What is a Doctor of Nursing Practice?

Doctor of Nursing PracticeA Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a rigorous doctoral degree program that is designed specifically for nursing professionals who want to work in clinical settings in leadership roles. If you currently possess an undergraduate degree or a Master’s degree in nursing, it is important to map out the path that you want to take as you gain experience within the field. While there are several different types of doctorate degrees available to nursing post-graduate students, each and every degree is designed for a different purpose. Read on, and learn more about the DNP program itself and what you can do with your degree upon graduation.

Who is the DNP Program For?

The DNP program focuses on content that will help nursing professionals who want to advance their career on the clinical side. Unlike Doctor of Nursing Science or a Doctor of Nursing Philosophy degrees, which are each for the development of research skills, this program is all about practice-oriented training for potential leaders. If you would like to advance your career and become a nursing executive in a clinical medical setting, this is the best program for you. The content will focus on developing clinical knowledge while also touching on the development of leadership skills.

What Will You Study When You Take an DNP Doctoral Degree Program?

It can be helpful to review all of the coursework that you will be required to complete as you are comparing post-graduate programs. While every university offering doctoral programs in nursing will have their own specific requirements, curriculum requirements are similar by nature.

You will complete four semesters of courses as a full-time student that will address issues that affect patients in a practice setting. It is common to spend between 2 and 4 years for your DNP depending upon your enrollment status. Some of the courses that you will need to complete to graduate include: Quantitative Methods, Evidence Based Practice, Transforming the Nation’s Health, Health Care Improvements, Effective Leadership Skills and Transforming Healthcare Systems. You will also need to complete a scholarly Capstone Project before you can achieve the DNP designation, which can take an entire semester.

What Are the Admissions Requirements for DNP Programs?

If this sounds like the type of program that will help you take your career to the next level, you might be curious to learn what you need to do next to meet the admissions requirements. There are two types of DNP programs: those for BSN degree holders and those for MSN degree holders. If you only hold a BSN, there may be an advanced joint degree program that will cover MSN coursework and DNP coursework. If you already possess a MSN, you have the prerequisites under your belt to enter the traditional program.

The nation’s healthcare environment is becoming much more complex than it has been in the past. Due to new reforms and new complexities, the need for advanced clinical nursing professionals is growing. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the demand for students with a practice doctorate will only grow. More DNP programs are being created nationwide to keep up with the demand. Currently, the most DNP programs are offered in New York, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Massachusetts. Find out which schools have top-notch Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, and then you can start the application process.