Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Specialty Concentration

The Duke University School of Nursing's Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Specialty Concentration prepares advanced practice nurses to diagnose and manage musculoskeletal problems as well as to provide guidance and counseling to promote and maintain health and quality of life.

Musculoskeletal conditions are among the most prevalent reasons for seeking health care from a primary care or specialty provider in the U.S.  Orthopedic conditions are also among the most common causes of disability among working age and older adults in the U.S. Nurse Practitioners with additional training in orthopedics have professional options to practice in a variety of settings, such as orthopedic practice, primary care, or family practice.

The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Specialty Concentration is open to students in the Adult Primary Care or Acute Care, Gerontology, Family, or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specialty tracks of Duke’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program. A certificate of completion is available for nurses who have already earned the MSN through the non-degree enrollment option.

The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Specialty Concentration consists of a sequence of three courses that focus on musculoskeletal practice. Faculty members teaching the courses are board certified orthopedic nurse practitioners and nationally recognized experts in their field. The courses will address musculoskeletal conditions across the lifespan, with a primary focus on care of the adolescent and adult.

Students in the Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Specialty Concentration will take two didactic and one clinical course in addition to the course requirements of their primary Nurse Practitioner program. For many students, the courses in the orthopedic concentration can be utilized as didactic and/or clinical electives for their primary NP program.

Curriculum Highlights

  • Specialty didactic and clinical training in orthopedics
  • Integration of clinical simulation and skills
  • Distance-based format
  • Diverse learning activities throughout the curriculum

Application Information

Admitted/currently enrolled students have the option of enrolling in one or two courses, or earning the full 9-credit Orthopedics Concentration. If the Concentration option is chosen, a designation will be added to the student’s transcript to denote completion.

Health care community members also have the option to either take one or two courses or the full nine credits to earn a certificate of completion. The certificate of completion will be awarded by the Duke University School of Nursing.

How to Apply:

Newly Admitted/Currently Enrolled Students:

Duke University School of Nursing students interested in adding the concentration to their academic file must complete the Orthopedics Enrollment Form. This form must be submitted Office of Admissions and Student Services no later than 10 days prior to the start of the semester.

Health Care Community Members:

Members of the health care community not applying through the MSN pathway must submit a Non-Degree Student Application. Enrollment preference will be given to students expressing interest in obtaining the certificate of completion.

Compliance Requirements for Orthopedic NP Specialty Concentration Students:

Once students have been admitted and then matriculated into this specialty concentration, there will be a series of pre-registration compliance requirements each student will need to complete. These requirements will be communicated to matriculated students from the Office of Admissions and Student Services. This office will provide students with detailed next steps instructions on how to complete these program specific requirements. Some examples of these requirements consist of a background check, drug screening, immunization submission, license and certification submission and a series of student modules to be completed.

Students matriculated in this program will need to complete all compliance requirements prior to course registration.

Orthopedics FAQ:

Q: Can I start the certificate of completion program using the non-degree enrollment option at any time?
A: No, students using the non-degree enrollment option who are interested in earning the certificate of completion must start in the summer.

Q: Can I apply for the Orthopedics Concentration if I am still in the process of applying for admission to the School of Nursing?
A: Yes. Submit your application and the Orthopedics enrollment form to the Office of Admissions and Student Services as soon as possible. Once the admission decisions have been made, the names of all students who have also submitted an Orthopedics enrollment form will be forwarded to the MSN Program Coordinator for review/approval.

Q: If I am not accepted for the Orthopedics program will that preclude me from regular MSN admission?
A: No, Orthopedics acceptance is separate from regular admission and does not influence any admission decision.

Q: I’m a Duke MSN student. I tried to register for an Orthopedics course, but wasn’t allowed to register.
A: Orthopedics course enrollments are limited to only those accepted into the Concentration or certificate of completion program. Students interested in taking a course must contact the MSN Program Director to determine if enrollment capacity exists. If so, a permission number that can be used in ACES will be provided to allow registration.