Many nurses want to advance their careers at an accelerated pace and choose the Bachelor of Nursing Science (BSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) bridge program. The DNP is a terminal degree within nursing. There’s no degree above it. Obtaining a DNP can open many doors for nurses.
In this post, we will explore the following:
- What are the types of BSN to DNP programs?
- What are the requirements for BSN to DNP programs?
- What is the BSN to DNP curriculum?
- What are some of the top BSN to DNP programs?
- How do I pay for a BSN to DNP program?
What are the types of BSN to DNP programs?
Nurses have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to a BSN to DNP program. The nurse must pick a specialty as most programs require selection upon applying. Some of the typical specialties include:
Within most of those specialties are subspecialties for nurses to choose from. For example, there are pediatric nurse practitioners and psychiatric nurse practitioners.
Additionally, some people will prefer to take the organizational route in advanced nursing. For example:
- Healthcare policy
- Information systems
What are the requirements for BSN to DNP programs?
Nurses who desire to enter into a DNP program will have to meet specific requirements. The requirements we have listed are not exhaustive and often vary from school to school. However, we have tried to include the most relevant ones. The requirements are:
- Having a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited university
- Scoring at least 500 or better on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Possessing an active nursing license in the school’s state you want to attend
- In-person interview
- Personal essay
- Letters of recommendation
- Having a competitive GPA (usually 3.0 or above)
What is the BSN to DNP Curriculum?
Once students receive admission into the bridge program, they first must complete the requirements of an MSN degree. Students who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will take three courses:
- Advanced Pharmacology
- Advanced Health Assessment
- Advanced Pathophysiology
The MSN emphasis of these programs includes:
- Health Promotion
- General Research Methods
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Ethics in Nursing and Health Care
- Principles of Practice Management
After completing those requirements, students have a chance to take additional courses related to their BSN-DNP focus. The specific coursework reflects the professional nursing organizations and certifying bodies:
- Nurse practitioner: The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties’ Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies
- Certified nurse-midwife: The American College of Nurse-Midwives’ Competencies for Master’s Level Midwifery Education
- Clinical nurse specialist: The National CNS Competency Task Force’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Care Competencies
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist: The Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA)
- Nursing informatics: Healthcare Leadership Alliance’s HLA Competency Directory
- Nurse administrators: The American Organization of Nurse Executives’ Nurse Executive Competencies
Nursing students must also complete clinical hours for their program. Clinical requirements are usually about 500 hours of clinical rotations.
After completing the MSN requirements, students with an APRN focus must pass the national certification examination in their specialty through a certifying body recognized by the state Board of Nursing.
The DNP segment of the BSN to DNP program includes courses such as:
- Interprofessional Collaboration
- Clinical Informatics
- Health Policy and Advanced Nursing Practice
- Health Care Delivery Systems
- Evidence-Based Practice
- Leadership in Healthcare
- Project Management
- Clinical and DNP Project
DNP programs require about 1,000 hours of practice experience (500 can be transferred from the MSN program).
At the end of the DNP program, the student will have to present a final project. They will work with a mentor for the final project. Full-time students can complete the BSN to DNP program in three to four years.
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What are some of the top BSN to DNP programs?
According to US News, the top five DNP universities are:
1. Rush University – A private school in Chicago, IL, that has an application deadline of Jan.2 and an application fee of $115 for US residents.
2. Johns Hopkins University – A private school in Baltimore, MD, with an application deadline of Jan. 1 and an application fee of $75 for US residents.
3. The University of Washington – A public school in Seattle, WA that has an application deadline of Jan.15 and an application fee of $85 for US residents.
4. Duke University – A private school in Durham, NC, with an application deadline of Dec.1 and an application fee of $50 for US residents.
5. Columbia University – A private school in New York, NY, with an application deadline of Jan.20 and an application fee of $75 for US residents.
How do I pay for an BSN to DNP Program?
After deciding what school you want to attend, you need to figure out how to finance your education. A doctoral program can be expensive, especially considering that you’re completing a bridge program that requires three to four years to finish.
The first thing you need to do is assess your finances. Will you need financial assistance? To determine if you’re eligible for financial aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Schools will use this test to determine your eligibility for need-based grants, scholarships, and student loans. Many programs offer student loan forgiveness following graduation.
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