Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Hybrid Programs

Often referred to as ‘blended’ programs, Hybrid DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) programs mix online education with campus-based instruction. In some universities, DNP students take courses that feature both an online and an on-campus module. Other times, the format asks students to complete some classes on campus, and other classes online. Either way, a hybrid DNP program is tailored for students and at-work nurses who appreciate the flexibility of online study, but still want to interact in-person with faculty and classmates.

Why a Hybrid DNP?

Format aside, Hybrid DNP programs offer nurses an alternative to a research doctorate or PhD. While its counterpart the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing stresses scholarly research that might suit prospective nurse scientists and scholars, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, shortened to ‘DNP’, is a practice-based doctorate.

What this means is that the DNP is designed to equip professional nurses and nurse executives with the requisite skills to potentially improve things where they are. DNP graduates might, for example, improve upon systems of clinical care, patient outcomes, quality and safety in the healthcare field.

Furthermore, while the MSN degree has long been the standard entry-level credential for APRNs, there is a new consensus taking shape. For instance, in 2004, the member schools of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) voted to endorse the AACN’s position statement. In it, they called to change this to the DNP degree by 2015.i As of 2017, this goal is still in progress. However, it is thought that eventually a DNP could be the preferred education as it is with other practice doctorates such as Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Build on a BSN or MSN degree

DNP programs either build on the knowledge gained in a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and/or the skills acquired from a traditional master of science in nursing (MSN) program. Students in hybrid DNP programs typically receive instruction in evidence-based practice, clinical program development, quality of care improvement, and leadership in healthcare settings.

Hybrid DNP Nurse Practitioner Doctorate Degree Information

DNP Essential Courseworki

The AACN’s Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice states that all programs that culminate in a DNP degree must cover key skills that are central to advanced nursing practice roles. Advanced Practice Nursing roles include those focused on direct care (nurse practitioners, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist) and indirect care (nurse executive and nurse informatics).

While the depth to which each competency is addressed depends on a student’s area of emphasis, an accredited DNP program typically includes core coursework that merges:

  • Scientific underpinnings for practice
  • Organizational and systems leadership
  • Clinical scholarship and analytical methods for evidence-based practice
  • Information systems/technology and patient care technology
  • Health care policy for advocacy in health care
  • Inter-professional collaboration to improve patient and population health
  • Clinical prevention and population health
  • Advanced nursing practice

DNP Project

Rather than the scholarly research effort of a PhD in Nursing, students in a practice-focused DNP program generally carry out an applied-research type of final DNP project. This is an integral facet of the Doctorate in Nursing Practice. It shows that a student is versed in how to integrate current research directly into their practice of advanced nursing. That they have been able to integrate theory with practical and relevant actions.i

DID YOU KNOW?

An APRN must have a registered nursing (RN) license before pursuing education in one of the advanced practice roles.ii

Hybrid DNP Program Tracks

Universities and Schools of Nursing may offer several tracks for students in the pursuit of a DNP degree. The three most common hybrid DNP program tracks and possible degree requirements are as follows. (1) BSN to DNP, (2) MSN to DNP, (3) MS/APRN to DNP. Each of these pathways could entail specific coursework and practicum hours.

Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs

Hybrid BSN to DNP programs are often designed for registered nurses with a bachelors degree. Some BSN to DNP programs entail about 65 credits and might take a full-time student an average of three to four years to complete. To apply, students need to furnish a copy of a valid RN license and have earned their bachelors degree from an accredited school (e.g. NLNAC or CCNE or ACEN accredited school). Some universities require students to have completed undergraduate coursework in areas such as statistics, research, health assessment and pathophysiology.

Hybrid MSN to DNP Programs

Hybrid MSN to DNP programs are usually intended for registered nurses with a masters degree and without Advanced Practice Nurse Certification. Some MSN to DNP programs entail about 56 Credits which could take a full-time student about two+ years to complete. To apply, students need to furnish a copy of a valid RN license and have earned their masters degree from an accredited school. Some programs also require students to have completed graduate-level coursework in research and statistics.

Hybrid MS/APRN to DNP

Hybrid APRN to DNP programs are typically aimed at advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) with a master’s degree in nursing. Some MS/APRN programs entail about 40 credits, which could take a student between one and three years to earn as some at-work nurses might work towards their degree on a part-time basis. Applicants need to have earned their masters degree from an accredited school and have valid APRN certification.

Other Admission Information

Once you find a suitable hybrid dnp program, you may want to apply right away. Aside from transcripts and a copy of any current licensure, most DNP schools ask for a few items you need to have ready. For instance, you might need two or three letters of recommendation. Letters may need to come from an employer/supervisor who could address your clinical skills, a faculty member who could attest to your academic prowess, and a professional colleague. You could also be asked for a resume, statement of purpose, and proof of English proficiency. Things such as a criminal background check, health status, and drug screen are sometimes compulsory.

DNP Nursing Specialties

Some Doctorate in Nursing Practice programs might require students to choose and apply to a specific nursing specialty. Students may need to be accepted into that focus area. Some of these areas are:

  • Nurse practitioners (family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology etc.)
  • Clinical nurse leaders
  • Midwives
  • Nurse anesthetists
  • Nurse executives

Accreditation

Two possible accreditors of DNP programs are the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These agencies work to ensure that a school follows a course of study that reflects their standards and guidelines for professional nursing practice.

Take the Next Step

With increased demand for healthcare services, the employment prospects for advanced practice nurses is on the rise to the tune of a whopping thirty-one percent by 2024.ii Sow hy not drive your nursing to a new level? Easily start your search for a Hybrid DNP program right now! Blended programs may be ideal for students who live close to their university, or are able to travel for brief residencies. Pull up a list of paid programs in your preferred city, state or country. Then, easily contact schools with the on-page form!


[i] aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/Publications
/DNPEssentials.pdf | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare
/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm

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