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Top 10 Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

Top 10 Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

The complexity of the healthcare services requires licensed nurses to have the highest level of education and clinical knowledge if they want to be true nursing experts in their field. Baccalaureate degree holders should not only settle for their current degree, but rather aim higher and pursue graduate studies that will further enhance their skills and knowledge in a specific field. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is often the highest degree that a licensed nurse can take. Even though it takes lots of time and dedication to earn this kind of honor, there is a growing number of healthcare professionals who still go for a Doctor of Nursing Practice program in order to stay competitive.

The biggest issue for many working nurses however, is finding the time and place to do it. A fact is, that once you have earned your MSN degree and working in a more leading role, you will also have additional constraints on your time. So how to do it? A simple answer would be to try and find an online DNP program that is both accredited and and recognized by your state’s authorities.

There are many colleges and universities across the country developing online programs that will lead to a Doctor of Nursing Practice qualifications, helping those who cannot attend classes in any particular school.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing America, there are more than 100 schools in the United States alone offering online Doctor of Nursing programs. Making a decision on where to enroll can be a somewhat difficult, so it is always best to consider a number of things like your own personal finances and school’s reputation. While most students can apply for scholarships and financial aid grants to ease their financial burden, your future school should be accredited and be able to provide the best quality education as well.

If you are committed to working autonomously, adopting leadership roles as well as manage health care delivery systems and influence health policies, then DNP is definitely for you!

Below we have compiled detailed list of the Top 10 Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs available in US today. These schools are accredited by local nursing boards as well as members of  American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Medical University of South Carolina

medical-university-of-south-carolinaThe Medical University of South Carolina is offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice program which is done online. This course provides an in-depth knowledge on clinical practice, as well as good experience in leadership, health policy, applied research, health systems designs and evaluation. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is a practice-focused graduate program in nursing which awards the graduates with a Master of Science in Nursing degree and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The purpose of this higher level studies is to prepare the students to practice at primary care settings, public health agencies, schools of nursing and hospitals, with a higher clinical level and position.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the Medical University of South Carolina enables the students to demonstrate clinical nursing expertise based on the mastery of a specialized area of knowledge from a strong scientific foundation. It allows the students to utilize clinical scholarship as well as analytical methods in order to improve quality and safety healthcare services through the people. The Medical University of South Carolina uses personalized teaching, coaching and hands-on clinical experience to further enhance the skills of the DNP students, and become one of the best doctoral degree holder in the state. They collaborate with other healthcare institutions in order to allow these students to experience or expose their selves the best clinical practice.

The online Doctor of Nursing Practice program provides additional convenience to its students, even though some of the clinical practice is done in a real setting. Other than having an in-depth curriculum, the university uses all its best resources, including their faculty and staff, to help its DNP students to get their doctorate degree. These individuals who provide support to the DNP students, are licensed healthcare professionals themselves, who have also completed Master of Science in Nursing and/or Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. They are well-experienced competent nurses who aim to transform the students into responsible and highly equipped professionals as well.

There are several opportunities for graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. These individuals are usually offered higher positions and better compensation than other licensed nurses in a similar position and that is why, the MUSC makes sure that their graduates are ready to take on the responsibilities and challenges that they will face in the future.

Having said that, admission to the online or distance learning education of the university is limited and requires the students to pass the screening process. As one of the Top 10 Recognized Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Program providers in the country, the Medical University of South Carolina only accepts the best students who are able to meet the necessary requirements from their state of residence.

Graceland University

graceland-universityGraceland University is also among the Top 10 Institutions Offering the Best Online Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the country. As a leader in nursing education, this university is proud to offer their first doctoral degree which prepares the nurses for an advance practice roles in the field of healthcare. Graduates of the GU online DNP program become clinical scholars who are skilled in theory application and research, advanced clinical practice, evidence based practice, patient outcome measurement and transformation of healthcare systems to deliver quality and safety services.

