Online BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Georgia

Over the past decade, the U.S. has experienced a massive shortage of primary care providers, and Georgia is no exception. Georgia is in need of qualified, doctorate-prepared professionals to assume leadership roles both in and out of the clinical environment and to fill faculty positions at universities and nursing schools.

As early as 2007, The Georgia Board of Regents Task Force on Health Professional Education called nursing “the most fragile and in need of attention of all medical professions in the state,” highlighting the need for more highly educated nurses in the workforce, especially NPs and other advanced practice nurses capable of taking up the slack amid a growing shortage of physicians.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projects a shortage of 1,310 primary care physicians in Georgia by 2025. Fortunately, there is a growing number of DNP-prepared nurses entering the workforce fully qualified to provide primary care services and fill the void.

DNP-prepared nurses enjoy outstanding professional opportunities, both in and out of the clinical environment, and their superior level of education and technical know-how make them the obvious choice to replace the large number of nurses transitioning to retirement throughout the state.

With opportunities for higher salaries and greater job versatility, earning a DNP has become the smart option for Georgia’s bachelor’s-prepared RNs looking to move into advanced practice or administration, as well as master’s-prepared advanced practitioners and administrators taking their careers to the next level.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Georgia

Both bachelor’s and master’s-prepared nurses may enter a Doctor of Nursing Practice program through different program tracks. The two program options are:

BSN-DNP Programs—bachelor’s-prepared nurses may enroll in BSN-DNP programs, which will allow them to first complete a master’s and then a doctorate degree over 3-4 years of full time study.

MSN-DNP Programs—master’s-prepared nurses may enroll in MSN-DNP programs, which are generally 18 months long. If the nurse is seeking a DNP in a different population focus than their master’s study, the program will require additional credits and time.

All accredited DNP programs in Georgia have received accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). In order to meet requirements for accreditation, programs must include a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours and offer specialization in at least one of two areas: an advanced practice nursing direct care focus, or an aggregate, systems, or organizational focus. If a nurse has completed clinical hours in the same area of focus during a master’s program, these hours may be applied to the 1,000 total required. However, some nurses have found it necessary to complete independent clinical hours outside of the program in order to reach the required number of hours.

As of April 2016, Georgia offers four in-state CCNE-accredited DNP programs. In addition, nurses in Georgia may also choose from a variety of accredited online DNP offerings hosted throughout the county. Online options will allow nurses to complete online problem modules at their own pace, while logging clinical hours in Georgia hospitals and physician’s offices which partner with the hosting university. Online DNP programs offer increased flexibility around a professional schedule.

Most DNP programs are offered in three tracks:

  • Traditional, 18-24 months
  • Accelerated, 12 months long
  • Part-time, 2 ½ years

While individual requirements may vary, all accredited DNP programs must include the following components:

  • DNP Core: Core courses will cover scientific foundations for heath and evidence-based practice, as well as social determinants of population health, leadership in health care, and epidemiology.
  • Specialty Area Courses: Depending on the nurses’ chosen focus, these courses will specialize in the APRN practice focus or an aggregate, systems, or organizational focus.
  • DNP Project: the final project usually consists of a written paper and presentation on the nurses’ study focus.

Post-Bachelor’s (BSN-to-DNP) Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses

Bachelor’s-prepared nurses may apply to BSN-DNP programs, the most direct route for bachelor’s-prepared nurses to earn DNP credentials. Within the program, nurses will first complete master’s coursework and then move on to the doctorate program. In most programs of this sort, graduates end up with both an MSN and DNP.

The master’s level program usually consists of 30 core credits as well as additional credits in the nurses’ chosen focus.

