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

A 2018 nurse supply report by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing Center for Nursing revealed that many of the state’s nurses are heeding the call for a more educated nursing workforce and pursuing the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), the highest clinical degree available in the nursing field.

According to the report, 4,376 licensed RNs in Louisiana reported they were enrolled in school to advance their education. This number represents about 8% of the state’s nursing population. Of those that were enrolled in school, 585 were enrolled in a DNP program.

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The DNP is also a popular pursuit among both aspiring and practicing advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in Louisiana. While 7% of the state’s licensed APRNs revealed they held a doctorate degree in nursing, an additional 54 reported they were currently enrolled in a DNP program.

The trend toward the DNP in Louisiana has also resulted in more colleges and universities offering this degree in recent years. According the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Louisiana was home to 6 DNP programs in 2019.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Louisiana

Nurses in Louisiana who wish to enroll in a DNP program typically hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In addition, nurses who already possess a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can apply to the post-MSN phase at most of the DNP programs in Louisiana.

  • Post-Bachelor’s BSN-to-DNP programs are generally designed for nurses with a BSN to earn their MSN before transitioning to a DNP, all in one program. Those in an APRN track would obtain national certification in their role and primary patient population focus as well as initial APRN licensure prior to transitioning to the DNP component of the program. Typically, BSN-DNP programs entail more than 3 years of full-time study and about 90 credits, depending on the specialty. Tracks in organizational leadership, informatics and more are also available.
  • Post-Master’s MSN-to-DNP programs are designed for nurses that already possess an MSN. These programs enable these students to earn their DNP, so they are better equipped to advance to clinical leadership positions and more. Often MSN-educated students are already licensed APRNs who wish to advance in their careers. Nurses in these programs can advance in their patient population focus or choose another specialty or population focus. Typically, MSN-DNP programs entail more than 1.5 years of full-time study and 30 to 36 credits. Tracks in organizational leadership, informatics and more are also available.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) maintains two main requirements for accreditation: One is that the program incorporates at least 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate practice hours, 500 of which can be carried over from a master’s program. The other is that the schools must offer their students the option to specialize in at least one of these tracks:

  • Advanced practice nursing direct care focus (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist)
  • Aggregate/organizational/systems focus (i.e., health policy, executive leadership, etc.)

Increasingly, nurses in Louisiana are choosing the flexibility of accredited online programs as the preferred option when obtaining a DNP. While these programs offer their coursework online, students must still complete their clinical requirements at local partner sites that have established agreements with the programs.

Many online and campus-based DNP programs offer flexible formats to accommodate their student’s needs. These include part-time and accelerated formats:

  • Traditional DNP programs entail about 1.5-2 years of study
  • Part-time DNP programs take about 2.5 years of study
  • Accelerated programs are usually completed in a year

DNP programs have three main components:

  • DNP core – The core DNP courses include such topics as transforming the healthcare organization, clinical scholarship, methods for evidence-based practice, epidemiology and social determinants of population health, and scientific underpinnings for practice.
  • Specialty courses in the student’s chosen focus – After completing their core courses, the nurses specialize in either advanced practice nursing or executive leadership.
  • Final project – Students complete their DNP program with a DNP Project, which entails completing a research project on their advanced nursing focus. These projects enable the nurses to showcase their education by analyzing an aspect of nursing in practice. Typically, a DNP Project consists of a research paper suitable for publication or a formal presentation. Generally, students must travel to their school to formally defend their DNP Project.

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

Virtually all of the BSN-to-DNP programs available enable nurses to earn both their MSN and DNP in a combined program. Students can immediately transition to the DNP program after completing the MSN phase. These programs are typically completed in about 3 to 4 years.

BSN-DNP programs that are specific to one of the four APRN roles (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetist, or nurse-midwife) require their students to earn an MSN in their chosen advanced practice nursing role and patient population focus. To do so, students must meet all of the clinical requirements for an MSN, which typically entails about 500 hours of clinical sequences. Completing these hours qualifies the students to sit for national certification in their role and patient population focus.

Tracks in organizational leadership, informatics and more are also available.

Although MSN program course content varies depending on the nursing specialty that the student has chosen, the core remains the same:

  • Program evaluation for improving patient and population outcomes
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Quality and safety
  • Organizational and systems leadership
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Informatics
  • Clinical prevention/population health

MSN programs in an APRN role also include a core consisting of these courses:

  • Advanced pharmacology, including:
    • Pharmacokinetics
    • Pharmacodynamics
    • Pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents
  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology, including general principles that apply across the lifespan
  • Advanced health assessment, including the assessment of all human systems, advanced assessment techniques, and concepts and approaches

BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Louisiana

The following DNP programs have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both CCNE and ACEN-accredited programs are generally available online to advanced nursing students in Louisiana.

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.

Louisiana State University, New Orleans

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
    • Executive Nurse Leader
    • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Anesthesia
    • Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Public/Community Health Nursing

Loyola University, New Orleans

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • Specialty in Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Post-MSN program also offers an Executive Nurse Leader specialty

Northwestern State University, Natchitoches

  • Post-MSN program designed for:
    • APRN
    • Organizational System Leadership

Southeastern Louisiana University, Baton Rouge

  • BSN-DNP in Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-MSN program designed for:
    • APRNs
    • Nurse Executives

University of Louisiana, Lafayette

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
  • Post-MSN program available for MSN-educated nurses in:
    • Nurse Practitioner Roles
    • Nursing Administration/Leadership

Southern University, A&M College

  • Post-MSN
    • Nurse Practitioner Roles
    • Certified Nurse Midwife

Opportunities Available to DNP-Prepared Nurses in Louisiana

Statistics from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing reveal that increasing numbers of nurses in the state are pursuing the DNP. According to the 2018 report, Nursing Education Capacity in Louisiana, 191 licensed RNs were admitted to post-licensure graduate programs; of those, 20% were admitted to post-master’s DNP programs.

During the same year, the report found that 329 licensed RNs were actively enrolled in post-licensure graduate programs, 24% of which were post-master’s DNP programs.

The following job posts highlight the excellent professional opportunities available to Louisiana nurses who hold a DNP:

Nurse Director of Clinical Education, Clinical Management Consultants, Plain Dealing, LA

  • BSN required, strong preference for an MSN or DNP
  • At least one year of senior leadership experience in a hospital settings
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in developing, designing, and coordinating training for education programs

Vice President, Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Services – Emergency Medicine, SCP Health, Lafayette, LA

  • NP certification through ANCC, AANP, or AACN
  • MSN, DNP, or MBA

Nurse Practitioner, Lake Charles Memorial Health System, Lake Charles, LA

  • MSN or DNP
  • Current license as an APRN in Louisiana
  • Eligible for prescriptive authority in LA

 

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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