Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Nebraska

Why do advanced practice nurses need doctoral level education? The University of Nebraska Medical Center addressed this question in a recent program proposal. Of paramount importance is patient safety. UNMC cites the Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation. The Foundation notes that the nursing profession has changed over the years, and that nursing education must change to meet new demands.

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It’s not just nursing that has failed to keep pace, however; it’s medicine as a whole. The Institute of Medicine has claimed that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die annually as a result of medical error. After a death or preventable disability, family members often ask “What if?” All too often, there is a very real “if only”. Healthcare is a world of preventable deaths and missed opportunities, if one is to believe well-respected national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the IOM.

Spurred in part by IOM reports of a failing system, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing undertook a task force in 2004 to examine doctorate programs for advanced practice nurses. The committee concluded that such programs provided the best preparation. APNs with doctoral level education were better able to evaluate cutting edge research and use it to inform their decision making. They were also in a better position to design programs to increase healthcare access and prevention.

The AACN recommended that all advanced practice nursing courses transition to the new terminal degree by 2015. Other organizations have added their voices, making for a near mandate for change. The number of programs, not surprisingly, has ballooned. Well over a hundred programs were created between 2004 and 2011, and many more are in the works. Demand, meanwhile, continues to exceed supply. The UNMC reports that 50% of qualified applicants in the neighboring states of Missouri and Kansas are turned away. Nebraska, the medical center notes, currently has only one in-state program, at Creighton University; a second would help the state meet demand — and increase the pool of potential nursing faculty.

DNP Program Tracks and Options

DNP programs are not just for clinical practitioners. There are two main tracks: direct and indirect patient care. The latter would be appropriate for nursing executives and public health nurses as well as informatics specialists. Nebraska students may enroll in in-state or out-of-state programs. They can expect to do 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate clinical practicum work (or 500 post-master’s hours). With the exception of the clinical hours, coursework can often be completed at a distance.

All programs are based on the standards set by the AACN in 2006. During the transitional period, some programs admit only students with master’s degrees. The UNMC, for instance, notes that they plan to offer only a post-master’s track at the onset. Such programs are sometimes termed DNP completion programs. They focus on the standards that are often missing from master’s level education. Additional competencies include epidemiology, health policy, health information technology, and scholarship. Students apply their knowledge of research and other evidence-based strategies to complete a scholarly project.

Creighton University is able to accommodate nurses in the most common nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist roles. For nurse practitioners, the options include family, pediatric, adult, acute care, adult mental health, and neonatal; for clinical nurse specialists, they include neonatal, pediatrics, and adult care. Some tracks include an option to concentrate in gerontology, cardiology, or oncology.

DNP courses require a basic knowledge of statistics. Students who have not taken an undergraduate class in statistics will need to take one as a prerequisite to admission. Students from non-English speaking backgrounds can expect to submit TOEFL scores. Other admission requirements include a personal statement and recommendations. Candidates may be rated on clinical competency, intellectual capacity, and communication skills.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Nebraska

Find schools offering Online DNP Programs in Nebraska.

Creighton University School of Nursing

Contact Information:
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, Nebraska 68178
PH: 1-800-544-5071


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