The nursing profession, with more than 3 million members, is the largest segment of the U.S. health care workforce. As the health care system becomes more complex, these professionals will need advanced education and training, according to the Institute of Medicine, which recommends doubling the number of nurses with a doctoral degree by 2020. Penn State’s College of Nursing aims to help with an online doctoral degree, the doctor of nursing practice (D.N.P.), delivered by Penn State World Campus, starting this fall.
“Our alumni are asking us for this program, because it can open a wide variety of career doors for them,” said Judith E. Hupcey, associate dean for Graduate Education, College of Nursing. “Nationally, the doctor of nursing program has taken off, so the time was right for the College of Nursing to launch this program. The doctor of nursing practice’s emphasis on developing leadership skills and translation of research into practice settings will enable nurses to bring the skills they learn in this program into their own practice.”
The doctor of nursing practice program is the first doctoral degree to be offered through World Campus.
David Sylvia, director of academic affairs for Penn State World Campus Graduate Programs, said, “The D.N.P. program is a significant addition to the Penn State World Campus portfolio of online programs. It is a professional, practice-focused doctoral degree that will allow practicing nurses to gain advanced knowledge conveniently while maintaining their busy professional lives.”
The program is designed to prepare nurses for the highest level of clinical nursing practice. Nurses have two entry options. Those who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing can enter the B.S. to D.N.P. path, which includes 61 credits and a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practicum. Nurses who have a master’s degree in nursing can take the M.S.N. to D.N.P. path, which includes 38 to 46 credits and allows candidates to apply up to 550 clinical hours from their master’s program toward the clinical practicum requirement.
Doctoral candidates will participate in three in-person intensive sessions at Penn State’s University Park campus or Penn State Hershey Medical Center. They also will identify an evidence-based practice project and do a public oral presentation on their project.
Applications are now being accepted for the doctor of nursing practice degree. For information, visit the website.