Clinical experiences are vital to the successful achievement of student learning outcomes and the preparation of competent family nurse practitioners. In clinical experiences, students interact with patients and other members of the health care team to develop skills in prevention, detection, assessment, planning, and collaborative practice. Clinical competence is achieved through a combination of laboratory experiences, didactic coursework, observation, and direct patient care.

Clinical Experiences and Residency

Clinical Experiences

Clinical experiences are vital to the successful achievement of student learning outcomes and the preparation of competent family nurse practitioners. In clinical experiences, students interact with patients and other members of the health care team to develop skills in prevention, detection, assessment, planning, and collaborative practice. Clinical competence is achieved through a combination of laboratory experiences, didactic coursework, observation, and direct patient care.

Students in this program are required to complete 84 supervised lab hours and 600 on-site, precepted clinical hours (45 hours for each clinical course and 420 hours in the final preceptorship). The 84 supervised lab hours will take place in NRP/571, during a 5 day intensive on-campus residency. Students are encouraged to complete additional clinical hours if possible.

MSN/FNP courses with a clinical component are sequenced to provide students with foundational information and skills expanding to the management of complex health issues. To establish a baseline in achieving course objectives, a minimum number of hours is established for each clinical course; however, some students may require more clinical hours to meet the course objectives. Students must complete all the clinical requirements of a course to progress to the next course in the sequence.

Prior to starting clinicals, students will receive a clinical orientation that will outline in detail the responsibilities, clinical requirements, medical documentation, and the affiliation agreement process, as well as other important information. The following are highlights of these requirements so that you may begin planning ahead for the clinical portion of your program:

1. An approved preceptor must supervise all clinical activities. At no time are students allowed to participate in clinical activities or complete clinical hours without an approved preceptor at the clinical site. University staff will work closely with students to guide them through the preceptor process.

· Each campus may have an approved list of preceptors; however, students are responsible for reaching out and scheduling their own precepted experiences. As such, students should start thinking about potential preceptors as early as possible.

· Information pertaining to preceptor selection is explained in detail in the Clinical Onboarding Packet, during clinical orientation, and at the start of clinical rotations. An acceptable preceptor must either be an MD, DO, or NP with current licensure and good standing in practice with a minimum of 3 years of relevant clinical experience in the population group and specialty area.

2. The clinical hours must be completed in a primary care setting that includes patients who require a broad spectrum of care, both preventative and curative. Hours are distributed among women’s health, pediatric, geriatric, and adult populations to give the student a diverse experience across the lifespan.

· Students are encouraged to limit clinical experiences to include no more than 12-hour shifts and no more than 40 hours a week.

· Unprofessional behavior as defined in the Professional Standards for Candidates in the School of Nursing may impact a student’s standing in the program.

3. Students are required to log the time spent in the clinic. Students also log data related to each patient including gender, age, ethnicity, and the conditions for which they are being seen. This data verifies with the university and the accrediting agencies that students are meeting requirements of the program.

4. Students may only participate in clinical activities for the population aggregate courses for which they are currently enrolled or have completed. For example, students may not see children as part of their clinical experience until they begin NRP/540: Management of Pediatric and Adolescent Populations.

5. Lab hours will consist of simulation exercises and faculty-supervised physical assessment skills check-offs such as neuro, musculoskeletal, cardiac, pulmonary, and abdominal assessments. Also included in the lab are practice performing pelvic exams, punch biopsies, suturing, and other procedures. The faculty supervised assessments will take place during the 5-day residency period.


Students will be required to complete a 5-day residency during their NRP/571 course. They complete the first 7 weeks of the course online or at the local campus as usual. Then, during the 8th week of the course, they attend a 5-day intensive residency, consisting of 8-hour days.

· Local campus students will attend their local campus for residency. They are responsible for any travel to clinical or simulation sites that are required as part of residency.

· Online students will need to travel to Phoenix for residency. They will be financially responsible for their travel, including their flight, hotel, and dinner costs. University of Phoenix staff work with local hotels to establish discounted rates for online students during this week. The university will cover transportation between the hotel, the Phoenix campus, and any clinical sites for online students.

Developing Master’s-Level Writing Skills

Nurses are busy. Many develop habits that help them work quickly: writing in short-hand on the job or in text message abbreviations in everyday life. When starting a Master’s program, however, nursing students must use scholarly writing or academic writing. The objective of academic writing, which has a high level of rigor and a specific structure, is to provide clear, concise insights and to support them with evidence. The transition from short hand or casual writing to scholarly writing requires using the five-paragraph essay format.

The Five-Paragraph Essay Format

The five-paragraph essay format is a classic structure used for building an essay and is helpful in organizing and developing ideas.

The basic five-paragraph essay contains the following:

· One introductory paragraph to introduce the topic and a thesis statement

· Three body paragraphs that support, defend, and develop the topic of the essay

· One concluding paragraph to summarize and synthesize the information provided on the topic

The body paragraphs can be expanded for a more robust discussion. Please review the American Psychological Association’s (APA) style manual for further guidance in paragraph and sentence development.

