Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Michigan

In Michigan and elsewhere, the nursing profession is abuzz with acronyms: DNP, AACN, CCNE, and IOM. What do these have in common? Each has had a role in improving healthcare by advocating even higher levels of nursing education. The AACN announced the results of a task force in 2004. The task force members had done an in-depth study of practice doctorate programs around the nation. They determined that they gave nurses the best preparation to not only achieve better health outcomes on an individual level, but to be a force for change at the community and global levels. The recommendations were an answer to IOM criticism of the medical establishment. Healthcare was fractionalized and inefficient, the Institute of Medicine had reported, and outcomes weren’t at the level that was possible.

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Information and technology offered much promise, the AACN noted, and nurses could be a force for change if they sat as equals with other highly educated health practitioners. Part of the impediment, it seemed, was the lack of a proper credential. Advanced practice nurses already took programs that were longer than master’s programs in other fields, yet they didn’t have a degree to show for it. It was time for a new standard, and that standard would be the Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP. The AACN urged that all programs be transitioned by 2015.

The decision has not been without controversy, but other organizations have come out in support. AANA, which accredits programs for nurse anesthetists, embraced the guidelines, but set a longer timeline. Schools had until 2025 to complete the transition for programs in nurse anesthesia. Meanwhile, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, working with IOM, put forth a set of recommendations of its own. Nurses should practice at the level their education allowed, and highly educated nurses should be on a par with doctors when it comes to shaping policy.

Schools across the nation are heeding the recommendations of these organizations, in many cases far ahead of the timeframe. And professionals within the Great Lakes State are excited about the new educational opportunities. Michigan has its own group on the Doctor of Nursing Practice ning (, boasting more members than any other state. A Michigan student can find meeting minutes and other discussions on the site.

A Few Stats on DNP Programs

There are a number of program options within Michigan. Not all DNP courses are for practitioners with specialized clinical interests; some focus on management and leadership Grand Valley State University, for example, offers Nursing Administration and Health Care Systems. Regardless of program emphasis, DNP students can expect coursework in analytical research, informatics, epidemiology, systems leadership, and health advocacy.

DNP programs are academically rigorous, yet they can be surprisingly flexible. Some are geared toward working professionals. There may be part-time and full-time options; often, much of the class work is offered online.

Prospective students should realize that clinical hours are included in the requirements for the DNP degree. A candidate must complete 1,000 hours beyond that which was required for his or her BSN degree. A post-master’s student can expect to complete at least 400, often more. The number depends on her background as well as the requirements of the particular program. There is a capstone project, which is often done in conjunction with clinical hours. Unlike a PhD dissertation, the DNP project involves primarily translational research. It is about applying theory to real-world situations: for example, health policy, pilot projects, or quality improvement.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Michigan

Find nursing schools offering DNP Programs Online.

Grand Valley State University

Contact Information:
Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences
301 Michigan St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3314
PH: 616-331-7160


Madonna University

Contact Information:
36600 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, Michigan 48150
PH: 800-852-4951


Oakland University School of Nursing

Contact Information:
444 O’Dowd Hall
Rochester, MI 48309-4401
PH: 248-370-4253


University of Michigan-Flint

Contact Information:
303 E. Kearsley Street
Flint, MI 48502
PH: 810-762-3171


Wayne State University

Contact Information:
5557 Cass Ave
Detroit, Michigan, 48202
PH: 313-577-4070


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