Online BSN-DNP and MSN-DNP Programs Available in Maryland

With key organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine advocating for an increase in the number of nurses that hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), this advanced level of education is rapidly becoming the default for BSN-prepared RNs intent on becoming APRNs or leaders in roles outside of direct patient care, as well as existing APRNs and MSN-prepared RNs aspiring to leadership roles, both in and out of the clinic.

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Maryland’s nurses are working in concert to implement the key recommendations presented by these organizations:

  • Achieving higher level of education and training through seamless, progressive academic preparation
  • Practicing to the full extend of education and training
  • Participating fully with all providers in redesigning health care
  • Developing policy and planning for better data collection and information infrastructure

A 2011 report published by the Maryland Governor’s Workforce Board entitled Preparing Maryland’s Workforce for Health Reform: Health Care 2020 described the growing demand being placed on the state’s healthcare system. Predictions suggest that about 360,000 newly insured individuals would be seeking primary care services in Maryland by 2020 as a result of the expansions of the Affordable Care Act.

The state of Maryland places a premium on having a highly educated healthcare workforce. In fact, one of the recommendations of this report was to “promote and support education and training to expand Maryland’s Health Care Workforce Pipeline.”

The 2011 report from the governor’s office called for more emphasis to be given to educational training requirements to increase the number of primary care providers in the state. Nursing students in Maryland are heeding this call, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that 512 students were enrolled in a DNP program in Maryland as of the fall of 2015. More than four times as many students were enrolled in DNP programs than were seeking PhDs that year.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Maryland

BSN-to-DNP program offer nurses with a BSN the opportunity to obtain a doctorate-level education. Nurses educated with an MSN can apply to the post-MSN phases of BSN-to-DNP programs or to programs specifically designed for MSN-educated nurses

  • BSN-to-DNP post-bachelor’s programs typically enable nurses with a bachelor’s degree to earn their MSN before they seamlessly transition into the core DNP studies. For students in a nurse practitioner or other APRN track, this would involve earning national certification and initial APRN licensure after completing the MSN component. BSN-DNP programs usually involve at least 3 years of full-time study and consist of about 90 credits depending on their specialty.
  • MSN-to-DNP post-master’s programs provide MSN-educated nurses the option to advance their study of advanced clinical practice or pursue a systems or organizational focus in preparation for careers in executive leadership, clinical education, informatics and more. Nurses in these programs have the option to advance in their current APRN patient population focus or add an additional focus or specialty certification. These programs usually involve at least 1.5 years of full-time study and approximately 30 credits.

Maryland’s nurses are increasingly seeking out the flexibility of accredited online programs as an alternative to the state’s campus-based programs. Flexible formats that are frequently offered by both online and campus-based programs as an alternative to the traditional 1.5 – 2 year DNP program include accelerated programs (typically a year) or part-time programs (typically 2.5 years).

DNP programs consist of three main components:

  • DNP core – The core courses of DNP programs include topics such as evidence-based practice, scientific underpinnings for practice, epidemiology and transforming the healthcare organization.
  • Specialty courses in the student’s chosen focus – Upon completing core courses, students take courses specific to their specialty track.
  • DNP Project – The DNP Project represents the finale of a DNP program and provides students with the opportunity to synthesize their knowledge by performing a research project on an aspect of advanced nursing. The end result of this research is usually a manuscript designed for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or sometimes a presentation at a conference. DNP Projects prepared in Maryland have included:
    • Blunt Cerebrovascular Injuries at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and the University of Maryland Medical Center: A Systems Analysis at a Tertiary Care Center
    • The Predictive Value of Second Trimester Blood Pressures on the Development of Preeclampsia
    • Measures of Pain and Acceptance of Ductal Lavage in Women from Families at High Genetic Risk of Breast Cancer
    • Predictors of the First-year Nursing Student at Risk of Early Departure

The state of Maryland placed an emphasis on increasing the number of clinical sites available to its DNP students.   In the 2011 report entitled Preparing Maryland’s Workforce for Health Reform: Health Care 2020, the Governor’s Workforce Investment board stressed the need to increase community-based clinical training by encouraging partnerships between nursing schools and health organizations. In fact, the state is seeking $15 million so that clinics managed by nurses can provide clinical training for nurse practitioner students.

BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Program Available in Maryland

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 Maryland.

  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
    • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
      • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
      • Nurse Executive (Provides the Nurse Leader Executive Mentorship Program for two DNP students each year)
  • Salisbury University, Salisbury
    • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
      • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda
    • Post-MSN:
      • Nurse Anesthetists
      • Nurse Practitioners
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore
    • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist
      • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
      • Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
      • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
      • Nurse Anesthesia
      • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
      • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – Family

Other DNP programs in the state may be regionally accredited or hold specialty accreditation through the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.

Opportunities Available to DNP-Prepared Nurses in Maryland

Maryland’s DNP-trained graduates develop new strategies to meet the needs of patients with complex health problems. In an era of healthcare reform, these DNP-educated nurses can lead organizations and agencies, helping them revise procedures and policies to meet the demands of this reform.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that the average age of Maryland’s nursing faculty was 53 as of 2015 and many will be retiring soon. DNP-trained nurses also help to stem the shortage of RNs and improve the healthcare system in Maryland by serving as nursing faculty at one of the 12 nursing schools in the state.

The AACN reported that Maryland’s nursing schools had 78 faculty vacancies between 2014 and 2015. This situation is likely to become even more dire over the coming years, leaving newly trained DNP nurses to fill this void.

A survey of job listings for DNP-educated nurses performed in April 2016 is shown below. The positions are shown to showcase the types of jobs available in Maryland and are not meant to represent job offers or an assurance of employment:

Faculty Position at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing


  • DNP or an earned PhD in nursing or a related field required
  • Must be licensed as an RN in Maryland by the start date


  • Candidate will provide expert teaching and mentor students in the Master’s Entry in Nursing Program
  • Candidate will also serve as a nursing leader

Part-Time Assistant Professor in the DNP Program at Coppin State University


  • Doctoral degree in nursing or a related field required
    • At least two years of APRN experience and ongoing practice as one required
    • National certification as a Nurse Practitioner required
    • Must have unencumbered licensure as an RN and APRN in Maryland or the eligibility to obtain licensure


  • Candidate will teach and facilitate the DNP program’s development and implementation

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