Planning Your Paragraphs With the “MEAL Plan”

Presenting information to your reader in a clear and concise manner requires writing organized and effective paragraphs. Paragraphing is a core skill in building paraphrase that convey mastery of your academic writing abilities. Students at Duke University are encouraged to think of a paragraph as a complete MEAL that includes a Main idea, Evidence, Analysis, and a Link. Understanding the MEAL Plan will provide you with an effective strategy to ensure each paragraph contains a main idea, evidence to support the idea, analysis of evidence, and a link of the information to what already exists and to the next topic in the discussion.

M – The Main Idea

Every paragraph should have one main idea. If you find that your paragraphs have more than one main idea, separate your paragraphs so that each has only one main point. The idea behind a paragraph is to introduce an idea and expand on it. If you veer off into a new topic, begin a new paragraph.

E – Evidence (or Examples)

Your main idea needs support, either in the form of evidence that buttresses your argument or examples that explain your idea. If you don’t have any evidence or examples to support your main idea, your idea may not be strong enough to warrant a complete paragraph. In this case, re-evaluate your idea and see whether you need even to keep it in the paper.

A – Analysis

Analysis is the heart of academic writing. While your readers want to see evidence or examples of your idea, the real “meat” of your idea is your interpretation of your evidence or examples: how you break them apart, compare them to other ideas, use them to build a persuasive case, demonstrate their strengths or weaknesses, and so on. Analysis is especially important if your evidence (E) is a quote from another author. Always follow a quote with your analysis of the quote, demonstrating how that quote helps you to make your case. If you let a quote stand on its own, then the author of that quote will have a stronger voice in your paragraph (and maybe even your paper) than you will.

L – Link Back to the Larger Claim

Linking one idea to another helps your reader to see how your paragraphs fit together. When you end a paragraph, try to connect that idea to something else in your paper, such as your thesis or argument, the previous paragraph or main idea, or the following paragraph. Creating links will help your reader understand the logic and organization of your paper, as well as the logic and organization of your argument or main points.


Rigor does not refer to whether an essay uses an elevated vocabulary or has impeccable grammar, but, rather, it is determined by how well ideas are expressed and supported by compelling evidence.

Student Code of Academic Integrity

University of Phoenix is an academic community whose fundamental mission is the pursuit of intellectual growth. Achievement of this mission is dependent upon the development of autonomous thought and respect for the ideas of others. Academic dishonesty threatens the integrity of individual students as well as the University’s academic community. By virtue of membership in the University’s academic community, students accept a responsibility to abide by this Student Code of Academic Integrity, which is a part of the Student Code of Conduct.

Academic integrity violations include all forms of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to:

a.   Plagiarism  – Intentional or unintentional representation of another’s words or ideas as one’s own in an academic exercise.

Examples of plagiarism include but are not limited to:

●   The exact copy of information from a source without proper citation and without use of quotation marks or block quotation formatting. If any words or ideas used in a class posting or assignment submission do not represent the student’s original words or ideas, the student must distinguish them with quotation marks or a freestanding, indented block quotation (for a quotation of 40 or more words), followed by the appropriate citation in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. When a student copies information from a source, he or she must acknowledge the source with quotation marks or block quotes irrespective of whether or not the source has been formally published.

●   Paraphrasing statements, paragraphs, or other bodies of work without proper citation using someone else’s ideas, data, language, and/or arguments without acknowledgement.

●   Presenting work as the student’s own that has been prepared in whole or part by someone other than that particular student. This includes the purchase and/or sharing of work.

●   Failure to properly cite and reference statistics, data, or other sources of information that are used in one’s submission.

b.   Self-plagiarism, double dipping, or dovetailing  – Submission of work that has been prepared for a different course without fair citation of the original work and prior approval of faculty.

Students who submit assignments that were previously submitted in another course are subject to the same consequences they would face if they plagiarized these assignments. The use of one’s previous work in an assignment requires prior approval from the current faculty member and citation of the previous work.

c.   Fabrication  – Falsification or invention of any information, citation, data, or document.

This includes the invention or alteration of data or results, or relying on another source’s results in any assignment without proper acknowledgement of that source. Fabrication includes citing sources that the student has not actually used or consulted.

d.   Unauthorized Assistance  – Use of materials or information not authorized by the faculty member to complete an academic exercise, or the completion of an academic exercise by someone other than the student.

Students must rely upon their own abilities and refrain from obtaining assistance in any manner that faculty does not explicitly allow. This includes but is not limited to providing or receiving answers to an exam, use of faculty materials or answer keys, or a student having someone take his or her exam.

e.   Copyright infringement  – Acquisition or use of copyrighted works without appropriate legal license or permission.

f.   Misrepresentation  – Falsely representing the student’s situation to faculty when (1) justifying an absence or the need for an incomplete grade; or (2) requesting a makeup exam, a special due date, or extension of a syllabus or class deadline for submitting a course requirement.

g.   Collusion  – Helping or allowing another student to commit any act of academic dishonesty.