Nevada nurses holding a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) are among the most important healthcare professionals in the state, providing expert diagnosis and treatment in clinical settings and serving in critical administrative roles. NPs and other APRNs in healthcare delivery and primary care have never been more vital in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada, especially given the persistent shortage of doctors here. In fact, as of 2019 all of the state’s 17 counties reported some type of health professional shortage.
Fortunately, APRNs here began practicing independent of physician oversight all the way back in 2013, a progressive policy that inspired many RNs to become nurse practitioners or pursue other advanced practice roles.
According to a July 2019 article in the Nevada Current, over the past six years, the number of APRNs in the state has more than doubled, largely credited to the lack of restrictions on professional autonomy NPs and other APRNs enjoy here. In fact, the number of APRNs in the state grew nearly 18% in the first year after the new legislation passed. By 2017, the number of APRNs in Nevada was up to 1,595 – or about twice what it was right before restrictions were lifted.
Although the MSN remains the minimum degree requirement to become an NP or other APRN, increasing numbers of RNs with their sights set on transitioning to advanced practice, teaching or administration are choosing the DNP. Not only does this degree come with a bigger paycheck and more professional opportunities, but it also prepares Nevada’s nurses with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in an increasingly complex healthcare environment.
The DNP has also become the degree of choice for many currently practicing APRNs interested in transitioning to administration or teaching or for those interested in adding another patient population focus or specialty certification. And Nevada’s colleges and universities offering the DNP are rising to the occasion, offering more DNP curriculum online, and entry points for both BSN- and MSN-educated nurses.
Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Nevada
As of 2016, there are three campus locations offering CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education)-accredited DNP programs in Nevada through the University of Nevada DNP consortium. Campus locations can be found in Reno, Nevada and Henderson.
Programs through the consortium are structured as BSN-DNP and Post-MSN, offering tracks in nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery and nurse leadership.
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.
A larger selection of CCNE and ACEN (American Commission for Education in Nursing)-accredited DNP programs are available online. With only three campus-based options in the state, more Nevada nurses are electing to pursue their DNP through accredited online programs, which offer flexible coursework, practical and clinical experience opportunities, and a DNP project. Nevada nurses enrolled in these programs work with an assigned advisor to find placement in clinical settings. Nurses also work with a program mentor to complete their DNP project.
Bachelor’s-prepared nurses are eligible to apply to BSN to DNP programs, which allow them to earn their master’s degree en route to the DNP. At the master’s level, nurses would complete core coursework that typically consists of 30 credits and additional coursework based on their chosen concentration.
Doctorate-Level Coursework and DNP Projects
The DNP core typically consists of coursework in:
- Advocacy, ethics, and policy for population health
- Clinical decision making
- Nurse education
- Scientific foundations
- Applied transformational research
- Healthcare organization leadership
- Public and private financing in healthcare
Students are typically expected to complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised post-baccalaureate practice to earn their DNP. These hours may consist of combined experience gained within both master’s and DNP programs.
Additionally, DNP students would work with a program mentor to complete a DNP Project. Through this project, nurses can apply their knowledge in a chosen focus and contribute to an area of scholarship in advanced nursing practice.
Opportunities Available to DNP-Prepared Nurses in Nevada
With a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Nevada nurses are eligible to fill some of the most critical leadership positions, both in and out of the clinical environment. Many nurses find advancement with their current employer, while others go on fill leadership gaps with a new employer that requires a doctorate-prepared nurse’s specialized expertise.
The following job opportunities provide insight into just some of the exciting opportunities available to today’s DNP nurses in Nevada:
Nursing/Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, UNLV School of Nursing, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
- Master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate in nursing or a related field
Nursing Clinical Instructor, Arizona College of Nursing, Las Vegas, NV
- Master’s degree in nursing or doctorate degree in nursing
- Minimum of three years of experience as a professional nurse providing direct patient care
- Previous teaching experience in an RN education program
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Trauma, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
- Master’s or doctorate degree in nursing from an accredited APRN program
- Two years of related clinical experience in nursing
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.