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Nursing Practice, Doctoral Degree


Overview


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed to be a terminal practice degree for clinically practicing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nursing leaders in health care organizations. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) suggests that the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice be moved from the master's degree to the doctorate level by the year 2015.The Institute of Medicine's 2002 report on Health Professions Education recommended strategies for restructuring all clinical education in the health professions to be consistent with the principles of 21st century health systems. These recommendations stressed that health science students and all working professionals develop and maintain proficiency in 5 core areas: delivering patient-centered care, working as part of interdisciplinary teams, practicing evidence-based medicine, focusing on quality improvement, and using information technology.

The UNDNP Mission, Goal, and Objectives

Mission:

The UNR/UNLV DNP program prepares graduates for advanced clinical practice and leadership roles to serve the health care needs of the people of Nevada, the nation, and the professional community. UNR/UNLV DNP graduates are equipped to assume a wide range of leadership roles in both direct and indirect health care settings. DNP graduates may function as specialists in their advanced practice clinical roles, nursing faculty, or as healthcare executives, program and policy analysts, and systems experts.

Goal:

The goal of the DNP degree is to prepare nurses to assume leadership roles in clinical practice, clinical teaching, and health care analysis.

Objectives

  1. Provide advanced nursing care to improve patient and population health care outcomes in various direct and indirect settings.
  2. Take leadership roles in the analysis, delivery and management of nursing care and health care systems.
  3. Provide evidence-based practice through the application of analytical methods, information systems technology, and clinical research.
  4. Act as change agent, leader, and advocate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of health care policy as it affects populations and the nursing profession.
  5. Collaborate with interprofessional teams to meet the healthcare needs of culturally and ethnically diverse individuals and populations.

The Move to Practice Doctorates

Recent reports from the Institute of Medicine describe the challenge of healthcare and represent a mandate for change in the educational program for the health professions. Nurses are constantly working with individuals who have a high level of preparation in their respective fields-physicians, pharmacists, and other health providers. Nursing educational preparation and the time commitment ought to be analogous to other health professions e.g., Pharm.D., Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy. Transition to the DNP will not alter the scope of practice for APNs and CNMs, which are outlined in the Nevada Nurse Practice Act.

Ph.D. or DNP?

Doctoral programs in nursing fall into two principal types: research-focused and practice focused. Most research-focused programs grant the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.), while a small percentage offers the Doctor of Nursing Science degree (DNS, DSN, or DNSc). Designed to prepare nurse scientists and scholars, these programs focus heavily on scientific content and research methodology; and all require an original research project and the completion and defense of a dissertation or linked research papers. Practice-focused doctoral programs are designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. They focus heavily on practice that is innovative and evidence-based, reflecting the application of credible research findings. The two types of doctoral programs differ in their goals and the competencies of their graduates. They represent complementary, alternative approaches to the highest level of educational preparation in nursing.

More information

Program Information

The UNDNP program is a post-master's collaborative program between the Orvis School of Nursing at the University of Nevada, Reno and the School of Nursing at University of Nevada Las Vegas. 

Cohorts of up to 14 to 15 students will be admitted to each School each year. The program is offered ONLINE with annual meetings of two to three-days on campus for orientation and culminating project purposes. The program is five semesters long with one summer session the first year. Students may enroll full-time and complete the program in two years or part time to complete the program in three years. Total credits are 39 with an ongoing change project (capstone) occurring throughout the program. (See program schedule example or p/t program schedule example.)

Admission Requirements


The applicant must:

  • hold a MS degree with a concentration in nursing from an accredited institution
  • be licensed at a level consistent with the focus of DNP study
  • hold national certification (or be eligible for certification) in an advanced practice role
  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 at the graduate level
  • provide documentation of clinical and leadership excellence
  • have completed graduate-level course work (with a grade of B or better) in pathophysiology, pharmacology, physical assessment, research & nursing theory (clinical track applicants)

These admission requirements are general requirements for all UNDNP students in the program. Specific detailed requirements broken down for the individual tracks (Nurse Executive and Advanced Practice) are listed below. These detailed requirements are specific based on the coursework required by each track.

Please refer to the specific track for the application checklist and detailed requirements.


