Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in New Jersey

What is the DNP and why is it generating such excitement in the nursing field? The DNP, or Doctor of Nursing Practice, is a practice doctorate, and it is not an entirely new concept. The first practice doctorate was established in 1979 at Case Western, and evolved over a period of years. There were few doctoral programs focused on clinical work or management, though, prior to 2004. It was then that the AACN announced the results of a two-year task force: Doctoral level education gave advanced practice nurses the best preparation, and it should become the standard by 2015.

The AACN envisioned that the DNP would improve healthcare in both direct and indirect ways. Classes in health informatics and biostatistics would directly impact decision making and patient outcomes. The more prestigious degree would allow nurses to sit at the table as equals with other health practitioners; this would allow them to take a more active role in improving policy. The AACN further predicted that highly trained professionals in other fields would look on nursing as a more attractive career choice.

Other organizations, including the AANP, CCNE, and AANA, have embraced the goals, though not necessarily the 2015 mandate. It may be too early in the transition to confirm whether professionals are entering from other fields; there are certainly a lot of highly educated nurses coveting the DNP in New Jersey, though! The director of the DNP program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey notes that she is seeing an increasing number of applications from nurses who had previously earned doctorates in other fields.

What Types of DNP Programs Are There?

DNP programs in New Jersey are offered for both advanced practice nurses and nursing leaders. The focus of an advanced practice course may be on direct patient care, or it may be on public health at the system level. Programs for nurse leaders may be similarly divided. Fairleigh Dickinson University, for example, offers one track in clinical leadership and another in organizational leadership.

Accredited programs are based on the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Most of the standards are common to multiple tracks, though the eighth does mention advanced competencies in one’s practice area. Post-masters courses can sometimes accommodate students with a wide range of specialties. The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing considers their direct patient-care track to be appropriate for all advanced practice nurses (clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists). A separate UMDNJ track, Health Systems Administration, is for administrators and, in some cases, educators or clinical nurse specialists. UMDNJ’s (and the state’s) first DNP graduating class, in 2008, boasted nurses in widely varying positions: a pediatric nurse practitioner, an associate professor, and even the chief executive of a hospital.

During the transitional period, there are more programs offered at the post-master’s level than the post-baccalaureate one. Seton Hall University does offer a BSN to DNP program which allows students to specialize in health care administration or prepare for licensure as either pediatric or adult care nurse practitioners.

Some DNP programs are full-time; others are designed to accommodate working professionals. Candidates should be prepared to put in approximately 500 post-master’s clinical hours. There is still a lot of flexibility, though, as some schools offer classes online. Students will complete a capstone project and may be asked to develop a portfolio as well. Projects should be evidence-based, but might take any of a number of forms: health care policy analysis, education program design, or coalition leadership.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in New Jersey

star Learn about nursing schools offering Online DNP Programs in NJ.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

1000 River Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
PH: 201-692-2000

Website: view.fdu.edu/default.aspx?id=6391

Rutgers College of Nursing

180 University Avenue
Newark, New Jersey 07102
PH: 973-353-5293

Website: nursing.rutgers.edu/prospective_students/academic_programs/doctor_of_nursing_practice

Seton Hall University

400 South Orange Ave
South Orange, NJ 07079
PH: 973-761-9583

Website: shu.edu/academics/nursing/phd-nursing-practice/index.cfm

UMDNJ-SN

PH: 973-972-9943

Website: sn.umdnj.edu/academics/dnp/

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