Nursing@Simmons Curriculum Components

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a versatile degree. As a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), you will work with patients across the life span providing primary care in a broad range of settings, or you can select an area of specialization, often in the area of expertise you practiced as an RN.

The Nursing@Simmons curriculum focuses on helping you incorporate evidence-based Nurse Practitioner skills and develop a strong background in conducting research. Both help set the stage for the clinical portion of the program where you will put your foundational and research skills into practice.

Prerequisite Skills:
Knowing the Fundamentals

To be a successful Nursing@Simmons student, you should already have experience and knowledge in the following areas prior to beginning the program:

Microbiology and biology, 
Anatomy and physiology, 

Interpreting quantitative research

Fundamentals of nursing, 
Human health and function, 
Patient assessment

Time management and organization, 

Mastering the foundational, research, and clinical components that make up the Nursing@Simmons curriculum requires a high level of organization and dedication. Each course becomes a building block for the intuitive care of patients throughout the life span. The program’s courses will build upon each other so that you can synthesize the information you have learned and continue enhancing your skills as a developing FNP.

Nurse Practitioner Knowledge Base:
Building the Foundation

As a Nursing@Simmons student, you will gain a thorough understanding of primary care issues across the life span through case study analysis.

Foundational courses:

  • Focus on pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment
  • Help you critically think and act like an advanced practice nurse
  • Teach you which medications to prescribe and why
  • Require knowledge of basic anatomy and physiology
  • Include a live physical assessment for you to demonstrate your skills

View the foundational Nursing@Simmons courses.



Critique and Analysis:
Developing the Research Project

In addition to building foundational knowledge, you will work on a scholarly research project that will teach you how to conduct qualitative and quantitative research. The research component of the program fosters your ability to translate critical thinking by having you critique qualitative and quantitative interdisciplinary studies. This will help you to better answer questions from patients. You can select to do one of the following for your project:

  • A quality improvement proposal
  • A critique of existing medical literature
  • Your own research, approved by the Simmons Institutional Review Board (IRB)

At the beginning of the term, you will start looking for journals that may be interested in publishing your research and findings. Your instructor will be instrumental in assisting you, or your group, in this process, as the faculty in these courses have extensive experience in conducting and publishing research. This research project provides a great opportunity to network, and it sets Simmons’s FNP program apart from other programs that have discontinued this key component.

View the Nursing@Simmons research-related courses.


Clinical Practice:
Providing Primary Care

The clinical courses help you think and perform as an FNP. During clinical rotations, you will practice the skills you have learned throughout the foundational and research courses while providing acute and chronic care across diverse populations.

Developmentally, you will begin as a novice FNP working side-by-side with your preceptor and faculty. Ultimately, you will be able to independently obtain a patient history, perform a physical assessment, and diagnose your patients in the clinical setting.

In addition to learning to conduct a head-to-toe physical examination, you will:

  • Advance your knowledge of prescribing medications
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Become familiar with diagnosing acute and chronic illnesses
  • Turn to resources to develop plans and follow-ups for patients
  • Understand the synthesis of various medications

View the Nursing@Simmons clinical courses.