Online BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in New Mexico

Albuquerque’s concentration of nurses trumps nearly 105 other markets of similar size nationwide. In fact, recent statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal that RNs account for nearly 9,000 jobs in Albuquerque’s metropolitan area – that makes it the fourth-most common occupation in the city. So why are many healthcare providers in New Mexico still having difficulty meeting the recruitment demand?

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According to a 2015 Albuquerque Business First article, the nursing shortage has less to do with the employment pool and more to do with experience. In short, New Mexico is lacking experienced RNs to meet the demand caused by increases in populations and changing health demographics.

It is more important than ever for nurses in New Mexico to consider furthering their education to fill vital clinical leadership, administration, and clinical faculty positions—positions that require advanced degrees like the Doctor of Practice in Nursing (DNP). Many of today’s DNP programs accept both BSN- and MSN-prepared nurses, which has made pursuing a DNP an easier and more streamlined process for many New Mexico nurses.

The DNP represents the highest terminal practice-focused clinical nursing degree; differing from the more research-focused PhD. DNP-prepared nurses are able to address the persistent shortage of primary care providers, faculty, and nurse leaders in New Mexico and throughout the country.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in New Mexico

RNs with a BSN as well as MSN-prepared APRNs in New Mexico are both able to enroll in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs:

  • Post-Bachelor’s BSN-to-DNP programs for BSN-prepared RNs make earning a DNP more accessible by including MSN curriculum to prepare students for DNP-level courses, all in one accelerated program. In most cases, these programs result in earning both an MSN and DNP. This type of program is commonly used as a path to initial APRN certification and licensure as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist or clinical nurse specialist (about 90 credits).
  • Post-Master’s MSN-to-DNP programs allow MSN-prepared nurses who are often certified and licensed as APRNs to complete a DNP in preparation for roles in clinical leadership and more. These programs can serve as a path for APRNs looking to advance their expertise within their current APRN role or add additional certification in another patient population focus or specialty. These programs are just as often used to prepare nurses for nonclinical leadership positions with executive leadership tracks (about 35 credits).

New Mexico is home to DNP programs that have received accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which requires programs to include a focus in at least one of the following:

  • An advanced practice nursing direct care focus
  • An aggregate/systems/organizational focus (e.g., executive leadership, health policy, etc.)

CCNE-accredited programs must also include at least 1,000 clinical practice hours, 500 of which may have been satisfied through the student’s MSN program.

In addition to full-time programs, which take about 18-24 months to complete, many institutions offer part-time programs, which take about 32 months to complete, and accelerated programs, which take about 12 months to complete.

Depending on the chosen focus, admission into a post-master’s DNP program may also require national certification in a chosen APRN role and population focus.

DNP Curriculum Requirements

A DNP program includes:

  • A DNP core
  • Courses specific to the chosen DNP specialty/focus
  • Clinical residency
  • Final project

The DNP core includes courses such as:

  • Advanced healthcare statistics
  • Applied epidemiology
  • Applied clinical research
  • The business of healthcare policy and politics
  • Organizational systems and quality management

Credits and courses beyond the core apply directly to the chosen focus. Examples of courses related to a DNP focus include:

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

  • Neuropathophysiology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Psychiatric assessment across the lifespan
  • Group therapy and complex care
  • Evidence-based treatment

Health Systems Leadership

  • Transforming healthcare through technology
  • Strategic management and financial controls of healthcare organizations
  • Building collaborative relationships

Final projects may include a DNP project, a practice portfolio, or a research utilization project.

BSN-to-DNP Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses in New Mexico

BSN-DNP programs provide BSN-prepared RNs with a unique opportunity to earn both their MSN and DNP through one, streamlined program. Just like post-master’s DNP programs, BSN-DNP programs are often offered in online, part-time, and/or accelerated formats through many institutions.

Most BSN-to-DNP programs consist of between 74-90 credits and take about four years to complete.

Before beginning the DNP portion of the program, students of BSN-DNP programs must complete the didactic and clinical requirements of their MSN program and, depending on the chosen focus, earn national certification in an APRN role and population focus:

The core of an MSN program includes study in:

  • Clinical prevention/population health
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Informatics
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Organizational and systems leadership
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Program evaluation for improving patient and population outcomes
  • Quality and safety

An MSN program with an APRN focus must also include an APRN core, which includes study in:

  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced pharmacology, including:
    • Pharmacokinetics
    • Pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents
    • Pharmacodynamics

CCNE-Accredited BSN-DNP and MSN-DNP Programs Available in New Mexico

The following DNP programs have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (current as of 2016).

New Mexico State University

    • Family NP
    • Adult/Gerontological NP
    • public/community health

University of New Mexico

    • APRN roles
    • Executive organizational 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.

Opportunities Available to DNP-Prepared Nurses in New Mexico

DNP-prepared nurses in New Mexico are leaders in advanced practice nursing roles; they are also clinical scholars skilled in translating research into clinical practice; as well as administrators who measure patient outcomes and transform healthcare systems to ensure quality and safety.

DNP graduates in New Mexico have a wealth of career options at their disposal, whether they want to advance in their current position or explore opportunities with a new employer.

New Mexico is home to many leading healthcare institutions where DNP nurses hold a variety of advanced clinical leadership and administrative positions:

  • Saint Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe
  • Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque
  • Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, Alamogordo
  • Mount View Regional Medical Center, Las Cruces
  • San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington
  • UNM Hospital, Albuquerque
  • Gallup Indian Medical Center, Gallup

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