Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Mississippi

What is the DNP, and do nurses need this credential to practice at the highest level? This question can be answered in different ways. Several organizations have come out in support of doctoral education for APRNs. The Institute of Medicine issued warnings that the healthcare system as a whole was failing to produce outcomes at the extent possible. The American Academy of Colleges of Nursing took this to heart, citing the information in the results of their 2004 task force report. That year, the AACN introduced the practice doctorate as the new gold standard for advance practice nursing.

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They believed that the practice doctorate could do more than just teach nurses additional strategies for improving diagnosis and treatment. Among the standards put forth by the AACN are adept use of scientific research and mastery of healthcare technology. Other standards focus on leadership, public health, and advocacy. The population is changing and technology is exploding; there are simultaneously new opportunities and new challenges. If nurses had a degree comparable to practitioners in other fields, the AACN felt, they would be better equipped to be collaborators and visionaries.

The AACN has urged that the transition be complete by 2015. While accrediting bodies have not placed schools on a strict deadline, many programs have already made the switch. Between 2004 and 2011, the number of practice doctorate programs increased from four to 120. For NPs already in the field, the doctorate has become a viable option.

Nurses sometimes wonder whether a doctorate in nursing will allow them to take on expanded roles or become more autonomous. The answer is no — at least not directly. Those issues are defined by the Nurse Practice Act. According to Law and Ethics for Advanced Practice Nursing, though, the law has molded itself to accommodate new APRN roles over time. The authors, Diane Kjervik and Edith Brous, believe that nurse practitioners will take on an increasingly collaborative role in the future.

What is the DNP Program About and What Are Some Ways to Pay for It?

Mississippi’s DNP programs are based on the Essentials put forth by the AACN. Eight standards are incorporated into the DNP curriculum, regardless of program emphasis. These include a broad range of concepts, applicable to public health as well as individual medical care. Candidates can expect to be immersed in public policy and analytical research methodologies. The program culminates with a capstone project which has real world application. Unlike a PhD dissertation, the focus is not on creating new bodies of knowledge, but on pulling together as much knowledge as possible to achieve desired outcomes. This might take the form of a quality improvement or program evaluation project. Possible focus areas, according to the University of Southern Mississippi, are population health, AIDS, workforce health, diabetes, obesity, or health education programming.

The state of Mississippi values DNP-trained nurses — and helps pay for their education in exchange for a future work commitment. This commitment can be in a nursing school or “in the service of public health”. The Nursing Education Loan Scholarship funds students at the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center up to $5,000 a year (subject to the availability of moneys).

The coming years will see a number of transitions. Like many schools across the country, Mississippi’s institutions have not quite phased out master’s level programs for practitioners. The University of Mississippi currently admits master’s trained nurses into the DNP program, but allows those who have a BSN in nursing and a master’s in another field. The University of Southern Mississippi specifies that applicants should have a master’s in nursing practice; additionally, they should have identified an area of focus for their capstone project. Students who are not at this level may still enroll in master’s level nurse practitioner courses. The University of Southern Mississippi currently offers neonatal, family, and gerontology nurse practitioner preparation.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Mississippi

Explore some of the schools offering Online DNP Programs in Mississippi.

The University of Southern Mississippi

Contact Information:
118 College Drive #5095
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
PH: 601-266-5445


University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing

Contact Information:
2500 North State St.
Jackson, MS 39216
PH: 601-984-6222


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