The Status of Healthcare Workforce in the State of Nebraska, a report published by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, highlights the longstanding struggle to provide the citizens of Nebraska’s rural communities with access to healthcare. The report revealed that as of 2018, 87 of the state’s 93 counties are either entirely or partially rural and that 13 of those counties have no primary care physician.
Much of the burden of a lack of primary care physicians in rural areas was alleviated in 2015 when the state passed legislation allowing NPs to practice independently, without physician oversight. As a result, the number of APRNs licensed in Nebraska soared, with the number of NP licenses issued increasing from 767 in 2009 to 1,148 in 2018—a 50% increase.
While the MSN remains the minimum educational requirement to practice as an APRN, increasing numbers of these advanced clinicians—both aspiring and practicing—are choosing to pursue the DNP for its professional and economic benefits. The DNP has become a popular path to initial APRN certification as a nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist, as well as the ideal educational pursuit for APRNs who want to transition to administration or add another population focus to their current APRN certification.
Because of this trend, many Nebraska colleges and universities are offering the DNP with entry points for both BSN- and MSN-educated nursing professionals.
Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Nebraska
To earn admission to a BSN program, nurses must possess a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Bachelor’s-prepared nurses would apply to BSN to DNP programs, which allow nurses to obtain the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) en route to the DNP. Nurses who already have already earned the MSN are eligible to apply directly to MSN-DNP programs, although they must complete prerequisite coursework if they choose to pursue a new specialization at the doctorate level.
Beyond Nebraska’s campus-based DNP programs, nurses in the state may pursue their doctorate degree through accredited online programs. The flexibility of these programs allows nurses to maintain their current work hours while taking doctorate-level courses. Online programs also consist of practical and clinical experience opportunities and a DNP project.
Online DNP programs, like campus-based DNP programs, place a heavy emphasis on practicum experiences. Nebraska nurses would work with an assigned advisor to find placement in clinical settings that collaborate with their program. Nurses also collaborate with a program mentor to complete a DNP project.
BSN to DNP programs are also available that allow bachelor’s-prepared nurses to earn both their master’s degree and doctorate degree at the same educational institution, providing the most direct educational route to career advancement in the nursing field.
Master’s-level coursework typically consists of 30 core credits with an additional 60 credits dedicated to the nurse’s chosen concentration.
Doctorate-Level Coursework and DNP Projects
DNP programs provide nurses with the highest level of educational preparation for their chosen specialization. Just some of these specializations include:
- Executive Leadership
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
To earn the DNP, nurses typically complete between 48-60 credits of coursework, depending on the amount of supervised practice the nurse has completed before beginning studies.
Coursework in DNP programs typically covers the following areas of study:
- Clinical decision making
- Advocacy, ethics, and policy for population health
- Healthcare organization leadership
- Scientific foundations
Between master’s and doctorate programs, nurses must complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised practice to earn their DNP. Nurses may need to complete some clinical hours independently to meet the 1,000-requirement.
DNP programs culminate in the performance of a DNP project, which allows nurses to apply their knowledge in their area of specialty and contribute to an area of scholarship in advanced nursing practice.
CCNE-Accredited Post-MSN and BSN-DNP Programs Available in Nebraska
The following DNP programs have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (current as of 2016).
- BSN-DNP, MSN-DNP
- APRN roles
- Clinical systems administration
Nebraska Methodist College
- BSN-DNP, MSN-DNP
- Family NP
- Adult Gerontology CNS
University of Nebraska Medical Center
- BSN-DNP, MSN-DNP
- NP roles
- Nurse leader/executive for BSN-prepared nurses
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 Nebraska
Nurses who earn the DNP not only have extensive knowledge in their area of practice but are also able to make critical decisions regarding healthcare design and application in Nebraska.
DNP programs provide nurses with the highest educational credentials for advanced clinical and administrative careers in the field. Beyond clinical and administrative employment, DNP-prepared nurses continue to be highly sought after as faculty members of Nebraska’s nursing programs.
The following job listings provide insight into just some of the exceptional opportunities awaiting DNP-educated nurses in Nebraska:
Nurse Instructor, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Lincoln, NE
- MSN (or projected graduation with MSN within 12 months)
- Currently licensed RN in Nebraska
- Doctorate – PhD, DNP preferred
- Teaching experience and recent clinical experience desired
CNS Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nealy Pierce, LLC, Omaha, NE
- MSN prepared CNS; doctorate is a plus
- Board-certified as a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist
NP Palliative Care, Nebraska Methodist Health System, Omaha, NE
- MSN or DNP
- NP license required
- Minimum of five years of nursing experience; minimum of three years previous experience in a related clinical area
Nurse Practitioner, Nebraska Medicine, Omaha, NE
- Minimum two years of RN experience; DNP preferred
- Master’s degree in nursing required
- APRN license as an NP required
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.