University of Nevada Doctor of Nursing Practice Admission Requirements

Nurse Executive Track:

  • Students must hold a master's degree in nursing (MSN or MN). Exceptions to this will be made on a case-by-case basis and only for those students who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a master's degree in another health-related field (i.e. MBA, MHA, MPH etc.). Coursework from non-nursing master's degree must have significant content from nursing or a nursing focus. At a minimum, graduate level coursework must demonstrate a substantial study of Nursing Theory, Research, and Health Policy.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher at the graduate level.
  • Have completed graduate-level course work with a grade of B or better in nursing theory, research, and healthcare policy.
  • Hold an unencumbered license as a registered nurse.
  • Hold national certification or eligibility for certification reflective of advanced practice in a leadership role from a nationally recognized certification/credentialing organization.
  • Provide documentation of at least 500 hours of practice in a leadership role from educational experience, practice experience or equivalent course work in the area of administration, e.g., MBA, MHA, MPH, etc.

Checklist of items required for Nurse Executive Track application.

Students will submit the following*:

  • Application submitted through the graduate college/school.
  • Official transcripts for all colleges and universities attended (to be sent to the graduate school).
  • Copies of all RN and APN licensure (if applicable), national certifications and credentialing.
  • If not nationally certified as nurse executive or nurse leader, at the time of application, provide copy of certification eligible for and proof that student meets these criteria (example: student will provide certification eligibility criteria and supporting documents of her/his individual eligibility).
  • Current resume or CV.
  • Three letters of recommendation to validate current competency in nursing practice and leadership roles at the advanced practice level and the potential for doctoral study.
  • Submit a 500 word, typewritten document describing career objectives and areas of interest in advanced practice or leadership roles. Include reasons for pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree and specific interest in the University of Nevada program. The statement should describe past experiences and achievements in nursing practice, leadership, and scholarship.

*All documents should be completed at the time the application is submitted to the graduate college/school.


Advanced Practice Track:

  • Hold a master's degree in nursing (MSN or MN). Exceptions to this will be made on a case-by-case basis and only for those students who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a master's degree in another health-related field (e.g., MPH, MHA, etc.). Coursework from non-nursing master's degree must have significant content from nursing or a nursing focus. At a minimum, graduate level coursework must demonstrate a substantial study of Nursing Theory, Research, and Health Policy.
  • Have completed graduate-level course work with a grade of B or better in advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, physical assessment, nursing theory, research, and healthcare policy.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher at the graduate level.
  • Have completed graduate-level course work with a grade of B or better in nursing theory, research and healthcare policy
  • Hold an unencumbered license as a registered nurse and as an advanced practice nurse commensurate with state licensure.
  • Hold national certification in an advanced practice role from a nationally recognized certification/credentialing organization

Checklist of items required for application.

Students will submit the following*:

  • Application submitted through the graduate college/school.
  • Official transcripts for all colleges and universities attended (to be sent to the graduate college)
  • Copies of all RN and APN licensure, and national certifications
  • Current resume or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation to validate current competency in nursing practice and leadership roles at the advanced practice level and the potential for doctoral study
  • Submit a 500 word, typewritten document describing career objectives and areas of interest in advanced practice or leadership roles. Include reasons for pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree and specific interest in the University of Nevada program. The statement should describe past experiences and achievements in nursing practice, leadership and scholarship.

*All documents should be completed at the time the application is submitted to the graduate college/school.

Deadlines and Application


How to Apply

University of Nevada, Reno

- Application forms for UNR

UNR Orvis School of Nursing
Division of Health Sciences
Mail Stop 0134
Reno, Nevada
Voice: (775) 784-6841
Fax: (775) 784-4262

Deadline

The Application deadline for the UNDNP program at UNR for Fall 2014 is March 15, 2014.  Priority review of applications received by March 15, 2014 will take place with notification of acceptance by April 1, 2014.  Eligible applicants applying after March 15 will be reviewed and offered admission on a first come, first served basis. For additional program and admission information, please contact:

Dr. Christine Aramburu Alegria, UNR, Tel: (775) 682-7147 aramburu@unr.edu at Orvis School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Reno



Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Division of Health Sciences

Phone (775) 784-6977
Email healthsciences@unr.edu
Location Sarah H. Fleischmann Building

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