Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Missouri

Missouri has five DNP programs, which provide advanced practice nurses and nursing leaders with the highest level of training. A few years back, there were none. Missouri is ahead of schedule in heeding the recommendations put forth by the AACN, AANP, and other key nursing organizations.

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How did the DNP become the new standard? Spurred in part by criticism of the overall healthcare system by IOM (the Institute of Medicine), the AACN began a two year task force study of doctoral nursing programs. They concluded in 2004 that the practice doctorate best prepared nurse practitioners to work in an increasingly complex healthcare system. They believed nurses needed additional training in biostatistics, research methodologies, and other evidence-based decision making concepts. In order to improve health at the global level, they also needed courses in population health, leadership, and advocacy. The AACN also thought the higher terminal degree could attract professionals from other fields and increase the faculty pool. One thing the nation needs is more nurses!

Other professionals have voiced support for doctoral education. The panelists at the 2005 AANP Conference all felt that the degree offered the highest level of preparation.

What are the DNP Program Entry Options in Missouri and What Curriculum Can Be Expected?

In Missouri, DNP courses are available to nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse anesthetists. There are several tracks, depending on whether a nursing student enters as a BSN, a master’s trained advanced practice nurse, or a master’s level student who lacks a clinical specialty. Some programs focus on direct patient care, others on healthcare systems. While requirements vary from college to college, those seeking admission can expect to submit a curriculum vitae and an essay. Some schools will ask students to declare an area of interest so they can match them up with the best preceptor.

What can a nursing student expect to learn in a DNP completion program? The coursework will contain concepts specific to the student’s own specialty, but all accredited programs are based on the essential standards put forth by the AACN. Health informatics and epidemiology are among the subjects one can expect to study. Epidemiology focuses on health at the population level; for instance, one might study why some groups of people are prone to diabetes.

Among the additional requirements for the DNP: By program’s end, candidates must have completed 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours. Clinical hours obtained in a master’s level program are counted toward the requirement. Nationwide post-master’s DNP programs typically include at least 500 clinical hours; some Missouri schools include 550 or 600 hours. There may be significant differences in the focus of postmaster’s clinical hours. Saint Louis University notes that theirs are in indirect patient care.

DNP programs culminate in a capstone project. This differs from a PhD dissertation in that the focus is not on creating new knowledge, but rather on translating existing knowledge. Examples include project evaluation, pilot studies, and consulting.

Nursing students sometimes ask whether the DNP is a good choice for nursing educators. The AACN envisioned that some of those with the credential would become nurse educators, indeed helping to alleviate the nursing crisis. CCNE-accredited DNP programs do not have nursing education as a main focus, but may include some coursework. St Louis University notes that their DNP students can take three optional classes focused on teaching. A fourth class is available for those who want, in addition to their doctorate, certification as a nurse educator.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Missouri

Explore the nursing schools offering DNP Programs Online in Missouri.

Maryville University

Contact Information:
650 Maryville University Drive
St. Louis, MO 63141
PH: 314-529-9453

Saint Louis University School of Nursing

Contact Information:
3525 Caroline Street
St. Louis, MO 63104-1099
PH: 314-977-8900


University of Missouri – Columbia

Contact Information:
S235 School of Nursing
Columbia, Mo. 65211
PH: 573-882-0277


University of Missouri – Kansas City

Contact Information:
College of Nursing
Health Sciences Building
2464 Charlotte
Kansas City, MO 64108
PH: 816-235-1700


University of Missouri -St Louis

Contact Information:
One University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63121-4400
PH: 314-516-6066


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