Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the DNP Nurse?

The role of the doctor of nursing practice prepared nurse can span a variety of settings. The DNP prepared nurse can work to implement evidence-based practice, quality improvement and patient safety initiatives aimed at improving patient outcomes, improving patient satisfaction, and decreasing health care costs. The DNP degree is based on the IOM report that calls for a higher level of education for nurses in response to the increased complexity of healthcare in America.

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Why is a practice doctorate needed? What are the benefits?

There are two types of doctoral degrees that can be earned in nursing. The first is the research focused doctorate or the PhD. The PhD prepared nurse is responsible for generating new knowledge for the nursing discipline. The second is the practice focused doctorate or the DNP. The DNP prepared nurse is responsible for implementation of existing best evidence into clinical practice. The practice doctorate is the terminal degree for the advanced practice nurse that includes evidence-based practice, project planning, evaluation and implementation science. The benefit of the practice doctorate is the ability to care for aggregate populations of patients and insure improve outcomes based on the use of best science.

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How long will it take me to complete the DNP program? Cost?

The BSN to DNP at UC College of Nursing is a three-year full-time, or four-year part-time program and is completed in eight or nine semesters if full-time. The total number of credit hours for this program ranges from 78-84 hours, depending on advanced practice speciality. The nurse anesthesia program is 104 total hours. The cost per credit hour is $752 (based on 2014-15 tuition).

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What education funding is available to interested doctor of nursing practice applicants?

DNP students are eligible for federal financial aid, as well as university graduate assistantships and scholarships. The College of Nursing also has Nurse Faculty Loan Program funding that can assist students who are committed to a faculty role and teaching upon graduation. Several independent scholarships are also available outside of the university. Applicants can contact the Student Affairs Office at the college for additional information concerning scholarships and educational funding.

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Is the master’s degree in nursing required for admission?

A master’s degree in nursing is required for admission to the UC College of Nursing post-MSN DNP Program. Post-MSN DNP programs are designed for advanced practice nurses that are prepared nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners. The MSN is not required for the post-baccalaureate DNP.

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I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Am I eligible for the DNP program?

The new pathway, post-BSN to DNP, requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing for admission. Additionally, the post-BSN to DNP requires at least one year of full-time work experience post-BSN graduation.

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Will I be able to work while I am in school?

Many students choose to work while in school. The BSN to DNP program does require several one-on-one precepted clinical experiences in addition to the doctoral coursework which may be prohibitive to full-time work. The UC College of Nursing does not define a student’s ability to work while enrolled and it is left to the judgment of each individual student.

Most post-MSN DNP students do maintain full-time work schedules while pursuing an advanced degree. The student’s work environment provides an excellent setting for the DNP related project that is required for graduation.

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What makes the UC College of Nursing DNP program unique?

The UC DNP program is based on the college’s vision that “through creative leveraging of technology, UC College of Nursing will lead the transformation of health care in partnership informed by the people we serve”. The DNP program is also strongly rooted in the AACN DNP essentials that focus on leadership, population health, informatics, health policy, collaboration and advanced practice nursing. What makes our program unique is that the curriculum has been transformed to be delivered via iPad technology, an innovation that contributed to the college-wide honor of being an Apple Distinguished Program. Our program has 12 DNP prepared faculty, more than any other program regionally, who are available to teach and advise students during their time enrolled in the program. Our faculty are well respected in both clinical and educational arenas and many present and publish nationally. Students are able to complete their degree by attending DNP classes onsite one week each semester, and then completing course work and assignments online which allows for flexibility in managing their everyday lives.

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Why choose a DNP over master’s level preparation?

The DNP prepared nurse is educated to consider aggregate populations of patients rather than only the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of individual patients. In addition, the DNP nurse has learned to utilize the best evidence to improve patient outcomes for those aggregate populations. The post-BSN doctor of nursing practice degree trains nurses not only in an advanced practice specialty but also in population health.

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Who will teach DNP students since the role is considered advanced practice?

The UC CoN program has faculty trained in all advanced practice specialties in addition to 12 DNP prepared nurses that are active in DNP education. All clinically-focused faculty have current licenses and certifications, and are practicing in their area of expertise.

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Will I earn more with a DNP vs. an MSN?

DNP prepared advanced practice nurses are a new breed of practitioner in healthcare. Currently, the earning potential of DNP prepared nurse is unclear, however, what is known is that this profession brings a level of education that health care organizations are eager to employ and utilize.

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