum Care)
N646Primary Care of Older Adults3
Advanced Primary Care Nursing of Chronic Illness in Adults and Their Families
Behavioral and Lifestyle Management in Primary Care
Advanced Primary Care Nursing of Families in Complex Systems

Required Cognates

Pharmacotherapeutics I
Pharmacotherapeutics II
Total Credits = 59
Minimum Required Clinical Hours = 616