Nurse practitioner (NP)
Holy Cross does not offer a pathway for a student to graduate and become a registered nurse without earning an additional degree or training elsewhere. However, many students apply to graduate nursing programs to gain a master's degree or doctorate in nursing and earn a nurse practitioner's (NP or DNP) license after graduating from Holy Cross. These programs are typically called "graduate entry", "direct entry" and are usually "accelerated." The typical program is 2-3 years of training, where the first year consists of basic nursing courses, culmiating in taking the NCLEX RN certification exam. The following years are rotations and specialty training. DNP programs are typically at least a year or two longer than master's programs.
Direct entry graduate nursing programs vary very widely in prerequisites and other requirements, so it is important to research requirements of individual schools. While the science course requirements are similar to other health professional schools, most do not require physics or a second semester of organic or general chemistry, most do not require physics, some do not require a second semester of introduction to biology, but most do require coursework in human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, social sciences and statistics. Some hava additional requirements in courses like pathophysiology. Students may need to take some coursework away from Holy Cross, for example through the Higher Edication Consortium for Central Massachusetts (HECCMA), formerly known as the Worcester Consortium. Students may take one course per semester at a HECCMA school as part of Holy Cross tuition. To take such a course, students need to go on to the individual college websites to find enrollment information and fill out the appropriate paperwork available in the Holy Cross Registrar's Office.
The following is a common list of requirements for direct entry NP programs, though schools vary considerably.
- Biology: one semester of introductory biology, one year of human anatomy and physiology, one semester of microbiology
- Chemistry: one semester each of general and organic chemistry (e.g. Atoms and Molecules and Organic Chemistry 1). Some nursing schools accept a one semester chemistry course for nurses that covers both general and organic chemistry.
- Statistics: one semester
- Nutrition: one semester
- Psychology: introductory psychology and developmental psychology