Columbus State Partners with Georgia Southwestern to Offer New Family Nurse Practitioner Degree

Nursing_Students_2014_600x400COLUMBUS, Ga. — After winning approval from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Columbus State University, in collaboration with Georgia Southwestern State University, will begin a new online master’s degree program in January to train nurse practitioners.

The regents Wednesday officially endorsed the establishment of the new Master of Science in Nursing with a major in family nurse practitioner.

Cheryl Smith, director of Columbus State’s School of Nursing, said the schools will begin accepting applications almost immediately for the new program. She said she expects the family nurse practitioner degree to be quite popular since it will help address the primary health care shortage in Georgia.

“In more and more communities, the family nurse practitioner is the primary health care provider,” she said. “We developed this program after hearing from health organizations throughout Southeast about the type of education that is most needed today. We are excited to add this to our other master’s degree options.”

The new master’s program will be offered fully online by Columbus State University and Georgia Southwestern State University through Georgia on My Line, and complements the three existing tracks in the Master of Science in Nursing program: nurse educator, nurse leader, and informatics.

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program consists of a total of 44 semester hours, all online. It also requires 765 clinical hours, which will be completed in facilities and with preceptors that have been approved by the FNP Program Coordinators from Columbus State University and Georgia Southwestern State University. The clinical sites will be located as close to the student’s geographic residence or local community as possible.

“As we have done with our RN to BSN degree, we are trying to make this program as convenient as possible for our students,” Smith said, adding that the all curriculum and plans must meet the requirements of the school’s national accrediting organization: the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

For more information about the new Family Nurse Practitioner degree, please contact Aimee Vael at or Melissa Young at 706-507-8563 or