Jul 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Post-Master’s Certificates in Nursing

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In addition to the Master’s Degree Program, certificate programs for nurses with master’s degrees in nursing are available to qualified applicants for Family Nursing, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, and Nursing Education. Applicants to post-master’s certificate programs are reminded that, in light of rapidly changing criteria for certification, it is the student’s responsibility to determine which courses taken at Rivier University may qualify them to take national certifying examinations.

All tracks, including the Post-Master’s certificate option, meet role expectations and follow established professional standards, curriculum guidelines, and advanced nursing competencies as delineated in The Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Competencies, the NLN Nurse Educator Competencies, the Association of Nurse Educators (ACNE)  and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Core Competencies for Nurse Practitioners. The students have sufficient didactic and clinical experiences to meet role expectation and certification requirements. The learning activities, instructional materials and evaluation methods are appropriate for the delivery format and consistent with student learning outcomes.

State-of-the-art nursing skills and simulation laboratories are equipped with a wide array of patient-care equipment, manikins and interactive learning systems.

*Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400
Atlanta, Georgia, 30326
(404) 975-5000

Program Entry Paths

  1. Post-Master’s certificate programs offer a variety of individualized program options to qualified applicants. Post-Master’s Certificate programs in nursing vary in content and length of study based on individual needs. For information on these programs, contact the Division of Nursing and Health Professions.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing should follow the general guidelines listed in the Admission Process section of this catalog. In addition, applicants must meet the following specific requirements: 

  • Complete the “course of study choice” form
  • Sign the clinical practicum form
  • Provide a copy of RN license for state where practicum will be completed (and NH is required)
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Provide a “Statement of Purpose ” outlining goals
  • Provide one letter of recommendation
  • Provide evidence of an undergraduate statistics course 

Once all above documents have been received, the application will be reviewed for eligibility (minimum GPA of 3.0, nursing experience and quality of application).

Student Learning Outcomes

The graduate faculty use Benner’s (1984) framework as modified by Brykcznski (1985) as set forth in the curriculum guidelines published by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). These modifications reflect advanced nursing practice by replacing the Diagnostic and Monitoring Function and Administering and Monitoring Therapeutic Interventions and Regimens with a single domain of Management of Patient Health/Illness in Ambulatory Care Settings. Graduates of the Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner tracks are qualified to sit for the certification exams in their respective areas. 

Additionally, the graduate faculty acknowledge the importance of Knowles (2005) framework in that the adult learner is more of an independent, self-directed learner who has accumulated a growing reservoir of previous experience that serves as a rich resource for learning. In addition, as Knowles identifies, the perspective of time changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to one of immediate application; there is a shift in orientation of learning to being problem centered rather than subject centered. Graduates of the Master of Science Degree Program in Nursing are prepared to function as advanced practice nurses in various settings. Graduates of the Nurse Educator track are qualified to sit for the National League for Nursing Certification Exam (CNE) once the teaching requirements are complete.
Post-Master’s Certificate graduates should be able to:

  • Analyze multiple dimensions of patient centered care including patient/family/community preferences and values, as well as social, cultural, ethical, psychological and spiritual context.
  • Analyze potential and actual impact of national patient safety resources, initiatives and regulations on systems and practice.  Monitor self, peers and delivery system through Quality Assurance and Total Quality Management at part of continuous Quality Improvement.
  • Evaluate/apply research findings and results appropriately in nursing, i.e. practice, education, theory, research.
  • Utilize patient care technologies to deliver and enhance care and communication technologies to integrate and coordinate care.
  • Develop inter- and intra-collaborative relationships with professionals in other disciples to improve health care systems.
  • Advocate for health policy change in establishing performance measures and standards related to quality principles within health care systems.


Rivier has an ongoing assessment process. Program Learning Outcomes are clearly defined at the program level and the difference between course and program assessment is clear   Learning Outcomes assessment refers to direct and indirect measures of student learning. This is different from the measure of individual student performance to evaluate the student. Instead, student learning assessment consists of collecting data on student learning in the aggregate to determine how effective the programs and courses are. The DON uses a number of direct measures of student learning in their various programs, to include course quizzes and examinations; standardized exams, such as the HESI; portfolios; pre- and post-tests; writing samples; presentations; demonstrations and evaluations of clinical and preceptorship performances, to provide formative assessment data. Other measures, such as student surveys and course evaluations, offer indirect measures that can support direct measures. 

Student learning is assessed at the completion of the program to provide summative data by which to determine the effectiveness of the program. Program level outcomes are not just an accumulation of course learning outcomes. Rather, they reflect a synthesis, or a holistic picture, of what is expected of students completing the nursing program. National certification pass rates, student exit interviews, alumni and employer satisfaction and program completion rates all provide a wealth of data, and demonstrate that Division of Nursing and Health Professions programs provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality nursing care in this complex and dynamic health care arena.

Progression/Retention Requirements (matriculated and non-matriculated students)

Graduate level study in nursing requires high academic standards. It is the responsibility of the program to assure the public of the competence of its graduates in advanced nursing roles.

  • Students are required to achieve no grade less than a B in any individual course and to maintain no less than a B (3.0) grade point average throughout the graduate program.
  • If a student earns one grade lower than B, the student will be placed on academic probation for the following semester.
  • If the single grade lower than B reduces the student’s grade point average to less than 3.0, the student must re-establish a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 by the end of the probationary semester.



  • A single grade of F will result in the student being dismissed from the program regardless of grade point average.
  • A second course grade lower than B will result in the student being dismissed from the program, regardless of grade point average.

Additional Requirements/Information

  • Students may take three courses (9 credits) from a list of specified courses prior to matriculating.
  • Students must follow their Program of Studies when registering for courses. If students wish to make a change to their Program of Studies, they must request the change in writing to the Graduate Nursing Education Program Director.
  • Students must complete clinical/practicum requirements four months prior to practicum courses.
  • Part-time study options are available for both degree and certificate programs.  

The program of studies for Post-Master’s Certificates vary depending upon the track desired (FNP, PMHNP, or NE) and the applicant’s prior Master’s in Nursing preparation. Clinical specialty preparation will be reviewed as part of the application process and used by faculty in developing the individualized program of study. Applicants who do not have clinical work in their master’s program will be required to take additional coursework. The average completion time for the certificates is three semesters. 

Post Master’s FNP and PMHNP and NE applicants must document successful completion of a graduate level course in Advanced Pharmacology (3-credit equivalent) less than five (5) years prior to application to the certificate program. Waiver is considered for experienced, practicing nurse practitioners.  In addition, FNP, PMHNP, and NE Post-Master’s applicants must document successful completion of a graduate level course in Advanced Pathophysiology (3-credit equivalent) less than 10 years prior to application to the certificate program, and completion of a graduate-level Advanced Health Assessment course. Waivers for practicing NPs will be considered.


Family Nurse Practitioner Track

Students will be required, minimally, to take the following courses:

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track

Students will be required, minimally, to take the following courses:

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