It’s no mystery why the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree has become the advanced degree of choice for many Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) holders. In the decade since the National Academy of Medicine (then known as the Institute of Medicine) called for a doubling of the number of doctoral nurses, interest in pursuing a DNP degree has skyrocketed among diverse advanced practice nursing specialists.
For example, Joan Stanley, who serves as the chief academic officer of education policy at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), states in U.S. News & World Report that by 2025, the DNP degree will be mandatory for all certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). Other advanced practice nursing specialties also are expected to make it a requirement, according to Stanley. The AACN also notes that in the past 10 years the number of DNP programs in the country has increased more than threefold.
In particular, advanced degree options such as Regis College’s online BSN to DNP program have attracted great interest because they enable students to apply for the advanced degree without submitting any GRE scores. By offering a BSN to DNP online with no GRE, Regis provides BSN nurses with a first-rate DNP curriculum featuring five focus areas that can be completed online in as few as 40 months, without having to earn a master’s degree in nursing first.
The Critical Skills Taught in the BSN to DNP Degree Program
One trend defines the health care industry’s evolution: nurses continue to take on new roles entailing much greater responsibility. Preparing registered nurses (RNs) who currently hold BSNs for these expanding roles requires the right mix of skills and experience. Regis’ online BSN to DNP degree program is geared to advanced practice nurses (APNs) in a range of specialties. Students receive instruction from experienced, dedicated faculty on nursing theory and evidence-based research and practice.
Students in Regis’ online BSN to DNP program benefit from the same support and values-based education as those in its on-campus program. The program’s curriculum is imbued with the same social justice principles that are part of the school’s long tradition. The courses also emphasize the importance of lifelong learning as key to a successful career as an advanced practice nurse. The online program’s flexibility removes many obstacles that prevent BSN holders from pursuing DNP degrees.
Here’s a look at the skills graduates will gain in Regis’ online BSN to DNP program’s five concentrations.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) specialty focuses on addressing the needs of patients in pediatric settings. Skills most valued in this area include compassion, communication, analytical abilities, and decision-making. The PNP specialty features courses such as Care of the Childbearing Woman, Complementary Therapy, and Teaching and Learning Seminar in Nurse Education.
Family Nurse Practitioner
In the family practice environment, nurse practitioners (NPs) address the health care needs of people of all ages and backgrounds. The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty emphasizes interpersonal communication, critical-thinking, empathy, and leadership skills, among others.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Patients receiving mental health care span a wide range of ages and backgrounds — from children to the elderly, from the poorest to the richest. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty provides students with deep knowledge of mental health issues while also teaching empathy, technical competence, and interpersonal skills. The PMHNP specialty includes courses such as Theory and Practice of Contemporary Psychotherapies and Psychopharmacology.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
The Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) specialty emphasizes women’s primary care, gynecological, and obstetric health care needs. Among the skills most prized in this area are compassion, communication, organizational acumen, and a deep appreciation of cultural dynamics. These and other skills are taught in the program’s core courses such as Care of the Childbearing Woman, Cultural Perspectives in Health Care, and Health Policy, Politics and Perspectives.
Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
An aging population drives demand for the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) specialty, which studies issues relating to chronic illness and aging. Among the topics the AGNP specialty covers are palliative care, polypharmacy management, and end-of-life matters. AGNP coursework emphasizes patience, communication, decision-making, and interpersonal abilities. Political, Financial and Social Issues in Gerontology is a key course in the specialty.
Learn Critical Skills
A primary benefit of a BSN to DNP with no GRE is that it offers APNs more opportunities in specialties as well as in clinical practice, research, and leadership roles. The goal of Regis’ online BSN to DNP program is to prepare DNP holders to take lead roles in community-wide efforts to improve health care. The curriculum’s courses demonstrate the college’s commitment to enhanced delivery of quality health care.
The Nursing Theory course is a foundation class that explains what students need to know about nursing practice now and in the future. Various nursing theories share characteristics:
● They are centered on the patient, whose health is the most important consideration
● They consider the overall health care environment
● They focus on the patient’s specific health conditions
● They attempt to define the duties, responsibilities, and desired outcomes of nursing staff
In terms of emphasis, nursing theories can be placed in one of four categories:
● Those that base care decisions on the specific needs of the patient
● Those that focus primarily on interactions between nurse and patient
● Those that are concerned first and foremost with the outcomes that nurses are able to effect
● Those that are person-centered in that they take a humanistic approach that sees the patient as a unique individual
Concepts in Nursing Leadership
Graduates of Regis’ online BSN to DNP program will be prepared to step into leadership roles in delivering quality health care to their communities. The Concepts of Nursing Leadership course is part of the program’s core curriculum; students use role theory to investigate role mastery, congruence, conflict, and nursing leadership’s organizational impact.
Roles and Issues in APN
The Roles and Issues in APN course examines the impact on advanced practice nursing of issues such as professional licensing, credentials, regulatory requirements, and legal and ethical standards of care. Among the topics covered are trends that affect APNs today and in the future.
Cultural Perspectives in Health Care
The quality of health care delivery depends on the practitioner’s ability to navigate the complexities of the modern cultural and health environment. In addition to considering culture and health generally, the Cultural Perspectives in Health Care course examines specific populations from a cross-cultural perspective. It prepares students for direct care, education, leadership, and research roles that consider individual, family, group, and community needs.
The nursing profession continues to evolve as nurses’ roles expand with new skills and responsibilities. Regis’ online BSN to DNP degree with no GRE scores helps address the growing demand for APNs and nurse leaders holding DNP degrees by bringing a DNP within easier reach of current BSN holders. Visit Regis’ online BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice program to learn how it helps nurses reach the pinnacle of their professions.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, DNP Fact Sheet
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, PhD in Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “The Doctor of Nursing Practice: Current Issues and Clarifying Recommendations”
American Nurse Today, “Rescuing Nursing Theory”
American Psychiatric Nurses Association, About Graduate Degree Programs
Current Nursing, Nursing Theories: An Overview
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, The Future of Nursing: Focus on Scope of Practice
Regis College, 5 Indispensable Nursing Skills That DNP-Educated Nurse Practitioners Possess
Regis College, Online BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners
U.S. News & World Report, “More Nursing Disciplines Require a Master’s or Doctoral Degree”