The faculty and staff of the university hold doctoral degrees and they are experienced educators themselves. They are the ones behind the successful nursing graduates, who excel in the field of healthcare, academe and other related fields. Graceland University offers a small class size and a more personalized education to its DNP students. Since the classes are usually held online, students can have more flexibility for their work. There are also some instances that they need to complete a few hours of work in the clinical practice, but this is made in a healthcare facility nearby. The students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program will have great opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in the profession. They are not only guided with their educational needs, but also supported in their DNP degree program.

Making a decision to enroll at a doctoral program is life changing, as number of leadership and critical thinking skills will be developed through time and you will become a true leader in the filed of nursing. Still, there will be a lot of things to take into account like your personal and career goals.

Before the start of the class, DNP students have to submit a verification of their practice hours completed in their post-graduate certificate or master’s program. It should be 80 to 100 clock hours of supervised practice across a 16-week trimester. The goal of the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program is to prepare the nurses for an advanced practice roles, and these students should be able to collect, interpret and use knowledge from nursing practice, and implement or evaluate it to practice interventions.

The online Doctor of Nursing Practice program of Graceland University is approved by the state Board of Nursing and accredited by several reputable organizations. Graduates of the program receive a doctoral level credentials and various opportunities in different clinical settings. They will also have better chances of getting immediate employment, especially as more and more healthcare facilities are looking for individuals with highest level of post graduate knowledge.

New Mexico State University

new-mexico-state-universityThe School of Nursing at New Mexico State University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice program in four areas; the Family Nurse Practitioner, Public/Community Health Nursing, Family Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner. Students can choose any of these fields of specialization. The Doctor of Nursing Program is the highest degree that nurses can obtain. It is a practice-focused doctoral degree program that prepares the nurses for the highest level of practice in the healthcare field. The coursework is usually done online and the clinical part is completed in an accredited medical facility. It is important for its students to take into account that the clinical component should consist of more than 1,000 contact hours, and this should be completed in order to graduate from the program.

The changing demands of the healthcare environment require nurses to have the highest level of expertise and scientific knowledge. It has been noted that the effectiveness of nurses is related to the type and quality of the education they have, that is why, having a DNP degree has a clear link to better patient outcomes.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program should not be confused with PhD in Nursing because the PhD program is a research-focused degree offered to nurses who wish to pursue an academic or research career.

The road to earning a DNP degree can be done in two ways. The first way is through a BSN to DNP track which requires the students to study full time. The second way is through a Post MSN to DNP track which can be done full time or as part time study. The Post MSN to DNP program requires all applicants to have an active and current certification as an advanced practice nurse practitioner, in order to be considered. Aspiring students of the DNP program have to take note that it is not possible to change one specialty track to another because of the curriculum differences and the limited number of slots for each cohort. Students have to have a fixed choice in their field of specialization in order to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

The web based DNP program of New Mexico State University is one of the most affordable programs in the state. The university is also recognized as one of the best institutions in the field of nursing, as its graduates receive employment quickly and are praised for their excellence. Graduating from the DNP program at New Mexico State University provides many future opportunities in the healthcare field, especially to those who have performed well academically and have proven themselves in the clinical work.

Loyola University New Orleans

loyola-university-new-orleansThe Loyola University – New Orleans offers a Doctor Nursing Program which can be taken in two different ways; the post-master’s to DNP track or the post-BSN to DNP track. Nurses with MSN degrees or certified nurse practitioners seeking for executive leadership can take the post-master’s to DNP track, while the Post-BSN to DNP track is for BSN nurses to become family nurse practitioners in a primary care setting. Graduates of the BSN to DNP track will be eligible to apply for a Family Nurse Practitioner certification.

The mission of the DNP program at Loyola University is to provide a comprehensive Jesuit education, prepare the advance nursing practice leaders to inter-professional teams and direct healthcare systems, refine ethical decision making and critical thinking skills to lessen health disparities and improve quality of care, perform new practice options for DNP nurses in healthcare systems and translate the science of healthcare and nursing to clinical practice.

