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What to Expect in an Online DNP Program

An online program is a good way for nurses to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. A working registered nurse (RN) who already holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a master’s degree can advance in their career with a DNP. UTA’s DNP program culminates in a post-master’s degree meant specifically for APRNs and nurse administrators.

What Is a DNP?

A DNP program prepares nurses to translate clinical research into practice as part of improving patient care outcomes. The DNP is a terminal degree, which means it is the highest possible degree for nursing practice. While a Ph.D. in nursing — also a terminal degree — is considered a research degree, the DNP degree relates to nursing practice.

The DNP extends a nurse’s education beyond the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to prepare them for leadership roles. The DNP prepares a masters-prepared APRN or Nurse Administrator to assume leadership responsibilities leading to improved patient health outcomes.

Why Should Nurses Pursue a DNP?

A DNP is a doctoral degree in clinical nursing that expands job opportunities for graduates. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “DNP programs will prepare nurses for the highest level of nursing practice.”

The duties of a nurse with a DNP can include the following:

  • Use informatics to lead improvements in healthcare outcomes.
  • Develop or update policies and procedures.
  • Educate patients and public about healthcare.
  • Innovate new healthcare strategies to improve patient health outcomes.

Why Should Nurses Consider an Online DNP Degree Program?

An online DNP degree program is geared toward nurses who need a flexible schedule or have financial limitations. Generally, online doctorate programs are popular with these types of students:

  • Parents.
  • Residents of rural areas.
  • Employed nurses.

In an online program, you will find the same quality courses that are offered on-campus. An online program provides the opportunity to work asynchronous which means you do not have specific class times you must meet. The online year-round program enables the student to complete the program earlier than in a traditional campus-based program.

What Kinds of Courses Are Found in a DNP Degree Program?

The courses in a DNP degree program explore the way diseases affect patient populations and examine evidence-based strategies used to improve patient outcomes. Students study complexity in the healthcare environment and how to lead changes within their healthcare setting. The following are the online DNP courses:

  • Leadership in Healthcare Systems.
  • Healthcare Policy.
  • Clinical Information Systems.
  • Translational Research.
  • Epidemiology.
  • Evidence Appraisal.
  • Project Proposal Development.
  • DNP Practicum I and II.

Do Nurses With a DNP Need Continuing Education?

Yes all nurses regardless of degree need to stay current with new techniques and improve nursing skills, with continuing education. Nurses with a DNP have an enhanced understanding of the complicated aspects of patient care, and they are knowledgeable about instituting necessary changes. These attributes make DNPs a natural fit with employers who seek solutions to today’s healthcare challenges.

Learn more about Doctor of Nursing Practice Online.

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American Association of Colleges of Nursing: DNP Fact Sheet

PayScale: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree Average Salary

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