The School of Nursing graduate program (M.S.N., M.S., Ph.D., and B.S.–Ph.D.) provides advanced study in human health and development throughout the life span and in nursing's role in providing health services to individuals, families, and communities. The program emphasizes the development of nursing knowledge and the transition of knowledge into practice.
School of Nursing Mission
The focus of master’s education in nursing is to prepare a nursing scholar for an advanced nursing practice role such as nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, nurse administrator, or doctoral study candidate. Master’s degree specialists serve individuals, families, and aggregate groups within diverse populations and settings.
The focus of doctoral education in nursing is to develop nurse scientists who are expert clinical scholars able to provide leadership in nursing practice, research, and education.
Graduate education in nursing is characterized by a philosophy of expanding ideas and emphasis on knowledge development in nursing and health care. The primary goal of graduate nursing education is the development, transmission, and organization of nursing knowledge and the translation of that knowledge into practice in order to promote the health of individuals, families, and communities throughout society. The graduate nursing programs are an integral part of the Graduate School and graduate education at Penn State.
Nursing Graduate Program Course Offerings
Graduate Program Funding
Advanced Education Nursing Grant (AEN)
The Nurse Practitioner program was extended to two additional Penn State campuses, Mont Alto and Worthington Scranton, in fall 2011. This expansion to rural medically underserved communities in Pennsylvania was facilitated by a three-year, $684,000 Advanced Education Nursing Grant received by Dr. Judith Hupcey from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The purpose of this project is to provide advanced education to nurses at the master’s level to assume roles as primary care providers (nurse practitioners [NPs]) in rural medically underserved settings by expanding Penn State School of Nursing’s present NP program to two additional Penn State campuses that serve these communities in Pennsylvania.
The specific objectives were to expand the Nurse Practitioner option from its present four sites—University Park, Hershey Medical Center, Fayette, and Altoona—to two Penn State campuses (Worthington Scranton and Mont Alto) that serve both students and Pennsylvanians in rural, medically underserved communities. This is a natural extension of an already well-established distance-learning program that will educate bachelor’s-prepared registered nurses to assume an advanced practice role as a nurse practitioner in the rural, medically underserved communities in which they live. Through a combination of live interactive television, fully online courses, and a blended delivery approach offered at a local Penn State campus, with School of Nursing NP faculty from those campuses as recruiters, facilitators, and preceptors, students will have all the resources and support of the Penn State system with limited travel.
Extend the nurse practitioner program to two additional Penn State campuses, Penn State Worthington Scranton and Penn State Mont Alto, both of which serve rural, medically underserved communities.
Expand the use of technology including:
- Upgrading existing interactive television facilities
- Adding Mediasite, which allows students to join a class live from any location and the ability to archive classes for future viewing
- Redesigning courses for a blended delivery approach that includes more online (asynchronous) content intermixed with live (synchronous) content
Dr. Judith Hupcey, Ed.D., CRNP, FAAN
Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Dr. Patricia Sweeney, Ph.D., CRNP, FNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner Options Coordinator
Ms. Carranda Barkdoll, M.S., CRNP, FNP-BC
Campus Coordinator, Penn State Mont Alto
Ms. Casey Pinto, M.S., CRNP, FNP-BC
Hershey Medical Center
Ms. Emily Swanger
Hershey Medical Center
Advanced Nursing Education Expansion Grant (ANEE)
Full-time nurse practitioner students who plan to work in rural, medically underserved communities or health provider shortage areas (HPSAs) are eligible to apply for full tuition and a stipend to cover expenses for their two-year Nurse Practitioner education at Penn State. A five-year, $1,335,840 Advanced Nursing Education Expansion Grant received by Dr. Judith Hupcey and Dr. Patricia Sweeney from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will allow approximately 30 students to receive this award.
The overall purposes of this funding are to (1) increase the number of students enrolled full time in Penn State’s AGPCNP and FNP programs by 10 percent annually over a period of five years; (2) accelerate graduation of part-time students in the ANP and FNP programs by encouraging full-time enrollment for an additional 20 percent of students; (3) increase the number of AGPCNP and FNPs who serve the rural and medically underserved population of Pennsylvania; and (4) maintain quality education for AGPCNP and FNP students at Penn State.
Our goal is to focus on students who live and work in rural and underserved areas of Pennsylvania and/or plan to work in medically underserved areas or HPSAs after graduation. The main targeted students for this funding are students located at Penn State campuses that serve rural and medically underserved areas. Thus, in addition to students at Penn State’s University Park and Hershey campuses, we plan to focus on students at the Fayette campus, Uniontown, Pa.; Mont Alto campus, Mont Alto, Pa.; and Worthington Scranton campus, Dunmore, Pa. Information about this funding was distributed to all students when they were admitted to the program. They also received a financial aid/scholarship form to complete if they were interested in receiving funding.
Students interested in funding were asked to complete a financial aid/scholarship form and a FAFSA form, commit to being a full-time student during the four-semester program, agree to release their employment status to the School of Nursing for five years postgraduation, and submit a long-term employment goal statement. Using this information in addition to their undergraduate transcripts, a committee consisting of graduate faculty from the Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist programs and the associate dean for graduate education determines which students will receive funding.
Advanced Nursing Education Traineeship (AENT)
The School of Nursing's graduate program received $700,000 from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the 2012–2014 academic years to support master's degree primary care nurse practitioner students at the Fayette, Hershey, Mont Alto, University Park, and Worthington Scranton campuses.
AENT monies will help us support students who plan to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) or practice settings that substantially benefit rural and medically underserved populations. Employment settings of all students receiving funding will be tracked for five years postgraduation to document the impact of this funding on Pennsylvania residents.