The Post BSN to DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner program, for students who qualify, will immerse them to didactic theory and clinical practice that help them develop diverse skills. These skills combine healthcare leadership, informatics and advanced nursing practice with hands-on experience. The university’s comprehensive curriculum as well as their step by step guidance from their award winning faculty lets the students unlock their full potential and makes them eligible for the AACN FNP certification exam.

Students who follow the post-master’s to DNP track have a different curriculum to follow, but they also gain a number of skills and a solid foundation throughout the course. They will be supported by the university’s faculty and are able to maximize the resources available in the facility. Online classes will also help with a thorough understanding of the course. Despite the distance learning education challenges, students still receive the best training for the Doctor of Nursing Practice course. They will also have hands-on practice in an accredited healthcare facility which allows them to get a good clinical experience during the program.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Loyola University is a higher level graduate studies program that needs participants’ commitment and full attention. Applicants for the program have to take note that the admission process is competitive and requires them to meet all school’s demands to be considered. There will be a lot of challenges that each student will encounter throughout the program, but completing the course entitles them for a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and awards them with many opportunities for better employment, promotion or increased salary. Loyola University will help all its students to achieve their educational goals through full support, personalized teaching and one on one supervision.

Duke University

duke-university1The School of Nursing at Duke University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice program for post-BSN or post-MSN applicants who want to advance their skills and gain a higher level of nursing credentials. The DNP program at DU provides its students with necessary tools and skills to assess published evidence, improve systems of care to create positive patient outcomes and make changes to improve quality of care. Graduates of the program are professional nurse leaders in interdisciplinary healthcare teams who also work to improve patient outcomes, systems of care and quality and safety services. The program offers flexible schedules to accommodate both nurses who are already working in advanced practice positions, as well as the students who have recently earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing and want to pursue a DNP program while gaining an advanced nursing practice specialty.

There are a lot of reasons why Duke University should be your top choice when it comes to online Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The university offers a comprehensive two-day on campus orientation, and online courses have four executive on-campus sessions, usually two to three days per session in October, February, August or in June. Students of DU will get the best DNP education because of the university’s faculty that has broad experience in leadership, patient safety and advanced clinical practice. Those with a current employment do not need to leave their job because the DNP program has flexible class schedules, and it can be adjusted to a specific place of employment.

Pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Duke University can be done in three different pathways. Individuals who graduated from their BSN program can use the BSN to DNP pathway. Students can also choose MSN to DNP or PhD to DNP pathways, if their qualifications suit these categories. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program provides a higher level of learning, especially as the students can choose any field of specialization, subject to availability. Classes are often taken online in order to accommodate the needs of students who are currently employed. The clinical practice does not have to take place in the affiliated healthcare facility of DU, but can rather be done within the area or students residence.

Duke University offers a number of learning opportunities to the students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Other than having an excellent curriculum, they also provide great tools and resources that students can make use of throughout the program. They also provide full support and guidance to its students in order to meet their educational needs and make them excel in the future.

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

clarion-university-of-pennsylvaniaNursing career provides diverse range of employment opportunities and that is why Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers a degree ladder approach to its students starting from associate degree level, all the way down to doctorate degree. The university’s nursing faculty consists of well-experienced educators who offer expert knowledge in various nursing specialties. Its campus has great learning facilities and classrooms where students can study and enhance their skills and know how in certain areas.

For the individuals who have already completed a bachelor’s degree and passed their licensure exam, but still wish to gain more in depth expertise, a Doctor of Nursing Practice program is offered. This is a 34-credit program that can be done online and through real life clinical practice. Students in this program will gain the highest level of education available for nurses and will learn ways to implement their skills. They will be taught various concepts and ideas needed to fully become leaders in their field. Aside from that, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program is also a good place to gain valuable knowledge, especially in the chosen field of specialization.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the Clarion University of Pennsylvania has specialty electives in clinical nursing education and advanced clinical practice. These courses can either be taken full time, part time or in an online format over a period of six semesters. Students can choose the type of study they want and complete it at their own pace. Individuals who are currently working can choose the online DNP program in order not to compromise their schedules and careers. However, the clinical practice should be done in an approved healthcare facility and completed before graduation in order to receive the DNP degree.

