School of Nursing

Family Nurse Practitioner FAQs

Tell me about the faculty.

We recognize that the faculty makes a program and its learners succeed. We are proud to say that we have experienced FNPs-educators-scientists on our faculty who work hard to ensure your training prepares you well for the challenges and rewards inherent in being an FNP. Our faculty use innovative teaching strategies to engage you actively in your learning, including through simulation and interprofessional education

What is the faculty-to-student ratio? Do the faculty have recent clinical experience?

We currently have seven faculty members dedicated to the FNP program, all experienced and board-certified; the majority divide their time between clinical practice and teaching. With a class size between 22 and 28 students, that ratio ensures you and your faculty will get to know each other well. You are not just a number here.

Tell me about what to expect in terms of clinical experience as an FNP student; Do I need to find my own preceptors when I start to train in the clinical sites? Where are clinical sites?

We know getting qualified preceptors is one of the most difficult parts of nurse practitioner training. Fortunately, our team includes a full-time clinical coordinator who works closely with the faculty to get our learners the training they need to become qualified and effective FNPs. We assess the students' clinical experience throughout the quarter and determine their learning needs. Then, we work to find a clinical site that will address those clinical learning needs.

Clinical sites include private offices, nurse practitioner-owned practices, large health institutions, migrant and Indian Health Centers, and county health departments. They are typically located within 15-60 minutes of the student’s regional campus; rarely, a maximum travel of two hours to the clinical site may be required.

How do your students do on their board certification exams? Finding employment after graduation?

For the last six years, we have had a 100% first-time pass rate for national board certification exams. Employers and preceptors alike indicate a preference for hiring or working with OHSU FNP students/new graduates, often citing their level of preparation and professionalism as the reason.  

What does Distance Education Delivery for FNP mean?

Distance students are accepted in one of the four regional campuses. Travel to their regional campus varies according to term and specialty program; some terms require no travel and others may require up to biweekly visits. Travel is minimized during winter term. Attendance of intensive sessions often incorporate hands-on skills training (i.e. simulation, medical procedures) are on the Portland campus approximately once per term, usually a maximum of three days. Our commitment to transparency and communication about delivery methods and required travel includes having schedules available three months in advance.

All courses are anchored in our online learning management system (Sakai). Faculty employ a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning methods throughout the program. 

  • Synchronous Learning: Takes place with all students present at the same time. 
    • Face-to-face:  
      • Intensives: These sessions are face-to-face meetings with students and faculty in Portland approximately once per term (e.g., motivational interviewing, unconscious bias awareness).  
      • Simulation: These sessions are for learning/practicing skills (e.g., hands-on procedures workshops, physical exams). 
      • Evaluation: These sessions are for testing and assessment.
    • Videoconferencing 
      • Real-time attendance and participation from any location via web-based programs 
  • Asynchronous Learning:  Students log on to Sakai regularly to complete content modules, take quizzes or exams, participate in online class discussions, submit assignments, or other similar activities.  

Do most students work during the FNP program?

Occasionally, students who work part-time may be able to work during the program, usually a maximum of 8-16 hours/weekend. We do find that overextension has been the #1 reason students have struggled in courses. Once clinical requirements increase, fewer work hours are possible. You will get 1,000 clinical hours in addition to comprehensive didactic content requiring ~40 hours/week of studying. This doesn’t leave much time for self-care and work outside of school. Consider that this is the only time you will have to submerge yourself in this level of clinical education, moving towards becoming a competent Family Nurse Practitioner capable of effectively managing acute and chronic health needs of those 2 days old, 90 years old, and everyone in between.

When are the courses and clinical experiences offered?

Courses and clinical experiences are generally day time hours Monday through Friday, with minimal evening lab and clinical times. The faculty strive to cluster classes 1 or 2 days/week (usually Tuesday and/or Wednesday) to allow greater access to clinical opportunities.
Towards the latter part of your training, we have a rural-immersion clinical experience which is coordinated with the others health-care professional (HCP) schools at OHSU. Students from dentistry, pharmacy, and/or medicine will be living and working in the same rural community with you du
ring this 4 week rotation culminating in an interprofessional, community-based, quality improvement project.  Students are provided housing at their rural site and work 40-50 hours a week; they report this as being one of the most rewarding components of their overall clinical experience.

Is financial aid available?

The OHSU Office of Financial Aid assists students in locating scholarships and loans to cover educational expenses. Nurse Practitioner students are eligible for federal traineeships. Preference is given to students who matriculate full-time. A Web site with helpful financial aid information and links to scholarship and aid search engines is For specific information about scholarships and financial aid offered at OHSU, visit the OHSU financial aid page and click on “Financial Aid”. Or, call the OHSU Registrar and Financial Aid office at (503)494-7800 or (800)775-5460. All students are encouraged to complete financial aid applications regardless of income, as some scholarships are not need-based.