DNP Frequently Asked Questions

What is the DNP?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice doctorate for nurses.  It represents the highest level of academic preparation for nursing practice (www.aacn.nche.edu/DNP/index.htm).

What is the difference between a PhD and a DNP?

The DNP curriculum emphasizes advanced nursing practice and building leaders in practice, education, and management whereas the PhD curriculum emphasizes the research process and dissemination of results.  Both DNP and PhD  graduates work together to shape nursing practice based on evidence based care.

Why is the DNP degree desired?

Nursing practice is influenced by the rapid expansion of knowledge, increased patient complexity, demands for quality of care and patient safety, and need for nursing personnel and faculty who have the highest level of educational preparation.  Graduates of DNP programs will function as nursing leaders that advance clinical practice to improve health systems and outcomes for diverse patients, patient groups, populations and communities.  DNP graduates will have the skills necessary to translate nursing research into practice.  The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) identifies the need for nursing education to meet the demands of an increasingly complex healthcare system and recommends the DNP as the terminal degree for advanced practice nurses.

What is an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN)?

According to the American Nurses Association (http://nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/AdvancedPracticeNurses) advanced practice nurses include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives.  Advanced practice nurses are instrumental in the future of healthcare.  APRNs serve as primary care providers and are at the forefront of providing preventative care to the public.

Will this program prepare me for any of the APRN roles?

The BSN to DNP program tracks at Nebraska Methodist College graduate APRNs who function as Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) or Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialists (AG-CNS).   The APRN to DNP curriculum allows practicing advanced practice nurses (nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists) to attain their terminal degrees. 

Why choose a DNP over master’s level preparation?

Ongoing healthcare reform will increase the demand for quality and affordable care for all Americans.  This mandate will create a dramatic need for more primary care providers and the need for more APRNs is expected to escalate.  While many APRNs complete the requirements for advanced practice through a master's (MSN) program, the DNP program offers additional competencies related to organizational leadership, information systems, patient care technology, healthcare policy, interprofessional collaboration and clinical prevention for individuals and populations.

These additional competencies will better prepare the graduate to assume a primary role in meeting the healthcare needs across populations and communities. The DNP provides equity with other discipline's professional doctorate programs (Institute of Medicine, 2011).  The AACN position statement (2004) advocated the transition from specialty nursing practice at the master's level to the DNP.  The target goal for this transition is 2015. See the 2006 report from the DNP Roadmap Task Force (PDF Download).  

Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: leading change, advancing health. Washington DC: National Academies Press.  The 2010 electronic version of this document may be retrieved online at http://thefutureofnursing.org/IOM-Report.

Is a dissertation required?

No. A hallmark of the practice doctorate is the completion of a scholarly Capstone project that demonstrates the synthesis of the DNP role through translational research within a population.  As part of the scholarly Capstone project, the student will prepare a manuscript describing the scholarly project and present the project findings.

The program is online, what does that mean?

The DNP program at Nebraska Methodist College will be completed using in an online environment that has synchronous and asynchronous components.  Students will complete a large portion of the classwork in an asynchronous environment completing and submitting work online.  Synchronous meeting via a conferencing platform that allows for audio and videochat will be used throughout the semester.  These synchronous meetings will be scheduled for late afternoon/evening hours.

Will I ever have to come to campus? If so how often?

BSN to DNP candidates will be expected to come to campus three times during the program, APRN to DNP candidates will be expected to come to campus twice.  These campus visits will be over a weekend beginning on a Friday at noon and ending on a Sunday at noon.

If the program is online, how will I complete my clinical hours?

Students in the BSN to DNP program will complete 1080 preceptor-guided clinical hours throughout this program.  Students will be asked to secure their own preceptors as they complete the program so that clinical may be completed in or near where students live or work. 

Students in the APRN to DNP program will complete 540 clinical hours through the Capstone coursework.

I already have a master’s degree in nursing? How will that affect my admission?

Students who already have a master's degree in nursing are eligible for admission.  Credit for previously completed courses will be examined on a case by case basis.  Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at Nebraska Methodist College to graduate with a DNP.

Are there special computer requirements for this program?

Computer requirements for the asynchronous components of the DNP program can be found at http://www.methodistcollege.edu///about/online-technology-requirements.  Computer capability to audio and videochat will be required for the asynchronous components of the DNP program. 

Will I be able to work full time while I am in the DNP program?

Students who wish to work while attending the DNP program are encouraged to take classes on a part time basis.  The rigors and time requirements of full-time attendance would limit the student ability to work.

Is your DNP program accredited?

The BSN and MSN degrees in nursing at Nebraska Methodist College are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation

The DNP program at Nebraska Methodist College is pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Applying for accreditation does not guarantee that accreditation will be granted.

How do I apply?

To be considered for admission the following items must be submitted to the Admissions Office prior to the application date:

  • NMC online nursing application
  • Current unencumbered licensure as a Registered Nurse
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Written statement
  • Official college transcripts from graduating institutions and official transcripts confirming completion of the required undergraduate courses
  • Interview with two NMC nursing faculty members using a standardized interview process and scoring method
  • Three professional letters of recommendation - Reference Form

What is the criteria for admission?

Applicants are evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Minimum of a Baccalaureate in nursing (BSN) from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).
  • A grade point average (GPA) >3.0 on a 4.0 scale in last nursing program.
  • Undergraduate completion of the following courses:
    • statistics,
    • undergraduate health assessment
    • research
    • anatomy and physiology
    • undergraduate pharmacology
    • microbiology
    • chemistry
    • community nursing
    • pathophysiology
  • Current unencumbered Registered Nurse licensure at time of application. Practice as a RN is encouraged but not required. 
  • Fulfillment of the technical standards


What is the class size for the DNP program?

Class sizes range from 6-20 students.