Nurse practitioners and other APRNs, both in Mississippi and throughout the U.S., are enjoying more professional opportunities than ever before, largely due to a persistent and pervasive primary care physician shortage.
For example, according to an August 2018 Mississippi Business Journal article, there are about 5,500 APRNs licensed in the state of Mississippi, the majority of which are NPs. Their work is vital, given the shortage of physicians in Mississippi, particularly in the rural areas of the state. The Health Resources and Services Administration projects that the shortage of 20,000-plus physicians expected in the coming years can be reduced to about 6,000 with the integration of nurse practitioners. It may not be a total solution, but it is a vast improvement.
While the MSN is the minimum educational requirement to become an NP, an “increasing number of NP Programs [are] awarding doctoral degrees,” according to the Business Journal.
In fact, the DNP is increasingly becoming the degree of choice for aspiring APRNs, as well as currently practicing APRNs looking to transition to administration or add another patient population focus or specialty.
Mississippi colleges and universities, recognizing the clear shift to the DNP, are increasingly offering this degree program, and many schools are offering entry points for both BSN- and MSN-educated nurses.
Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Mississippi
Mississippi’s Doctor of Nursing Practice programs typically offer two entry points to accommodate nurses who currently hold either a BSN or MSN.
DNP programs are offered with specialty tracks in:
- Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist)
- Aggregate, Systems, Organizational Focus (executive leadership, informatics, public health, healthcare policy)
Nurses that possess a DNP are particularly well suited to meet the needs of diverse patient population groups and, as such, add a substantial value to the healthcare field. RNs that choose a DNP as the path to initial APRN licensure and certification, as well as MSN-prepared RNs and APRNs looking to advance their clinical skills, will have the upper hand in medical team management and patient care.
More and more nurses are opting for accredited online DNP programs. Nurses who are already working in their chosen field enjoy the flexibility of online study and do not have to forfeit a steady income in order to further their career. Often, DNP graduates find promotions within their current workplace, so having the ability to move forward with their schooling while continuing to work proves invaluable to nurses.
Online courses offer the industry’s top-level teaching, flexible access to classes and exams, and local outlets for practicum hours. Academic advisors for online DNP programs are available to students who need guidance throughout their course of study and can usually be reached via email or telephone.
Doctorate-Level Coursework and DNP Projects
A typical course of study for DNP programs will include:
- DNP Core– These core courses are found in most schools in Mississippi and encompass a wide range of topics:
- Advanced Nursing Roles
- Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Practice Nursing
- Scientific and Analytic Approaches to Advanced Evidence-Based Practice
- Epidemiology and Health Promotion
- Health Policy, Ethical, and Legal Perspectives of Health Care
- Promoting Optimal Models and Systems for Health Care Delivery
- Ethical Dimensions for Nursing Practice
- Foundations of Integrative Care
- Research Methodology
- Advanced Biostatistics in Health Research
- Specialty Coursework– These courses are geared towards the student’s chosen area of specialty within the DNP program and are taught at an advanced practice level of competency.
- Final Project– Towards the end of their studies, DNP students will complete clinical research and/or a DNP Project, which provides a platform to put into practice their applied understanding of the topics they have studied throughout the program.
A minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised post-baccalaureate practice is required for all students to complete in addition to classroom-formatted learning.
BSN-to-DNP Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses
BSN-prepared students seeking a DNP can begin their studies by applying to a BSN-to-DNP program, which can serve as a pathway to achieving initial APRN licensure and certification. Programs are also available with an aggregate/systems/organizational focus in areas like informatics, executive leadership, public health and healthcare policy). These programs would allow nurses to complete the required MSN degree before seamlessly transitioning to DNP-level coursework. Both degrees can be earned through the same school and on the same track.
Post-Bachelor’s BSN-to-DNP and Post-Master’s MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Mississippi
The following DNP programs have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (current as of 2016).
The University of Mississippi Medical Center – Jackson, MS
- BSN-DNP and Post-MSN
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Nursing and Health Care Administrator
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
The University of Southern Mississippi – Hattiesburg, MS
- BSN-DNP and Post-MSN
- Nurse Anesthesia
- Leadership in Nursing
Delta State University – Cleveland, MS
- BSN-DNP and Post-MSN
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Advanced Nursing Practice
Mississippi University for Women – Columbus, MS
- Nurse Practitioner Roles
A larger selection of CCNE and ACEN (American Commission for Education in Nursing)-accredited DNP programs are available online.
Other DNP programs in the state not shown here 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 Mississippi
Whether used as a path to initial APRN certification, an opportunity to add another patient population focus to a current APRN certification, to transition to administrative or other leadership positions, or simply to futureproof their careers, Mississippi’s nurses are choosing the DNP and reaping the professional and economic rewards for doing so.
The following job posts highlight some of the excellent professional opportunities available to Mississippi’s DNP-educated nurses:
Visiting Instructor, Nursing, University of Southern Mississippi, Long Beach, MS
- MSN required, DNP or PhD in nursing or closely related area preferred
- Current unencumbered Mississippi RN license
Assistant Professor of Nursing, Delta State University, Cleveland, MS
- Doctorate in nursing or related field; MSN required
- Current unrestricted license to practice as an RN in Mississippi
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.