Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Montana

Montana places fewer restrictions on nurse practitioners than many other states do. In recognizing the potential of highly trained nurses, the state is ahead of its time. Key organizations believe that nursing is vital to staving off healthcare crisis, and not just in rural states like Montana. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on Nursing is based on the premise that nurses can do much to shape the future of healthcare. Among the premises: Nurses should receive higher levels of education, and they should practice to the extent of that education. Those with the highest levels should be partners with doctors in reshaping healthcare policy.

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These recommendations are applauded by nurses around the nation who have chosen to pursue doctorate level education. The AACN conducted a task force between 2002 and 2004 and announced that the practice doctorate (now termed the DNP) should become the new standard for advanced practice nurses. The AANP noted in a 2005 conference report that their panelists all felt that the DNP offered the best preparation; it was now important that NPs not only delivered safe care, but that they put nursing in the broader context of socioeconomics and healthcare policy.

AANA, which accredits programs for nurse anesthetists, shared the AACN vision, but set a later deadline: 2025. ACME, which accredits programs for nurse-midwives, stated that they believed there should be multiple points of entry for midwives, and that the practice doctorate should be an option but not a mandate.

What One May Expect to Find in a DNP Program in Montana

As of 2011, Montana does not have a DNP program, but there are plans underway at Montana State University-Bozeman; the website informs prospective students to watch for details. The Bozeman campus currently offers nurse practitioner master’s programs in family practice and psychiatric/ mental health. Since the school is CCNE-accredited, it is expected that at least these two programs will transition. The current nurse practitioner program includes, among its highlights, cross-cultural healthcare experience with Native American populations. There are distance options available so that nurses throughout the state can be served.

What can a DNP student expect besides more advanced diagnostic and treatment coursework in his own specialty? There is actually quite a lot! The AACN lists eight essential standards, which are common to all programs regardless of specialty. Programs help bridge the gap between scientific research and clinical practice; students learn biostatistics, health informatics, and research methodologies. They also learn to address health issues at the population level. They are expected to analyze biostatististical and epistemological data and use it to implement programs and evaluate care delivery. The final project often involves translational research — taking existing knowledge and applying it to particular populations. Students might carry out a quality improvement project, for instance, or evaluate existing programs on the basis of costs and benefits.

Doctoral students usually work closely with preceptors in their field to develop high levels of clinical competency. As a rural state, Montana can of course not be expected to offer every program within its borders, at least not for initial practice. Family practice and mental health (the NP specialties currently offered) are the most in-demand for rural practice in Montana. Those who do want to pursue other programs may want to look into online options. Post-masters DNP programs include approximately 500 hours of clinical practice while post-baccalaureate programs include a full 1,000 hours. Outside of the clinical requirement, however, most coursework can be done from a distance. Enrolling in an out-of-state program won’t necessarily provide a financial burden. Montana is numbered among the fifteen WICHE states; this program allows students to enroll in some specialty graduate programs out-of-state at an in-state tuition rate.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Montana

Learn about schools from out of state offering DNP Programs Online in Montana.

Montana State University

Contact Information:
P.O. Box 173560
Bozeman, MT 59717-3560
PH: 406-994-3783


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