Online BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Oregon

Oregon nurses may choose to pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in order to move into healthcare leadership positions, earn an increased salary over master’s-prepared nurses, pursue a direct route to advanced practice licensure and doctoral status, and effect change in health care policy from a clinical standpoint. Both bachelor’s and master’s prepared nurses are eligible to pursue the DNP degree in Oregon.

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Over the past decade, the entire U.S. has experienced a healthcare shortage, and a shortage of qualified nurses continues to be a relevant issue in Oregon. In 2006, the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education was launched, a coalition of universities throughout Oregon seeking to increase enrollment in nursing education programs. Since then, nursing enrollment in the state has risen. However, in recent years, Oregon universities have had to turn away hundreds of qualified applicants due to a faculty shortage. An increase in nurses seeking doctorate degrees is one step to fixing the faculty shortage, as nurses who have earned their DNP degrees are able to fill faculty positions in nursing education programs throughout Oregon.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that 2,800 students enrolled in nursing programs in Oregon in 2015. 1,115 students graduated in that year, only 70 of which were DNP students. State and regional legislation has been pushing to increase the amount of students enrolling in nursing programs. In 2015, Oregon received $350,00 in federal grant funding specifically to build advanced nursing education.

As more Oregon nurses seek doctorate credentials, they will be able to fill positions as qualified nursing executives, administrators, and faculty. Graduates of DNP programs in Oregon often move into leadership positions in state nursing associations and universities. Listed below are three notable practicing DNPs in Oregon:

  • James Sims, ANP-BC, DNP, Director of the Oregon Nurses Association
  • Jean-Claude Provost, APRN, DNP, FNPC, Former Chair of Nurse Practitioners of Oregon
  • Nancy Ronan, DNP, Education Committee Chair of Nurse Practitioners of Oregon

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Oregon

Whether bachelor’s or master’s prepared, DNP programs offer two points of entry to accommodate nurses’ prior education. These two paths are:

  • BSN-DNP programs allow the bachelor’s prepared nurse to earn a master’s degree, become certified in a patient population as an advanced practice nurse, and earn the highest clinical doctorate degree. It is the most direct route to doctoral status, and although most students complete the program in four years, it is a comprehensive program that is designed to complement the professional nurses’ schedule.
  • MSN-DNP programs accommodate the nurse who has already earned a master’s degree. Nurses who want to earn a doctorate degree in the same patient population as their master’s coursework will be able to complete the program in about a year and a half after completing about 30-35 credits of doctorate coursework. However, if the nurse wishes to earn a doctorate degree in a different population than they completed in their master’s studies, the program will be lengthened and require perquisite credits on the master’s level.


Many online and campus-based programs offer three different scheduling options:

  • Traditional programs, completed in18-24 months
  • Accelerated programs, completed in a year
  • Part-time programs, which can be completed in 2 ½ years

DNP programs are made up of three core components:

DNP core: The DNP core includes courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, scientific foundations, pathophysiology, and pharmacology, as well as courses in leadership within healthcare and the ethics and legality of health policy.

Specialty courses in line with the chosen focus: Depending on the nurses’ chosen focus, these courses will either offer an advanced practice focus or an aggregate/systems/organizational focus.

DNP project: Most programs include a DNP project, which will include a paper suitable for publication as well as a presentation on the nurses’ chosen focus.

BSN-to-DNP Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses

The BSN-to-DNP program is designed for bachelor’s prepared nurses seeking their master’s and doctorate degrees in one program. Many nurses choose this program as a route to initial APRN licensure while working towards their doctorate. After obtaining an MSN, the nurse will be required to become nationally certified in their chosen APRN role. The MSN core of the program will also require the nurse to complete at least 500 practicum hours. Because of the extensive nature of clinical requirements and coursework, most BSN-to-DNP programs require four years of study.

The MSN core classes will cover the following topics:

  • Leadership in a Complex Healthcare Environment
  • Integrative Health
  • Healthcare Systems and Resource Management
  • Analytical Methods for Practice Improvement
  • Quality Improvement Processes for Practice Improvement
  • Management of Common Gender Specific Health Issues
  • Management of Common Mental Health Conditions in Primary Care
  • Integrative Health: Health Promotion
  • Informatics in a Complex Healthcare Environment
  • Advanced Pathophysiology and Genetics

Nationally Accredited BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Oregon

As of 2016, there are two DNP programs available in Oregon that hold accreditation through Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Programs accredited by the CCNE will require students to complete at least 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate practice. Because of the extensive nature of this requirement, some nurses find it necessary to complete hours outside of the program’s practicum requirements. In addition, CCNE accredited programs must offer nurses the ability to specialize in either an advanced practice nursing role or an aggregate/systems/organizational focus, which can include titles such as Executive Leadership, Systems Organization, and others.

Oregon currently offers two traditional in-state programs accredited by the CCNE. Nurses in Oregon may also choose from a variety of online DNP programs offered throughout the country. CCNE accredits online programs as well as traditional programs, and online offerings are meant to provide the working nurse with flexibility. DNP programs are heavily made up of practicum experiences. Through online programs, the nurse will log clinical hours in hospitals, clinics and physician’s offices in the state of Oregon which partner with the hosting university.

Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR

  • Offers BSN-DNP and MSN-DNP programs
  • Specializations available in:
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

University of Portland in Portland, OR

  • Offers both BSN-DNP and MSN-DNP programs
  • Specializations available in:
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

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 Oregon

Doctorate-prepared nurses in Oregon may move into advanced positons in healthcare settings throughout the state. Many DNP graduates pursue positions such as Nursing Administrator, Chief Nursing Executive, Nursing Faculty, and others.

The following job listings, sourced in April 2016, represent current job opportunities and provide insight into the many types of professional opportunities available to DNP graduates in Oregon, but are not meant to imply any guarantee of employment:

Family Nurse Practitioner at CODA in Portland, OR


  • MSN required; DNP degree preferred


  • Ongoing patient care and testing of patient response to medications
  • Patient assessment and evaluation
  • Oversee treatment team and manage nursing staff

Nurse Practitioner at Delta Healthcare in Oregon


  • MSN required; DNP degree preferred
  • Minimum two years’ experience in primary care setting


  • Assess patient health and provide patient evaluation
  • Prepare and review medical histories
  • Identify and code medical conditions

Advanced Practice Provider with the Oregon Health and Science University


  • MSN degree required; DNP degree preferred
  • 3-5 years’ previous experience in cardiac specialty nursing


  • Works in partnership with faculty to provide patient care and assessment
  • Provides diagnoses and procedures
  • Educates staff on policy and protocols

Nurse Educator with the Oregon Health and Science University


  • BSN required; MSN or more advanced degree preferred
  • Teaching or training experience in a healthcare setting


  • Work with nursing staff to identify educational needs
  • Develop methodologies to educate staff on procedures and patient care models

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