1. How is the DNP distinguished from UNMC's PhD in nursing degree? Will the DNP replace nurse practitioner programs now in the master's program?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for nurses seeking a clinical degree in nursing practice or administration and offers an alternative to the research-focused doctorate degree (PhD) and doctorate in nursing science degree (DNSc).   We will continue to offer master's degrees in nurse practitioner specialty programs. However, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has recommended that the DNP degree be required as the degree for all new advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists) beginning in the year 2015. The DNP program will expand the educational preparation of advanced practice nurses to work in an increasingly complex health care environment.  

2. How does the DNP program differ from UNMC's master's degree specialty programs for nurse practitioners?

This program builds on the College's existing master's program. Advanced practice registered nurses (who already have master's degrees in a clinical specialty or administration) may enroll in the postmaster DNP program (33 credits) and obtain a DNP degree.   The additional education emphasizes advanced clinical care, health systems improvement, leadership and the translation of research into direct patient care. The college will eventually open this track to students with a bachelor's degree in nursing. These students will complete 81 to 87 credit hours, depending on their advanced practice specialty concentration.  

3. How is DNP different from advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) designation?

The majority of nurses who obtain the DNP are or will become APRNs (clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, or nurse anesthetists). The DNP degree does not change the scope of practice for APRNs in Nebraska, but rather expands education so APRNs are prepared to translate research into patient care, lead organizational change to improve health care quality and safety, and work in interprofessional teams.  

4. What's the benefit to APRN nurses who want to advance their degree? Is there an increase in pay?

The degree will give them greater ability to enhance the care they already provide — whether that's through translating research into care or developing new models of care in a hospital or a community. These additional skills will enable them to be innovators, foster care quality and patient safety, and translate research findings for the benefit of patients. Salaries are better in some areas of the country. Local and regional market forces influence pay.  

5. How will the DNP address the nursing faculty shortage?

Graduates will be clinical experts and thus be qualified to serve as clinical faculty in schools of nursing.  

6. How long does it take to get a DNP degree?

For students who are already APRNs, it will take from one to two years. For students with bachelor's degrees in nursing, it will take about three years depending on choice of specialty — gerontology, acute care/adult health, pediatrics, women's health, psychiatric mental health,  family nurse practitioner, or administration.  

7. How many students will be accepted a year?

The college will accept a limited number of APRNs each year in the first two or three years of the program. Following this initial period, the program will expand enrollment and accept students with bachelor's degrees in nursing.  

8. Where and how will classes be offered?

The degree will be offered at the college's existing sites. Curriculum delivery will use the College's advanced distance education technology. Students can satisfy clinical requirements in or near their local communities.  

9. How do I apply?

Application is done online. Slots are limited and admission is competitive. Applying as early as possible is to your advantage. Application will open on October 1.   Other DNP questions?