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Family Practice Nursing Education Program

FPNP The Family Practice Nursing Education Program (FPNEP) is designed to prepare registered nurses to work in primary health care settings. The program is ten months in length, taking into consideration that many RNs enrolling into the course will have competing work and personal commitments. The program uses a competency-based methodology to achieve its performance–based certification. 

Shifting from a focus of presenting learners with an abundance of theoretical content, the FPNEP has adopted a conceptual learning approach that organizes knowledge and skills into concepts that are illustrated using real-life patient situations. Learners study a concept, actively apply the concept to a patient scenario, and then learn a new concept. Each concept is then integrated with others so, by the end of a program, graduates can apply all concepts to various patient populations in a variety of primary health care settings. This is an active, learner-centered approach that fosters critical thinking and a deeper understanding of clinical knowledge by building on previous knowledge. In turn, learners are better prepared to meet the dynamic and complex needs of patients in family practice settings

The FPNEP utilizes active learning strategies to engage learners in applying course concepts to real life situations. The online lessons include instructional activities that focus on the essential points that facilitate application to the family practice setting. These also act as a tool for self-assessment and reflection to help the learner identify areas of strength and those requiring further development. Interactive opportunities, including group discussions, small group work, skill labs, simulation exercises and faculty consultation are provided to enhance learners’ knowledge and skill development.

Assignments and online quizzes will be used to assess learners' knowledge.

Learners complete 160 hours of integrated clinical practice which provides the opportunity for the consolidation of learning and development of competence in family practice nursing. Prior to participating in this clinical experience, learners must be employed by the primary health care setting where the clinical will occur. If the learner is not employed in the primary care setting prior approval will be required. The clinical experience will be facilitated by faculty and a preceptor. 

Benefits for the Patients and Primary Health Care Setting

  • Patients will receive more time for education, guidance and counseling, enhanced chronic disease management, stronger promotion of healthy lifestyle behavior, as well as more comprehensive health records.
  • Improved health care delivered to more patients in a cost-effective manner.
  • Provides more time for preventative care.
  • Improved access for patients.
  • Ability to accommodate additional urgent-care patients.
  • More support for complex and time-consuming patients.
  • Peer support.
  • Enhanced work-life satisfaction.

Requirements for the FPNEP Program

  • An active-practicing RN license with the CRNNS.
  • Support by an employer to attain the competencies to practice to optimal scope as a FPN. Support must include access to a primary care site to complete clinical experience.
  • Access/training in electronic medical records (EMR) if used in current practice setting.
  • Current Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search may be required prior to clinical.
  • Current immunization may be required prior to clinical.
  • Registered nurses in any of RNPDC programs which have clinical components require active BLS(c) for HCP.  The course can be readily obtained from St. John Ambulance or Heart and Stroke of Nova Scotia. RNPDC requires a copy of your active card on file.

Part-time study:  March 4, 2019 - December 6, 2019; Program in Session

                                 September 3, 2019 - June 2020; Program in Session

Registrations will be considered for nurses supported by a Primary Health Care employer to participate in the FPNEP.

Contact Information

Program Admin: Dee Mason   Dee.Mason@nshealth.ca

Program Costs

Academic Fees (for payment options, click here):

Course materials: $200.00
Tuition: $400.00

Additional Expenses:
Textbooks (approximately): $136.00

(available at the Dalhousie University Bookstore or online from bookstores such as Amazon.ca)

Diabetes Canada. (2018). Clinical practice guidelines: Quick reference guide. 

The guide can be purchased at