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Your Online Resource for DNP Programs

OnlineDNP has many guides for students interested in DNP degrees. By obtaining a DNP, students achieve the highest level of education in nursing, preparing for them for administrative and leadership roles or enhancing their field of specialization. But earning a DNP is a process involving several steps including choosing the right program that meets your needs.

DNP programs are highly selective and require strong intellectual abilities and a strong commitment to research. If you’re serious about nursing and want to earn your doctorate, let us help. Choosing the right program requires professional input, and we understand how important it is to know where to look.

What is an Online DNP Degree?

The DNP, or Doctorate in nursing practice, is one of three doctoral degrees for nursing. The other two degrees are the Doctorate of philosophy (PhD) and the Doctorate of science in nursing (DSN). The PhD and DSN degrees are for those who want to focus on research in a clinical, academic, or scientific environment. On the other hand, the DNP degree stands out compared to the other two because of its clinical focus. The DNP is the highest degree that prepares you to become an advanced practice nurse, nurse practitioner, or nurse educator.

Advanced practice nurses need complex clinical skills and high-level knowledge. A DNP is an advanced degree that will provide them with those needed skills. It focuses on leadership, management, and innovation in clinical settings, in addition to specializations within advanced practice nursing. Throughout this program you’ll develop organizational, economic, and leadership skills to design and implement programs of care delivery. Upon graduation you’ll be prepared for roles in direct care or indirect, systems-focused care. You should be able to affect the healthcare delivery system by being superb a clinician, by evaluating the evidence base for nursing practice, becoming a leader in the clinical arenas, establishing standards and policies, and meeting the needs of today’s diverse healthcare systems.

Online DNP Program Descriptions:

There are different online programs to choose from for a DNP degree. These programs depend on the school you consider, what previous degree you have earned, and whether or not you attend full or part-time. Some online programs only admit students in the fall, like a traditional on-campus school. On the other hand several programs let you begin your program whenever you wish. You must check with your schools application deadlines and semester start dates to know the type of program you’re looking at.

Typically students can begin a DNP program after earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD degree. Occasionally there are programs, such as MSN to DNP bridge programs, which require you to have graduated from a MSN program. The general duration of full-time online programs depend on your level of entry. For example:

  • Following a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing (BSN): Full-time study for three years
  • Following a Master’s Degree in nursing (MSN): Full-time study for one to two years, depending on MSN transcript
  • Following a PhD Degree in nursing: Full-time study one to two years, depending on the PhD program

Your previous transcripts will always be compared with the school’s DNP curriculum. Students are usually granted academic credit for comparable coursework. If you choose to pursue the online DNP program on a part-time basis, you can expect the length of the program to be longer than the above times listed.

Although DNP programs aren’t all alike, they generally have similar core principles that include:

  • Demonstrate expertise in advanced clinical nursing practice roles based on mastery of a specialized area of knowledge derived from a strong scientific foundation.
  • Implement continuous quality improvement in patient care and provide leadership in practice and clinical decision-making through use of information systems and technology resources.
  • Use clinical scholarship and analytical methods to improve quality and safety in health care systems through organizational leadership, systems thinking, and practice management acumen.
  • Influence health care policy that determines the financing, regulation, access, and delivery of care.
  • Foster interprofessional collaboration and teamwork in the improvement of population health outcomes.
  • Promote health equity in the provision of care to eliminate health disparities.

Online DNP Program Curriculum

Since there are a variety of online programs for DNP degrees, not all programs will require the same courses. Clinical practice is a requirement for any DNP program. Through online learning clinical experiences may need to be arranged by you at a local healthcare facility. In other cases the school and program will help you make those arrangements. It’s important to know what your program’s requirements are before enrolling.

The core courses in DNP programs include the following topics:

  • Advanced evidence-based practice
  • Organizational and systems leadership
  • Clinical research and analytical methods for evidence-based practice
  • Informatics and patient care technology for the transformation of health care
  • Health care policy and finance
  • Ethics
  • Clinical prevention
  • Population health
  • Interprofessional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes

The knowledge from these courses expands into specific fields or areas of focus. Some of these different areas of specialization include:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist of Adult Medical/Surgical Care
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist of Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • NP Acute Care
  • NP Adult Care
  • NP Family Care
  • NP Neonatal Care
  • NP Pediatric Care
  • Psychiatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Admissions Criteria for Online DNP Programs

Although programs differ in their admissions requirements, there is a general idea of what is needed from prospective students. The following are materials most applicants to DNP programs should have:

  • A baccalaureate degree in nursing from an NLN or CCNE accredited program of nursing
  • A competitive Grade Point Average (GPA), usually 3.0 or higher
  • A current license to practice nursing in the U.S. state where your clinical practice requirements will be completed prior to enrolling in clinical courses
  • A pre-admission interview
  • Personal essay explaining your goals and reasons for entering the DNP program
  • Pre-requisite courses, typically including Statistics
  • Official sealed transcripts from previous academic institutions
  • Admission tests, depending on the program and their requirements
  • Competitive scores on the Graduate Record Examination—sometimes this is not required if applicant is an RN and has a master’s degree with GPA of 3.5 or above
  • Letters of recommendation—typically school’s ask for three letters from former or current faculty members, or current supervisors and professional colleagues to be submitted online or mailed in sealed envelopes
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • A brief statement reflecting the clinical area of interest for the program’s required Capstone project

Why Should I Get My DNP Degree Through Distance Learning?

Online degrees are the new form of education. Now with faster Internet connections, inexpensive video-conferencing options, and advanced online classroom technology, a person can receive a quality education without lengthy commuting. Overall online education provides students with more time for actual learning rather than traditional colleges that require transportation, eating out, socializing, and more.

The flexibility of online learning is immense. You can continue your career and family obligations while attending school. You can choose when and where you want to study. That means  if you have a business trip or vacation planned you can still study while continuing to attend class. You’re also free to take tests when it’s comfortable for you, as long as it’s within a certain amount of time.

You’ll also be in touch with students from different geographic regions in the U.S. This exposure will provide you with a more global perspective and can shed light on the many dimensions of health and illness in your community and across the world. Additionally, the students you’ll encounter through classes will also have experience in other fields such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, or others. This will also help develop your coursework and help you understand the scope and quality of nursing care.

Another great thing about online learning is that online coursework can be tailored to include a variety of disciplines and studies. This means that if you’re a nursing student with a background in another field, your previous work can aid in your nursing studies. For example, nurses with degrees in criminology may pursue forensic nursing research or clinical activities, and those with experience in international communities can use their nursing education to improve healthcare delivery across the globe.

Search online and campus DNP programs