In a January 2016 report published by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Nebraska was identified as having 105 primary care shortage areas, most of which are in rural parts of the state. What’s more, graduate nursing programs in Nebraska are facing both current faculty shortages and the impending retirement of many older teachers. According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where the average faculty age is 54, Nebraska’s nursing faculty issues have “choked” the state’s nursing pipeline.
With rural health care shortages and a lack of nurses to prepare the state’s next generation of nursing students, Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNPs) are among the most valuable health care professionals in Nebraska. Serving in both clinical and administrative leadership roles, DNPs apply their extensive educational backgrounds to designing and assessing patient care. Just a few doctorate-prepared nurses who hold leadership roles in Nebraska healthcare include:
- Jane Carmody, DNP, MBA, RN, CENP, Nursing Service Administration Member of Nebraska Board of Nursing (BON)
- Lisa Johnson DNP, APRN-NP, SANE-P, Secretary of the Nebraska Nurse Practitioners (NNP)
- Tara Whitmire, DNP, APRN-NP, CHFN, Member of the Nominations Committee for Nebraska Nurse Practitioners (NNP)
Both qualified bachelor’s and master’s-prepared nurses may pursue the DNP, allowing them to receive the most extensive education and credentials available in their practice specialty. Nurses who complete DNP programs not only have extensive knowledge in their area of practice, but also are able to make critical decisions regarding healthcare design and application in Nebraska.
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 MSN 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 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 speciality 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
Doctorate of Practice in Nursing programs provide nurses with the highest educational credentials for advanced clinical and administrative careers in the field. Nebraska nurses who complete DNP programs can expand their current job duties or advance to a higher position outright with their employer. Alternatively, DNP-prepared nurses can pursue careers with other employers that require a doctorate-prepared nurse’s specialized expertise and leadership,
Beyond clinical and administrative employment, DNP-prepared nurses will continue to be highly sought after as faculty members at Nebraska’s nursing programs, where there looks to be faculty shortages in the coming years. For many nurses, teaching serves as a lucrative second job. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers in Nebraska earned a median annual wage of $62,670 as of May, 2015.
The following job listings for doctorate-prepared nurses in Nebraska were sampled in March 2016 and are shown for illustrative purposes only. They are not meant to represent job offers or provide any assurance of employment.
Medical Science Liaison (Cardiovascular) at Novartis in Omaha
- DNP strongly preferred
- The liaison would disseminate clinical and scientific information, as well as information about pipeline compounds
- The liaison would establish and maintain relationships with leaders in the cardiovascular therapeutic area
Adjunct Faculty Graduate Nursing – DNP and Project Advisors at Clarkson College in Omaha
- DNP, PhD, DNSC, EdD required.
- Hired nurse would be responsible for guiding students in their DNP projects