Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I have to be a nurse to enter this specialty?

No. You can enter this dual focus specialty as a BNS or MSN or if you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing. If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing, you can complete a one year full-time baccalaureate equivalent program (PreSpecialty Year - Clinical Experiences), and then progress to the dual specialty. If you have a BSN, you enter directly into the specialty course work. All students, regardless of entry type, graduate with an MSN.


Do I need RN work experience?

No. You can enter the specialty without RN work experience.


How many students are accepted into this specialty each year?

We encourage you to apply to the specialty that meets your career interest rather than focus on the number of spaces available. We strongly recommended that you complete your application by the October 15th early action date to have a greater probability of being admitted. The number of students offered admission can vary each year based on many factors.


Will applicant interviews be scheduled?

Nurse-midwifery will not be conducting telephone interviews as part of the admission process for students applying for Fall 2020. Following the October 15 priority review deadline, Fall 2020 applicants will receive an e-mail via REDCap that contains a link to our Webinar and a few questions for applicants to answer.


Can I take the specialty via the modified distance learning format?

Your Family Nurse Practitioner classes will be taught via modified distance learning; your Nurse-Midwifery courses will require you to be on campus. Your clinical rotations and sites will change – some may be in Middle Tennessee or your home town, while others may be in other states.


What is the modified distance learning format?

Modified distance learning specifically means that you will do a portion of your course work online via taped lectures and web conferencing to integrate the material. A portion of your work requires on-campus learning in blocks of time (including weekends), followed by seminar and online discussions. Where possible, you can do your clinical practicum experience in your home area. You will be in continuous contact with your professors throughout the program and in between sessions.


What is the hybrid format?

The hybrid format uses some components of a distance format, and other components of a face-to-face format. Nurse-midwifery students are required to live in the Nashville area for the first two semesters of the specialty year (Fall and Spring), as face-to-face classes are held on campus weekly. Once students get to the summer semester of the Nurse-Midwifery specialty, their clinical site may be in Middle Tennessee or in another state. After the initial month on campus in the summer, students may or may not keep their Nashville homes/apartments, depending on where their clinical site is located. Similarly for the final fall semester in Nurse-Midwifery, students may or may not keep their Nashville homes/apartments depending on where their final clinical rotations are located. Nurse-Midwifery coursework in the final two semesters (the second summer and second fall), is a mixture of face-to-face classes and online learning formats.


Can I take this specialty part-time?

Yes, however you are required to follow a pre-determined specialty of studies. (curriculum plans)


What are the clinical requirements for this specialty?

There are 1365 clinical hours required.


How do you match me with a clinical preceptor?

The key to a student’s success in the distance format is a clinical placement with a qualified preceptor who is supporting and willing to mentor the student. We view clinical placements as a required and integral part of your education. Faculty work diligently to match you with appropriate preceptors so you can learn from clinical mentors and start applying your new skills and knowledge. We make every reasonable effort to accommodate a student’s placement request. Your specialty director will provide more information to assist you.


What will my credentials and certifications be?

Graduation from this MSN specialty prepares you to take the national certification exams, offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, for the FNP portion of your credentials, and the American Midwifery Certification Board, for the CNM portion of your credential. Passage of both exams is required in most states to obtain a license as an advanced practice nurse.


What is the VUSN student pass rate on the certification exams?

Everyone will be well prepared for the certification exams as our students typically score well above national averages on these exams. More Info >

Will I be able to get a job upon graduation?

Your wide scope of practice will allow you a lot of career flexibility.  Our students are quickly employed after graduation in hospitals, private practices and community clinics. Some of our graduates start their own practices while others pursue service in rural settings or even in the global health arena.


Can I get a DNP Degree? 

Yes!  Our MSN   program is designed for you to seamlessly transition to our DNP program. After successful completion of one semester of the NM curriculum, you complete an abbreviated application to indicate your interest in progressing to the DNP program; no additional application fee is required. You can either progress directly into the DNP program, or you can take a gap year to work as a CNM before starting the DNP program. The advantage of earning the MSN degree before the DNP degree is that you will be able to work as a CNM during your DNP program. The DNP program is designed for APRNs who are working full or part time. See DNP program details at