Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty

The UCLA FNP Program – "One of the Nation's Strongest"

In the late 1980s, Dr. Mary Ann Lewis and two other nurses testified before the California Legislature asking that nursing programs that were preparing family nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners and gero clinical nurse specialists be able to compete for Song Brown funds that, at the time, only supported family practice residency programs.  The legislature agreed about FNPs, and the Song Brown funds have made it possible for the school to update the FNP curriculum with the latest technology and thinking to provide quality primary care for persons across the life span. 

“This funding has made the UCLA FNP program one of the strongest in the nation,” said Lewis.  “It provided us with the opportunity to think about what would strengthen the theory and clinical components and then implement those elements,” 

In 2014, the California Endowment provided additional funding for FNPs to work in three of their 14 Health Communities.  Known as the “Song Brown Special program,” the school received funding to allow five students to work in clinics caring for the poorest and underserved.  The students worked in provided primary care for patients across the life span.  By the end of the year, all five received job offers to continue with the clinic.  This outstanding performance during the demonstration year led to the school being the only training program in the state (19 applied, 6 were funded) to receive full funding for 2015-16.   Thirteen students will participate in this year’s training program with a strong effort on interprofessional education and underrepresented minorities. 




The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is a Registered Nurse educated at the Master's level as a nurse practitioner. The focus of care for the FNP is children and adults of all ages, in the context of the family unit. The FNP is educated to provide high quality, continual and comprehensive wellness and illness care to children and adults by providing preventive health services, patient education, disease management and illness prevention. The FNP is prepared to implement evidence-based practice guidelines and to critically analyze and adapt health care interventions based on individualized assessments of individual/family needs. The FNP practices in the context of community, with broad knowledge, sensitivity and awareness of the specific needs of people from diverse populations and cultural backgrounds. Family nurse practitioners practice primarily in ambulatory care settings.

At UCLA School of Nursing, the FNP program has a long tradition of preparing nurse practitioners to work with underserved and vulnerable populations. Upon graduation many FNPs practice in settings that provide free or low cost health care to uninsured families.

Education: Master of Science in Nursing


  • Eligible for the American Nurses' Credentialing Center's certification exam as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Eligible for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner's certification exam as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Eligible for prescriptive authority in all 50 states with restrictions as specified by each state (called furnishing in California)

Types of Care provided by the Family Nurse Practitioner:

  • Episodic care for acute conditions for all ages, including minor acute injuries and illnesses
  • Management of chronic conditions such as HTN, diabetes, asthma
  • Monitoring and case management/consultation of more acute conditions such as cardiac diseases and neuromuscular conditions
  • Family assessments and interventions
  • Preconception, prenatal and postpartum care
  • Well-woman primary care, including family planning and illness care
  • Well-child primary and illness care
  • Culturally sensitive health promotion interventions

Advanced Practice Nurses also perform these general functions:

  • Obtain health histories and perform comprehensive physical examinations, including psychosocial, functional, and developmental assessment
  • Order and interpret lab results and other diagnostic studies
  • Develop differential diagnoses
  • Develop/order therapeutic plan of care including prescription medications
  • Maintain patient records
  • Evaluate patient's response to plan of care and modify as needed
  • Provide patient/family counseling and education
  • Arrange for patient referrals/consultations
  • Participate in research studies
  • Collaborate with other health team members


The two-year program (3 quarters per year) consists of theory and clinical practica courses designed to prepare FNPs to meet the health care needs of our changing population. Courses meet the criteria designated by state and national accreditation bodies and professional organizations including California Board of Registered Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing and National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty.

Core Courses: Research (N 204) Pathophysiology for Advanced practice Nurses (N 231) Professional Issues (N 264) Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses (N 224) Biobehavioral Foundations of Health Assessment (N 200) Assessment and Management in Adult Healthcare I, II, and III (N 239 A-C)

Clinical Lab and Practica Courses: Advanced Assessment and Clinical Diagnosis (N 440) Advanced Practice Clinical Practicum (N 429 A-E)

FNP Specialty Courses: Family Theory (N 212) Primary Care of Children (N 236) Women's Health Care During Reproductive Years (N 211)

Theory Elective(s): 4 units required. N 209 Human Diversity in Health and Illness and N249 Underserved Populations highly recommended.

Clinical Elective: N 450 optional additional clinical hours by arrangement with individual faculty during summer months.

Comprehensive Examination -completed during last academic quarter

Sample Full Time Curriculum Course Sequences

Fall 2019 Family Nurse Practitioner