Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in North Dakota

Many people are surprised at the idea of a doctorate degree for nurses. In some cases, this is because they have held onto the image of nurses as being basic caregivers or assistants to doctors. This image is far from complete. Nurses come from a different educational paradigm than doctors, and they often get their healthcare education little by little instead of through four straight years of immersion. Ultimately, though, some do become primary care givers. North Dakota’s rural population depends on advanced practice nurses to make diagnoses and dispense medications.

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  • Online Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Nursing Programs and Certificates

Today’s advanced practice nurses are in the same position as other healthcare practitioners: They are finding that while their education may have taught them to heal fractured limbs, it didn’t teach them to heal a fragmented healthcare system. In recent years, the Institute of Medicine has been a whistle blower, calling attention to failings within the system. They have estimated that at least 44,000 deaths occur each year as the result of medical errors. Many of these could be prevented if health information technologies were implemented, and if members of the healthcare team knew how to use and monitor them. The human infrastructure is also a problem. Americans are living longer and are developing more chronic but manageable conditions. In order to manage these effectively, health professionals need to work as members of interdisciplinary teams. Here their training falls short. Not only does medicine fail to give people the level of care they need, it does so at greater expense than what is necessary.

Could highly educated nurses be a part of the solution? The IOM believes this is the case; so do other organizations like the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The AACN, which has over 600 member schools, conducted several task force studies in the early years of the 21st century. They determined that the practice doctorate, or DNP, should become the new standard for advance practice, and that the nation could make the transition by 2015. The transformation is well on its way.

DNP Program Curriculum and Specializations

DNP programs teach advanced clinical skills, but they also teach nurses to put their work into its societal and economic framework. The standards include leadership, professional relationships, and health care policy and advocacy. Nurses are also taught to put nursing within a scientific context. DNP candidates learn the scientific underpinnings of the nursing field. They also learn to evaluate health information technologies and medical literature and study health at the population level. Scholarly research is emphasized. The world of medicine is ever changing, so professionals need the skills to be adept consumers of new information.

Some students choose to practice for two years at the RN level, then enter a BSN to DNP program. Others pursue careers as advanced practice nurses at the master’s level, then enroll in a shorter MSN to DNP program. Students of course need to consider the options that are available in their own area. Some schools only offer one or two specialties in their BSN to DNP program. They may, however, be able to accommodate nurses with a wide rage of advanced practice specialties in their MSN to DNP program. This is the case at North Dakota State University.

One exciting component of a practice doctorate in nursing is the capstone project. The project involves translational research — in other words, taking existing knowledge and applying it at the population level. In some cases, a nurse can improve her chances of being accepted into a DNP program if she gives some thought to her project beforehand. North Dakota State University asks post-master’s candidates to identify a problem and write it up in a ten to fifteen page paper at the time of application. The paper should demonstrate APA format and proper use of scientific references.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in North Dakota

Find schools offering Online DNP Programs in North Dakota.

North Dakota State University

Contact Information:
Sudro Hall, Room 136
NDSU Dept. 2670
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108
PH: 701-231-7395

Website: ndsu.edu/nursing/doctor_of_nursing_practice

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