Becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) in Indiana means dedicating yourself to the nursing profession, including many years of education and clinical, hands-on training. Nurse practitioners in Indiana enjoy a great deal of autonomy, in most cases much more than that of their registered nurse (RN) counterparts. Of course, most NPs work in the RN role for some number of years before pursuing an advanced nursing degree.
In addition to gaining experience as an RN, aspiring nurse practitioners in Indiana must complete at minimum a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, which includes a clinical preceptorship in their specialty area, before they can be licensed and practice as NPs. Upon successfully completing an NP program, Indiana nurse practitioners can expect more autonomy than an RN, but not quite as much as NPs in some states. Indiana NPs can practice independently and act as primary care providers. They can also sign handicap placards and order physical therapy. However, they may not use prescriptive authority without an agreement with a physician, and are ineligible to sign death certificates.
Becoming a nurse practitioner in Indiana requires the completion of a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with an NP specialization. Many nurses take circuitous paths towards completing their NP credentials, but the following is the most basic path from undergraduate education to nurse practitioner licensure in Indiana.
STEP 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree (duration: 2 – 4 years)All nurse practitioners must earn an undergraduate degree at some juncture. The most expedient route to a nurse practitioner career is to earn a Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree in nursing as soon as possible. However, some NPs begin as RNs with an Associate of Science degree in nursing. Students should seek out a program that is accredited, since this can have an impact on whether or not graduates are eligible for licensure.
STEP 2: Apply for RN Licensure (duration: less than 1 year)With an undergraduate degree completed successfully, graduates can apply for RN licensure with the Indiana State Board of Nursing. This process involves: the submission of an application, an application fee of $50 (as of 2017), and a certificate of completion from an accredited nursing program; a criminal background check; and the completion of the NCLEX-RN exam (which itself costs $200). Upon successful completion of these steps, and approval from the Board, a nurse can begin work as an RN in Indiana.
STEP 3: Work as an RN (duration: Varies)Many NP programs have minimum requirements for how long a nurse must work as an RN in a given field before they are eligible for continued education in that specialty. Further, working as an RN is the best way to determine what specialty a nurse wants to pursue as an NP.
STEP 4: Earn a Graduate Degree (duration: 2 – 4 years)
Being an RN can be a wholly satisfying career, but nurses who want more autonomy and who want to further their nursing education must earn a graduate degree with an NP specialization in order to earn a nurse practitioner credential.
Nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing (approximately 2 years) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (approximately 2 years for master’s degree holders, 4 years for bachelor’s degree holders), who have completed the required clinical hours in their NP specialty area as part of their degree program, are eligible for licensing as a nurse practitioner in Indiana.
STEP 5: Apply for Advanced Practice Nurse License (duration: Less than 1 Year)Upon successful completion of both a graduate program and a professional credentialing exam, nurses in Indiana are able to apply for the Advanced Practice Nurse License from the Indiana State Board of Nursing. In Indiana, nurse practitioners must have a collaborative agreement in place with a physician in order to receive their licensure and must apply for prescriptive authority at this time. In order to maintain prescriptive authority in Indiana, NPs must complete at least thirty (30) hours of continuing education, at least eight (8) hours of which must be in pharmacology.
To apply for Indiana online NP programs, nurses should have an RN license in good standing in Indiana or a state with whom Indiana has an agreement. Further, some programs require that the nurse has worked a minimum number of hours in the specialty of their choosing before applying for an NP program in that same specialty.
The application process for online NP programs is similar to that of any graduate program. Nurses should expect to complete an application, submit a statement of purpose or essay, collect professional recommendations, and submit transcripts from their undergraduate work. None of the online NP programs in Indiana require that applicants take the GRE, but most do have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Application deadlines vary within programs, with some requiring applicants to submit materials early in the year for fall admission while others have rolling admissions throughout the year.
Accreditation is important for both online and campus based programs as it demonstrates a school’s ability to prepare students for their professional future. Recognized accreditation for an online program indicates that a program has been thoroughly assessed for its curriculum and faculty. The schools listed here have been accredited by either the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It is important to note that there is no strict accreditation requirement per the Indiana Board of Nursing in order to NPs to earn licensure.
As a Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing at USI, Mary Rock, JD, MSN, RN is offers a unique perspective to graduate nursing students. Rock not only has extensive nursing credentials but has also worked as an attorney, which gives her a fascinating and useful perspective on the intersection of nursing and the law, which she is able to carry over into her teaching.
Ball State University offers fully online RN to MSN, BSN to MSN, and post-master's certificate programs. All of these have a family nurse practitioner track. The online NP program from Ball State does not require any campus visits through the duration of the program, making it ideal for nurses who are unable to get to campus easily and require more flexibility in their education. Students must still complete all practicums required, which are completed in the student's geographic area. A general online orientation and a program-specific orientation help students become aware of the resources available to them. Ball State University does not have nursing degree authorization in some states, so students should check to make sure their state is eligible to attend.
Constance 'Connie' McIntosh, RN, BSN, MBA is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Ball State University. Her course load often includes classes such as Financial Management and Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition to her teaching and academic advisor duties, McIntosh is also a member of the Indiana State Board of Nursing.
Dr. Diana Bantz, BS, MA, PhD is an Associate Director and Associate Professor in the Nurse Practitioner program at Ball State. Dr. Bantz earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, making her highly credentialed for her teaching role, but also has her post-graduate Family Nurse Practitioner certification. Her areas of research interest include health care economics, behavioral health, family practice, and reproductive health.