Students in the DNP program are admitted in cohorts of 27 and courses starts in the summer. The program has flexible schedules, affordable tuition fees and professional clinical instructors. Students receive all of these benefits as soon as they enroll for the program. They will be nurtured and transformed into well-equipped professional nurses who are an experts in their field of specialization. They will also have great employment opportunities in the future, especially if they perform well in their academic and clinical practice.

The tuition cost for the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Clarion University of Pennsylvania is around $13,800, but it does not include uniforms, books, medical supplies and other miscellaneous fees. However, CUP is among the most affordable schools in the country for this kind of degree. Finishing the DNP program at Clarion University of Pennsylvania allows the graduates to receive quality education without compromising their budget.

East Carolina University

east-carolina-universityThe East Carolina University offers also a Doctor of Nursing Practice program which can be taken in two different pathways; the BSN to DNP pathway and the post-master’s DNP pathway. The BSN to DNP pathway is for students who have completed their four-year baccalaureate degree in nursing and want to specialize in certain areas and become either a Family Nurse Practitioner or Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Moreover, individuals who already have a Master’s Degree in Nursing can pursue the Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program which has two different fields of specializations; leadership and advanced practice registered nursing. Students in either of these DNP pathways will receive highest quality education and solid support from the university’s faculty and staff.

The East Carolina University (ECU) has some of the best faculties out there to maintain research projects and supervise clinical practice. On top of that they can offer valuable nursing leadership experience. These individuals are fully dedicated and committed to mentoring the next generation of healthcare providers and nurse leaders out there. Furthermore, ECU uses innovative technology to support the teaching of its students. An inter-professional curriculum is also utilized by the institution to prepare its students for the future career in the healthcare system. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program of East Carolina University focuses on rural and under served populations, while allowing the students to experience the best clinical practice they need for future employment. The university takes pride in having a personalized faculty mentoring throughout the completion of its DNP program. There is also an online coursework available, with one to five campus days each semester (in February, June and September).

The Doctor of Nursing Practice of East Carolina University prepares its students to assess and understand published evidence necessary for the practice. It also helps them to make changes or improve systems of care to enhance the nursing services and influence patient outcomes. Students in the DNP program should be aware that most of the classes are done online, via distance education, although some classes are held on the campus.

The School’s College of Nursing at ECU is nationally recognized for their online DNP education because of their latest computer and digital technologies, as well as their innovative virtual clinic. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program at East Carolina University has gained accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is widely regarded as one of the best ones out there. Graduates of ECU will be prepared and well-equipped for the future demands of the profession, especially as they assume leadership roles and higher positions in the medical field.

Duquesne University

duquesne-universityDuquesne University offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program which enables the graduates to innovate the healthcare delivery system and design new systems to improve the context in which nursing services are offered. Nurses who get a DNP degree from DU will function as a healthcare professionals with strong evidence based foundation, fantastic organizational skills, systematic healthcare policy assessment and a skill to design innovative concepts for patient care services based on economic trends. This doctorate degree is also designed for professional nurses who seek to obtain the highest degree in nursing practice as it serves as an alternative to research focused doctoral programs.

Based on the DNP Essentials of AACN 2006, students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program should complete 1,000 advanced practice post-BSN practice hours in order to be considered. Duquesne’s DNP program builds on the students’ MSN degree, and the number of practice hours awarded to them will be based on their official transcripts, feedback from prior schools and course descriptions. There can be as many as 500 hours awarded to a student from his/her MSN program. These accepted hours should come from the courses listed on the official transcript of a nationally accredited institution, and students should possess academic stamina, as well as critical engagement with the subjects relevant to the degree competencies. DNP students have to complete at least 500 practice hours during the program, and a DNP residency is required for graduation. The residency practice is usually tailored to suit the unique professional goals of the student.

