According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), South Dakota was faced with 70 Medically Underserved Areas/Populations and 86 Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) as of 2015. Many of these shortages are in the rural parts of the state, where residents must travel for hours to receive treatment.
To address these challenges, South Dakota will continue to rely on Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNPs) to serve as leaders in the healthcare field. In clinical settings, doctorate-prepared nurses provide the highest level of treatment in their field, using their advanced educational background to design and assess patient care. At the administrative level, these nurses play a role in areas from healthcare policy formation to treatment development.
Both bachelor’s- and master’s-prepared nurses are eligible to pursue the DNP, allowing them to earn the highest academic credentials available in their practice specialty. Through DNP programs, nurses may pursue tracks such as:
- Psychiatric/Mental Health
- Adult Gerontology
- Executive Leadership
- Healthcare technology
Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in South Dakota
Nurses seeking admission to DNP programs must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Bachelor’s-prepared nurses would apply to MSN to DNP programs, allowing them to earn their MSN en route to the DNP. Master’s-prepared nurses are eligible to apply directly to DNP programs, but they must complete their prerequisite coursework for their chosen track before beginning DNP studies.
More South Dakota nurses are electing to pursue their DNP online through accredited programs. With flexible coursework options, these programs are especially popular among working nurses who can further their education without sacrificing current work obligations.
DNP programs are only available in states where programs have established relationships with medical institutions where nurses can complete their practicum experiences. In South Dakota, nurses enrolled in online DNP programs would work with an assigned advisor to find placement in a clinical setting.
MSN to DNP Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses
The most efficient route to the DNP for bachelor’s prepared nurses is through MSN-DNP programs, which allow nurses to earn their master’s- and doctoral-level education at the same school. Nurses would typically complete 30 core credits at the master’s level before completing additional coursework based on their chosen concentration for a total of 60 credits.
Doctorate-Level Coursework and DNP Projects
Nurses enrolled in DNP programs choose a degree specialization that allows them to earn the highest level of education in their chosen field. Examples of these specializations could include:
- Executive Leadership
- Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
Nurses take between 33-60 credits of coursework to complete DNP programs, covering topics including:
- Public and private financing in health care
- Clinical decision making
- Advocacy, ethics, and policy for population health
- Scientific foundations
- Healthcare organization leadership
- Applied transformational research
Beyond coursework, nurses must complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised postbaccalaureate practice to earn their DNP. These hours may consist of practice within both the nurse’s master’s and doctorate programs.
Additionally, nurses work with a program mentor to complete a DNP Project that contributes to an area of scholarship in advanced nursing practice.
Nationally Accredited DNP Options in South Dakota
There is currently just one in-state DNP program with national accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): South Dakota University offers a post-MSN program for nurse partitioners in a number of patient population foci and a BSN-DNP program designed to prepare clinical nurse specialists.
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 South Dakota
Upon graduating from Doctorate of Nursing Practice programs, nurses apply their knowledge and leadership skills in critical positions in South Dakota healthcare. Often times, nurses expand their current role or advance to a higher position with their current employer.
Additionally, many DNP-prepared nurses take on teaching positions at graduate nursing programs, allowing them to lead the state’s next generation of nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, post-secondary nursing instructors and teaches in South Dakota earned a median annual wage of $58,630 as of May 2015.
The following job listing for a doctorate-prepared nurses in South Dakota, sampled in April 2016, is shown for illustrative purposes only and is not meant to represent job offers or provide any assurance of employment.
Full-time Assistant or Associate Professor at Augustana University in Sioux Falls
- DNP in a clinical specialty or a PhD in nursing required
- Hired nurse would be responsible for didactic, clinical, and simulation laboratory
- Hired nurse may have opportunity to may have opportunity to shape a new graduate program at the university