The University of Southern Indiana, located in Evansville, offers a wide array of options for aspiring online nursing students. Specifically, students are able to pursue either a post-master's certificate or MSN, both of which are offered entirely online. Furthermore, nursing specialties for these programs include the following:
All of the graduate nursing programs, including the nurse practitioner degree programs, are offered online with no campus visit requirements. Students should check and ensure that the state where they live is eligible to attend.
Dr. Roxanne Beckham, DNP, RN-BC, CNE, NE-BC is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at USI, where she joined the faculty in 2012. Informatics is a core interest of hers and extends to the courses she teaches, which include Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice, Business of Nursing, Systems Leadership and Interprofessional Collaboration, and Nursing Informatics.
Susan Seibert, MSN, RN is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing at USI where her teaching and interests are focused on development of leadership in the nurse faculty role. She is also licensed as an RN in both Indiana and Illinois where she has had clinical experience as a staff nurse in neurological, surgical, and ICU settings.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis offers several MSN and post-master's certificate options, although requirements vary for each specialization as to how much is online and how much is on campus, and clinicals for some specializations must be completed in Indiana. Indiana University offers an online MSN degree with distance-based options for adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist, pediatric clinical nurse specialist, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner - lifespan. These degrees require 5 on-campus days for the Advanced Physical Assessment course. All other coursework is online with some synchronous classes that can be attended via videoconferencing technology. In addition, it is important to note that all clinicals for the MSN degrees must be completed in Indiana. Indiana University also offers MSN tracks that are hybrid including family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and pediatric nurse practitioner - primary care. For these degree paths, clinical courses involve campus attendance several times through out the course or up to once a week. In addition post-graduate certificates are available in all NP and CNS tracks, however the online component of these degrees is not clear. Interested students should contact the admissions department of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Dr. Janet S. Carpenter, PhD, RN, FAAN is Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship as well as Distinguished Professor and Co-Director of Training in Behavioral Nursing Research at IUPUI. Dr. Carpenter's research interests lie in oncology and women's health, particularly the measurement, mechanisms, and management of menopausal symptoms in cancer survivors and midlife women without cancer.
Dr. Meg Moorman, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Community & Health Systems at IUPUI where she has taught courses in obstetrics, women's health, community health, and nursing education. Dr. Moorman's research has focused on nursing education, in particular using arts and the humanities to teach both nursing and medical students.
At Indiana State University in Terre Haute, students have the option of completing either an MSN or a post-master's certificate, both of which include a family nurse practitioner specialty. Unlike a number of other degrees at different schools, these programs are offered 100 percent online. Students must complete clinical practicums in addition to online coursework. The program begins in the Fall and Spring and students are responsible for securing their own preceptors. It should be noted that students from certain states are not eligible to participate in these nurse practitioner programs through Indiana State University.
Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, offers a hybrid MSN degree and a hybrid post-master's certificate, both of which include a family nurse practitioner specialty and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specialty. These programs require one full class on campus, therefore they are best suited for students living in the Marion, IN area. In addition students must attend a certain number of workshops and/or residencies depending on the degree path they choose. All other coursework is online, and practicums are required.
Purdue University Northwest, located in Hammond, offers an MSN with specializations as a family nurse practitioner or adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist. Students can also pursue a post-master's certificate in adult-gerontology clinical nursing. The programs are almost completely online with one campus visit required during the advanced health assessment course. Note that this course may be waived if the student has taken an equivalent course at Purdue University Northwest or another accredited institution in the 5 years previous to application. Practicums are completed in the student's own geographical area. The program is ACEN-accredited and students will be eligible to take the appropriate certification exams.
Marquette University, in partnership with St. Vincent in Indianapolis, offers an online MSN degree with a specialization in adult-older adult acute care nursing. This program is part-time and lasts for 38 months. It is designed for current RN's to continue working while they pursue a degree. The program includes online courses, paired with an immersive preceptorship at St. Vincent. Upon earning an MSN, graduates of this program employed with St. Vincent Health for a period of at least three years after graduation, may participate in St. Vincent's tuition reimbursement program, providing an incentive for those applicants who want to reduce graduate degree expenses. Currently, St. Vincent is one of the largest employers in Indiana, with 14,000 associates and 2,500 physicians working throughout the state.
Purdue University Global - Indianapolis offers an online MSN degree with specializations as an adult gerontology acute care NP, family NP, and adult gerontology primary care NP. In addition two post-master's certificates are offered: adult gerontology primary care and family nurse practitioner primary care. These programs are 100% online and only the adult gerontology acute care MSN concentration requires one, 2.5 day intensive on the campus in Indianapolis. Clinicals must be completed at an approved facility. Please note that students from the following states are not allowed to enroll at Purdue Global: Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia.
Online nursing programs do not uniformly report campus visitation requirements. In fact, campus visitation requirements can change from year to year as programs, faculty, and courses offered shift. Before applying to any program, prospective students should be sure to clarify what their campus visit commitment is with their program of their choice.
In the table below, readers can get a general idea of how often they would be expected to visit campus. Note that where the word "limited" is used, there is no readily available exact data about how many campus visits are required.
Before nurse practitioners are able to work independently (or in the case of Indiana, with a collaborative agreement), they must complete hands-on clinical training in the way of a preceptorship. The preceptorship involves the NP students working under the supervision of a licensed nurse practitioner in his or her chosen specialty. Students should expect to locate and come to agreement with a preceptorship independently of their school, although most schools do maintain a database of preceptors and programs that have worked with their students in the past.
As mentioned, Indiana nurse practitioners do not currently enjoy quite as much autonomy as NPs in some states, most notably in the sense that they may not use prescriptive authority without a collaborative agreement with a physician. That said, Indiana NPs can practice independently and act as primary care providers.