An Online MSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner Curriculum at a Glance

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Transitioning from an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) to a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) means more than just obtaining a higher degree. Those who successfully complete a DNP curriculum may transform new concepts and theories developed from the ever-evolving world of health care into new practices to improve patient outcomes. Thanks to technology, students can pursue a DNP online. However, it’s important to know what to expect from a DNP curriculum prior to enrolling.

Skills Developed Through a DNP Curriculum

The nurse practitioner classes that make up a DNP curriculum are designed to prepare students by developing vital skills for success in the field. While some of the skills build upon a strong foundation of patient care — one that may have been built previously through an MSN degree — other skills refine key elements involving the administrative and leadership side of health care.

Some of the key skills developed through a DNP curriculum include:

Research — A reputable DNP curriculum enhances a student’s ability to find data relating to the often rapid changes in health care.
Informatics — As technology and medicine become more tightly intertwined, the ability to quickly understand and implement data to deliver improved health care becomes even more crucial. Successfully completing a DNP curriculum can equip students with a foundation of health IT acumen strong enough to contribute to optimal patient outcomes.
Teaching — Developing the capacity to synthesize researched data into a plan ready to be shared with a medical team is an essential element of a DNP. Successful completion of DNP curriculum equips students to educate their peers and patients.
Project Management — The administrative nature of the profession often requires DNPs to simultaneously juggle multiple projects. A DNP curriculum provides courses designed to enrich a student’s ability to prioritize and handle projects efficiently.
Executive Leadership — A DNP curriculum can empower enrollees with the confidence and assurance to move medical teams to accept, adopt, and apply new and progressive health care advances.
Cultural Perspective — Successfully completing a DNP curriculum can enhance a student’s ability to view medical concepts and their impact through an empathetic lens; one that takes into account a patient’s cultural and social environment.

The enhancement of these skills through a DNP curriculum may better prepare students for health care careers that exist beyond the patient level. Ultimately, these crucial skills lay a foundation of expertise that may make achieving improved patient outcomes more feasible.

Typical Nurse Practitioner Classes in a DNP Curriculum

DNP students can expect classes devoted to sharpening specific skills that are essential to the profession. The specificity of the courses enables students to focus on unique aspects of a DNP career, which may yield better overall professional performance.

Among the courses students may typically encounter are ones related to the role of informatics in health care. These classes are designed to instruct students on the importance of information technology in a health care setting. They also underscore the relationship between efficiently mining and interpreting data, and the development of improved health care.

Another typical class is built around the concept of advanced research methods. The core concept of these classes aims to equip students with the methodological skills necessary to conduct strong independent research. These classes also instruct students on ways to integrate researched data into current and developing health care strategies.

Also usually found within a DNP curriculum are courses built around the concept of cultural perspectives in health care. These courses help students to be mindful of a patient’s cultural heritage and social upbringing during the course of care. Ultimately, this empowers prospective DNPs to develop a unique sense of empathy, which contributes to improved patient experiences.

Nurse Concentrations in a DNP Curriculum

In addition to nurse practitioner classes, prospective DNP candidates usually have the opportunity to choose an area of concentration. This concentration enables students to further focus their study in a specific element of the nursing field.

Common concentrations include:
Nurse Educator — This concentration provides guidance and hands-on training to prepare the next generation of health professionals.
Nurse Researcher — This specialization further sharpens a student’s capacity to conduct independent research and synthesize findings.
Nurse Administrator — This concentration shapes its study around the concept of implementing policies that strive to provide improved patient outcomes.
Nurse Leadership — This specialized track is designed to provide students with the capacity to lead the work and strategies of a medical team in various situations.


Completing an online MSN to DNP curriculum yields more than an advanced degree. It can also act as a stepping-stone toward a greater role in health care. The skills that are developed and refined during the program can serve as the foundation of a career marked by innovation and high achievement.

Learn More

As an NP, nurses have more professional autonomy, a higher degree of specialization, and leadership opportunities. Those who seek both MSN and DNP degrees are on a career path that may lead to jobs in health care administration and nursing higher education. If you’re interested in advancing your nursing career, visit the Regis College online MSN to DNP program that features rigorous nurse practitioner classes.

Recommended Reading:
How a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Can Lead to Better Patient Outcomes
MSN to DNP – Sometimes It’s About the Journey

DNP Nursing Curriculum Planning Solutions
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Regis College