Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Texas
As of 2011, Texas has six Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, producing very highly educated nurse practitioners and leaders. It took a lot of hard work and vision to get the state’s nursing profession to this point. It, in fact, reflects a series of very recent events. In 2004, the AACN released the results of their DNP Task Force, announcing that all advanced practice nursing programs should be moved to the doctorate level by 2015. The following year, Texas put together its own DNP Roadmap Task Force, under the banner of the Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education and the Nursing Education Policy Coalition.
- Earn your RN-to-BSN online from Capella University
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Their whitepaper, released in 2006, largely echoes the AACN. An exceptionally well trained nursing workforce would produce better outcomes and use resources more efficiently, the task force contended. Texas truly needed highly educated nursing professionals, they explained; hours for medical residents had decreased, and nurses needed to fill in. The task force also felt that DNP programs could help with the shortage of nursing faculty and, in an indirect way, ease the shortage of nurses. (Since educators need a doctorate degree to move up to the highest teaching positions; master’s trained educators often head back to the private sector where they find positions that pay them better.)
This was not all. The task force further noted that there was a demand for the DNP in Texas, and if the state didn’t set up programs, DNP candidates would go elsewhere for their education, and possibly end up working elsewhere, too. All in all, it was a convincing argument. The message was heeded. Texas now has public as well as private institutions offering the DNP, and they cater to the needs of different nursing professionals. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners alike can continue their education at the doctoral level.
DNP Program Specializations and What Career Opportunities May Present?
A DNP student has a range of choices. The AACN has been adamant about doctoral level education for advanced practice nurses, but there are other tracks available as well. A candidate can often find multiple degree tracks within the same school. Texas Christian University, for instance, has both an advanced practice nursing track and a nurse administration track. Texas Tech has advanced practice nursing and nurse leadership.
What can a student expect to learn in a doctoral program? The DNP is a practice-oriented degree as opposed to a research one, but this does not mean it includes only clinical coursework. All programs include courses on healthcare systems, both human and technological, and in some programs, these are the main emphasis. There is generally a final project that involves translational research. Candidates can also expect to complete 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours (approximately 500 if entering post-master’s).
There are a number of possible careers for DNP-trained nurses. The Texas DNP Task Force notes the following: Quality Improvement Director, Vice President of Patient Care, and Clinical Information Technology Specialist. Although DNP programs do not have pedagogy as a main focus, many graduates do become nurse educators. According to statistics published on the site of the University of Texas-Houston, 78% of the students in Texas’ first DNP graduating class were practicing while another 22% were in academia.
Contact Information for DNP Programs in Texas
Learn about the nursing schools offering DNP Programs Online.
3700 Worth Street
Dallas, Texas 75246
Texas Christian University – Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences
TCU Box 298627
Fort Worth, TX 76129
Texas Tech University
School of Nursing Graduate Programs
3601 4th Street, MS6264
Lubbock, TX 79430
Texas Woman’s University
5500 Southwestern Medical Avenue
Dallas, TX 75235
University of Texas-Arlington College of Nursing
Arlington, Texas 76019-0407
University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston
Houston, TX 77030