Graduates of the Doctor in Nursing Practice degree will demonstrate an great real life judgement through correct analysis and interpretation of various informational sources. They will also function as a mediators to patients, families and local communities, and actively seek opportunities to guide, teach and help their colleagues’ professional growth and development. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program at Duquesne University provides plenty of opportunities to its students. It is important to take note that the minimum educational requirement of the program is Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Other requirements needed can be found out from the school’s website or through their admissions office.

Duquesne University enrolls more than 5,500 graduate students at their online and offline programs, with 99% of these individuals having access to Federal Financial Aid programs. The school has also an average classroom size of 13, which allows much more personalized learning environment to students who want to gain a higher level of nursing education.

University of Pittsburgh

university-of-pittsburgh1The University of Pittsburgh or UPitt has been widely considered as one of the best nursing schools in the country. Their Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program is one of the best post graduate programs in the state and in the country as a whole. It hastens the knowledge and skills of the nurses to evaluate evidence based research, implement new techniques or methods of treatment and healthcare delivery, improve patient outcomes and utilize the best practices to individuals and populations who deal with a specific medical condition. The Doctor of Nursing Practice at the University of Pittsburgh was introduced in 2006, with a design the meet the AACN mandate and required competencies to integrate preparation and specialties requiring advanced knowledge, expertise and mastery in a certain area of nursing practice.

The majors offered by the university includes Nurse Specialty Role – Administration, Nurse Practitioner with 6 different concentrations, Nurse-Midwife, Nurse Anesthesia and Clinical Nurse Specialist. The coursework of the DNP program explores topics like healthcare policy and financing, advanced evidence based practice, organizational and systems leadership, ethics, analytical methods, patient care technology and informatics,  population health outcomes and inter-professional collaboration for improving quality services. Clinical experiences, which are also a part of the DNP program, are carefully supervised by the university’s faculty and staff to sharpen competencies in the student’s chosen area of specialization.

The Doctor of Nursing Program at the University of Pittsburgh has a scholarly component wherein students have to complete a project that analyses and uses necessary knowledge to better and test a solution significant to the level of care given. The DNP degree program is designed to prepare the clinicians to utilize science developed by researchers to enhance patient outcomes. The University of Pittsburgh has developed two different pathways for the DNP program, and this includes a BSN to DNP track and MSN to DN track.

The two DNP tracks have several key differences in terms of student qualifications, but finishing the program leads to a doctorate degree in a specific field of specialization. Students who prefer distance learning can take this DNP program online in order not to put their job commitments and responsibilities at risk. The DNP program at UPitt is taught by the faculty members who have a solid foundation in research, administrative as well as clinical practice experience. These individuals all work together in order to provide the best learning experience to its students who want to earn their Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Walden University

walden-universityWalden University offers a competitive online Doctor of Nursing Practice program which allows its graduates to reach the highest level of nursing practice and enhance their services in providing effective and efficient health care. The program gives its students the credentials to assume a higher leadership role in the organization, helping them to contribute to desirable patient outcomes and healthcare delivery system. Students will learn how to expand their expertise to improve patient care, gain the necessary skills and knowledge to train other nurses, and translate theory to an advanced nursing practice.

During its forty years of operation and providing quality education, Walden University has helped a numerous professional nurses reach their educational goals. Students at WU are being taught by its fantastic faculty members and staff who are qualified nursing practitioners and scholars themselves. They bring their unique academic perspective as well as practical experience to online learning environment. The DNP program at Walden University is designed to help the students gain relevant skills and explore current market trends, which are both necessary in creating a positive change in the lives of the people and the local communities.

The diverse community of the university also allows the students to gain valuable experiences in their field of specialization. Although the DNP program has online classes, students still have to attend number of classroom lectures and laboratory training. While doing this, they will receive solid first-hand support from the university’s faculty. Walden University is also a member of the North Central Association and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.