Core courses will vary according to program, but will cover a combination of these topics:

  • Theory, Scientific Underpinnings, and Evidence Based Practice
  • Leadership and Management in Practice Transformation
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Health Care Management
  • Population Health and Emerging Disease
  • Interprofessional Collaboration and Leadership in Health Care
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Strategies for Effective Practice Change
  • Advanced Topics in Health Informatics

MSN programs with an APRN focus will also include an APRN core, covering the following topics:

  • Advanced Practice Diagnostic and Clinical Reasoning
  • Advanced Practice Pharmacology
  • Advanced Practice Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Practice Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Advanced Practice Nursing Theory
  • Local and Global Perspectives in Population Health

BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs in Georgia

CCNE accredited DNP programs available in Georgia as of 2016 are shown here. (Other DNP programs not shown here may hold regional accreditation or specialty accreditation through the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education):
 

Augusta University

College of Nursing

Augusta

Accreditation: CCNE and COA

BSN-DNP

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care (hybrid)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (hybrid)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (hybrid)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (hybrid)
  • Nurse Anesthesia (campus)

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Nurse Executive

 

Emory University

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Atlanta

Accreditation: CCNE and COA and ACME

Post BSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Adult/Gerontology-Health Systems Leadership
  • Adult/Gerontology Acute Care-Population Health
  • Adult/Gerontology Primary Care -Health Systems Leadership
  • Adult/Gerontology Primary Care-Population Health
  • Emergency Nurse-Population Health
  • Family Nurse Practitioner-Health Systems Leadership
  • Family Nurse Practitioner-Population Health
  • Midwifery-Health Systems Leadership
  • Midwifery-Population Health
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner-Health Systems Leadership
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner-Population Health
  • Pediatric Acute Care-Health Systems Leadership
  • Pediatric Acute Care-Population Health
  • Pediatric Primary Care-Health Systems Leadership
  • Pediatric Primary Care-Population Health
  • Women’s Health-Health Systems Leadership
  • Women’s Health-Population
  • Nurse Anesthesia-Health Systems Leadership

Post Master’s-DNP (hybrid)

  • Health Systems Leadership
  • Population Health

 

Georgia College & State University

School of Nursing

Milledgeville

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Clinical Leadership

 

Georgia Southern University

School of Nursing

Statesboro

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-BSN-DNP (online)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Post-MSN-DNP (online)

  • Policy, Management and Healthcare Systems

 

Georgia State University

School of Nursing

Atlanta

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-BSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Adult Health-Gero Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Health-Gero Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health

Post-MSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Organization and Systems Leadership

 

Mercer University

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing

Macon

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (hybrid/online)

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Post-Master’s-DNP (hybrid/online)

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

 

South University

College of Nursing and Public Health

Savannah

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-Master’s-DNP (online/campus)

  • Administration
  • Information Technology
  • Leadership
  • Project Management
  • Public Health

Opportunities Available to DNP-Prepared Nurses in Georgia

DNP-prepared nurses are highly qualified to move into leadership positions at their current workplaces or seek new employment opportunities in Georgia’s many hospitals, integrated health systems, and managed care organizations.

With the trend toward an advanced level of nursing education, many Georgia universities and colleges are now offering the DNP. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Georgia was home to 7 such programs as of 2019.

The following job posts reveal some of the exciting opportunities available to Georgia nurses who hold the DNP:

Vice President, Nurse practitioner/Physician Assistant Services – Emergency Medicine, SCP Health, Atlanta, GA

  • Nurse practitioner certification through ANCC, AANP, or AACN
  • Preferred education – MSN, DNP or MBA

Faculty, Nursing – Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA

  • RN license in Georgia
  • Authorization to practice as an AGACNP/ACNP in Georgia
  • Experience in the AGACNP role
  • DNP or PhD preferred
  • Experience in higher education including teaching, simulation instruction, accreditation, program review, or assessment preferred

Executive Director of Nursing Professional Practice System, WellStar Shared Services, Atlanta, GA

  • MSN or BSN with a master’s in a related field required; DNP or PhD preferred
  • Actively licensed RN in Georgia
  • National certification in nursing administration or clinical specialty preferred

Nurse Practitioner, Atlanta Internal Medicine and Psychiatric Care, Atlanta, GA

  • MSN or BSN with a master’s degree in a related field required
  • PhD, DNP, or DNsc is preferred
  • Experience leading a healthcare organization to ANCC Magnet Status preferred

 

Examples of DNP nursing positions were taken from a survey of job listings in January 2020 and are shown for illustrative purposes only. These examples do not represent job offers or positions that are currently available.

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