All nurses focus on patient care and prepare to be leaders who work to improve health care for people and communities across the lifespan. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice-focused doctorate, meaning more time is spent with patients providing advanced care and little or no time is spent researching and teaching. The MSN to DNP program is designed for nurses that hold a master’s degree and are specialists in such sub fields as nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, certified nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist.
Overview of a MSN to DNP Bridge Program
- Students learn advanced clinical and leadership skills in their field.
- Students prepare to be future clinical leaders who design models of health care delivery, evaluate clinical outcomes, identify and manage health care needs of populations, and use technology and information to transform health care systems.
- The curriculum incorporates nursing science with ethics, as well as the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational science to develop and evaluate nursing practice and delivery models.
- Coursework teaches students how to use analytic methods to design, implement, and evaluate best practice models for healthcare delivery; and effectively develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based approaches to advance nursing and health care.
- Admission to these programs are contingent on official transcripts that verify a bachelor’s or master’s degree, a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and sometimes a GRE score.
Steps to Obtain a MSN to DNP
- Earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
- Receive a Registered Nurse Certification.
- Enroll and complete a MSN to DNP program from an accredited school like Capella University, Georgetown University, Kaplan University, South University, or University of Cincinnati.
- Obtain DNP certification and proper licensure, which varies by state.
The job setting will vary depending on what specific job you get. Possible options include private practices, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, hospitals (intensive care unit), neonatal unit, internal medicine clinics, ambulatory care, family practice offices. While it is not often a prerequisite to find a job, membership with a regional or specialty nursing organization can increase your employability. The online community Doctors of Nursing Practice is a great resource for these associations, scholarship and grant information, and other general DNP resources.
The average salary of a DNP varies by location, experience, and the type of employer you have. For more information on your earning potential, please refer to our nursing job outlook page.