Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Ohio

Most of us have seen nurses’ roles expand quite a bit during our lifetimes. Periodically, the educational standards are set higher, too. Ohio has long been a leader when it comes to defining the very highest levels of professional nursing. In fact, Case Western Reserve was the first university in the country to offer a practice doctorate in nursing; the Frances Payne Bolton College of Nursing implemented the program way back in 1979. Until a few years ago, there were just a few programs in the nation. Most nurse practitioners delivered — and continue to deliver — primary care services with a very thorough master’s degree education.

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That is faster changing. In 2004, the AACN announced that advanced practice nursing courses were to be transitioned to the doctoral level. The AACN believes that the current healthcare system does not make the best use of resources; nor does it deliver positive outcomes at the level that is possible. This is not to say that nurse practitioners are at fault. Numerous studies have found that they perform duties that are within their scope at a level comparable to doctors. However, the Institute of Medicine has published reports that indicate that the healthcare system as a whole is failing. Nurses need a higher degree — one comparable to physical therapists and other practitioners — to be collaborators and leaders in improving healthcare systems.

The policy change does not mean that practicing NPs will lose their licensing; it does mean that those entering the field, or moving through the ranks, will be held to a new standard. The title that is conferred on new graduates is Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP. That is a different one than Ohio’s earliest graduates received. The AACN selected DNP in part because it was too easy to confuse ND — Doctor of Nursing — with Doctor of Naturopathy.

2015 is the year when the changes go into effect, but an ambitious nurse can begin DNP coursework now. In fact, Ohio has six programs already operating in 2011. Some are partnerships between schools; Wright State University and the University of Toledo have collaborated so that students can take courses through either institution.

The DNP Program Plan

There are various specialization options available. All are designed meet the Essentials of Doctoral Education established by the AACN; some go beyond these. Case Western Reserve now offers a combined DPN and PhD for people who want the highest level of education in both practice and research. One of the goals of this program is to create exceptionally well-prepared nursing educators. The website notes that candidates are eligible for the Faculty Loan Program, which pays a big part of one’s expenses in exchange for a future teaching commitment. (It should be noted that while no accredited DNP program has preparing faculty members as its main emphasis, nurses with clinical/ practice education do become instructors at nursing schools.)

Many schools have a program in place currently where nurses complete a master’s degree first, then move into a doctorate program. There will be some changes after the transitional period. Ohio State University notes that only master’s trained candidates can enter the DNP program currently, but that there will an option within a few years for baccalaureate-level candidates to enter DPN training directly. The University of Toledo notes that they expect that master’s students entering their program will have done at last 480 of the 1,000 required post-baccalaureate practice hours during their master‘s coursework, so the doctoral degree requires 520.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Ohio

Learn about the schools offering DNP Programs Online in Ohio.

Case Western Reserve

Contact Information:
Frances Payne Bolton College of Nursing
PH: 216-368-1869


Ohio State University College of Nursing

Contact Information:
1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210
PH: 614-292-4989


University of Cincinatti College of Nursing

Contact Information:
PO Box 210038
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0038
PH: 513-558-3600


University of Toledo

Contact Information:
Collier Building
4th Floor/Room 4425
PH: 419-383-5858


Wright State University-Miami Valley College of Nursing and Health

Contact Information:
PH: 937-775-3577


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