DNP Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This Q-and-A page addresses the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, in general. For further information pertaining to the Nurse Anesthesia specialty, specifically, visit the Nurse Anesthesia FAQ page.

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.

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.

The BSN-to-DNP program is a three-year, nine-semester program for full-time students and a four-year program for part-time students. Total credit hours range from 78-84, depending on the advanced-practice specialty, except for the nurse anesthesia program, which is 104 hours.

Students are eligible for federal financial aid, as well as university graduate assistantships and scholarships. In addition, the college offers a Nurse Faculty Loan Program that provides funding to students committed to a faculty role and teaching after graduation. Externally, several independent scholarships are available. Applicants can contact the Student Affairs Office at the college for additional information concerning scholarships and educational funding.

No, a master's degree is not required for the BSN-DNP program. Applicants with an MSN can apply to the post-MSN DNP program, designed for advanced-practice nurses who are prepared nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners.

Yes, applicants must have a BSN from an accredited college or university. Additionally, RNs must have one year of full-time work experience.

Many students choose to work while they're taking classes. The BSN-to-DNP program requires several one-on-one precepted clinical experiences, in addition to doctoral coursework, which could prohibit a full-time work schedule; however, individual students can decide what works best for them.

Most post-MSN DNP students maintain a full-time work schedule while pursuing an advanced degree. Students' work environments often provide an excellent setting for the DNP-related project, required for graduation.

The DNP program offers a curriculum transformed for the iPad and rooted in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's DNP essentials of leadership, population health, informatics, health policy, collaboration and advanced practice. Courses are taught by DNP-prepared academic and clinical leaders who advise students throughout their time in the program. Our faculty are well respected and many present and publish nationally and internationally. In addition, many DNP courses are offered online, which allows for flexibility.

MSN-prepared nurses who focus on evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of individual patients, whereas DNP-prepared nurses consider patient populations. In addition, the DNP prepares nurses to utilize the best evidence to improve patient outcomes for populations.

The college's program employs faculty who are trained in each advanced practice specialty. All clinically focused faculty have current licenses and certifications and are practicing in their area of expertise.

Because the DNP-prepared nurse is a newer role in health care, the earning potential of these nurses is unclear; however, the doctoral-level practice degree brings a new level of education and training to the nursing profession that health care organizations are eager to employ and utilize.