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

APRNs and other DNP-prepared nurses in Virginia are well-equipped to hold both direct patient care and leadership roles that ensure Virginia’s standards of health care are met.

According to the Virginia Board of Nursing, there were 11,087 licensed nurse practitioners in the Commonwealth in January 2019. By December 2019, this number had increased by nearly 1,000 to 12,068.

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These advanced nursing practitioners, along with other APRNs, provide reliable, cost-effective care to the citizens of Virginia and fill an important role in the state’s healthcare system. They are essential to mitigating the shortage of doctors in the state which, a critical issue in a state that ranks 29th in the nation for its likelihood of having a doctor shortage in the coming years.

For Virginia nurses, the DNP also means a larger paycheck and opportunities to advance to the highest positions in the profession. Aspiring APRNs choose the DNP as a path to initial APRN certification and clinical leadership, while practicing APRNs choose it when transitioning into administration or executive positions, or when advancing in clinical practice, or otherwise adding another patient population focus.

The trend toward the DNP has resulted in increasing numbers of colleges and universities offering the degree, along with entry points for both BSN- and MSN-prepared nurses.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Virginia

Virginia’s DNP programs are designed to accommodate RNs that hold a BSN, as well as MSN-prepared RNs and APRNs:

  • Post Bachelor’s BSN-DNP programs enable BSN-educated nurses to first complete their MSN before transitioning into their DNP program. These types of programs are commonly used to attain initial APRN certification, since having an MSN enables these nurses to sit for national certification and earn their license as an APRN. BSN-DNP programs typically consist of about 90 credits that are taken over 3-4 years of full-time study.
  • Post Master’s MSN-DNP programs enable MSN-prepared nurses who may already be licensed APRNs to complete a DNP to advance to careers in clinical leadership and other functions. These programs provide options for APRNs to continue in their current field or choose training in additional patient population focus areas or specialties. These types of programs typically consists of 30 to 36 credits taken over at least 18 months of full time study depending on the nurse’s specialization.

National accreditation standards require all DNP students to obtain at least 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate clinical hours to earn their degree. Clinical sites for DNP students in Virginia have included, but are not limited to:

  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital
  • Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute
  • N Street Village
  • Inova Health System
  • Holy Cross Hospital
  • Greater Southeast Community Hospital
  • Georgetown Medical Center, Inc. – Medstar
  • George Washington University Hospital
  • Children’s National Medical Center
  • Arlington County Department of Health Service

In addition to pursuing their education on college campuses in Virginia, a growing number of nurses in the state are choosing to pursue their DNP through accredited online programs. Students of these distance-learning DNP programs would complete the program’s clinical requirements at partner clinical sites. Depending on the institution, students may have to travel to complete their program’s clinical requirements where there are established partnerships.

Many campus-based and online DNP programs offer flexible formats to accommodate their student’s needs. These include part-time and accelerated formats:

  • Traditional DNP programs consists of about 1.5-2 years of study
  • Accelerated programs typically take 1 year to complete
  • Part-time DNP programs take about 2.5 years of study

DNP programs consist of three main components:

  • DNP core – DNP core coursework includes such topics as methods for evidence-based practice, clinical scholarship, epidemiology and social determinants of population health, transforming the healthcare organization, and scientific underpinnings for practice)
  • Specialty courses for the student’s chosen focus – Specialty coursework focuses on an aggregate/systems/organizational focus or an advanced practice nursing focus
  • Final project – The final project of a DNP program enables students to document and demonstrate their mastery of an advanced nursing specialty by conducting research on an area germane to their focus. DNP Projects usually consist of a written paper that is suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and a formal presentation in which the students defend their results.

BSN-to-DNP Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses

Many DNP programs, both on-campus or online, offer students with a BSN the opportunity to earn both their MSN and DNP in one combined program. A BSN-DNP program enables students to transition to their DNP program immediately after they complete their MSN

BSN-DNP programs that are specific to one of the four APRN roles would involves satisfying all clinical requirements (usually about 500 hours) and sitting for national certification in their chosen APRN role and patient population focus.

At the master’s level, nurses typically complete 30 core credits and additional coursework based on their chosen concentration.

BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Virginia

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

A larger selection of CCNE and ACEN (American Commission for Education in Nursing)-accredited DNP programs are available online.

 

George Mason University

School of Nursing

Fairfax

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (campus)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse
  • Advanced Clinical Nursing
  • Administration in Nursing

Master’s-DNP (campus)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse
  • Advanced Clinical Nursing
  • Administration in Nursing

 

James Madison University

School of Nursing

Harrisonburg

Accreditation: CCNE

MSN-DNP (online)

  • Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Leadership in Healthcare Systems

 

Liberty University

School of Nursing

Lynchburg

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-BSN-DNP (online)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Post-MSN-DNP (online)

  • Psychiatric Mental Health

 

Marymount University

Department of Nursing

Arlington

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (online)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Leadership

 

Old Dominion University

School of Nursing

Norfolk

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-Baccalaureate-DNP (hybrid)

  • Nurse Anesthesia

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Advanced Practice
  • Nurse Executive

 

Radford University

School of Nursing

Radford

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (online)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

MSN-DNP (online)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Nurse Leadership

 

Shenandoah University

School of Nursing

Winchester

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (campus)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (hybrid)

Post-Master’s-DNP

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (campus)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (hybrid)

 

University of Virginia

School of Nursing

Charlottesville

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-BSN-DNP (campus)

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Acute Care
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Primary Care
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Post-MSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Clinical Nursing Practice

 

Virginia Commonwealth University

School of Nursing

Richmond

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Leadership

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 Virginia

DNP nurses hold some of the most important administrative and clinical roles in nursing. Upon graduation, DNP-educated nurses in Virginia are able to advance in their current role, transition into a new role, or seek exciting leadership or executive positions.

The following job posts highlight just some of the exceptional opportunities available to DNP-educated nurses in Virginia:

Assistant/Associate or Professor of Nursing, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA

  • Doctoral degree in nursing or related discipline required
  • Unencumbered RN license in Virginia
  • Teaching experience required with scholarship experience preferred

Family Nurse Practitioner Adjunct Faculty, South University, Glen Allen, VA

  • DNP with FNP certification required
  • One to five years of experience in instruction or formalized education process
  • Experience as an FNP strongly preferred

Residential Graduate Adjunct PMHNP Professor, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA

  • DNP, PhD in nursing or a related field
  • Current and unencumbered RN license in the State of Virginia
  • APRN – psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner license in the State of Virginia

DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA

  • DNP or PhD
  • Certification as a family nurse practitioner
  • Experience teaching at the graduate level
  • Experience in practicum/student supervision

 

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.

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