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

APRNs and other nurses holding a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) are among the most important healthcare professionals in Wisconsin, providing expert treatment in clinical settings and serving in critical administrative and executive roles.

And their role has never been more vital, given a swiftly aging population that places more strain on an already over-taxed healthcare sector. According to a 2018 report published by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, by 2030 20% of the population in every county will be over the age of 60. In addition, Wisconsin’s healthcare workforce is aging right along with the state’s population, meaning a significant portion make the transition to retirement every year.

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School
Simmons College Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Online Post-MSN to DNP program
Georgetown University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Online BSN to DNP Program
Capella University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice program
Walden University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Northern Illinois University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • MSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice
Nova Southeastern University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
Sacred Heart University Request Info
Selected Program:
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Advanced practice providers, which include both physician assistants and APRNs, are the solution to a shortage of primary care providers, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. And hospital systems are increasingly relying on these professionals to ensure citizens here have access to reliable, cost-effective care.

In fact, employment of advanced practice nurses has more than doubled in Wisconsin during the last decade. According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, APRNs “working at the top of their skill, training, and experience are a vital part of Wisconsin’s health care workforce.”

While the MSN remains the minimum educational requirement to become an APRN, increasing numbers of RNs with their sights set on advanced practice nursing are choosing the DNP as a route to initial certification. The DNP has also become the degree of choice for currently practicing APRNs interested in transitioning to administration and executive roles, taking on clinical leadership roles, or adding another patient population focus.

More colleges and universities are now offering DNP programs online, making them more accessible to both BSN- and MSN-educated nurses.

Earning a Wisconsin Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree

Most DNP programs in Wisconsin include entry points for both BSN- and MSN-prepared RNs and advanced practice RNs:

  • BSN-DNP programs enable BSN-prepared nurses to first complete an MSN before transitioning to the DNP component. The advantage of obtaining an MSN en route is that it allows nursing students to obtain national certification and earn APRN licensure before transition to DNP curriculum and begin accumulating the required advanced practice experience. BSN-DNP programs typically entail more than 3 years of full-time enrollment that involves earning about 90 credits depending on the specialization.
  • MSN-DNP programs enable nurses who may already have an APRN license to complete their DNP, so they can transition to administrative or executive leadership roles, or advance even further in clinical practice. This might mean advancing expertise within a current role and patient population, or even adding an additional patient population or specialty certification. MSN-DNP programs typically require at least 18 months of full time study and 30-36 credits depending on the specialization.

Many of Wisconsin’s prospective DNP students are choosing to enroll in accredited online schools that offer a great deal of flexibility. While the didactic courses are taken online, DNP students still need to complete their clinical requirements at partner hospitals. In most cases, clinical hours can be completed at a nurse’s current place of employment.

Many campus-based and online DNP programs offer flexible accelerated and part-time formats to accommodate working nurses. Instead of the 1.5 to 2 years of study for a traditional DNP program, accelerated programs are typically completed in a year. Part-time programs typically take about 2.5 years to complete.

There are three main components to a DNP program:

  • DNP core – DNP core coursework includes such topics as methods for clinical scholarship, epidemiology, evidence-based practice, and transforming the healthcare organization
  • Specialty courses for the nurse’s chosen focus – Specialty courses focus on an APRN or executive/administrative focus
  • Final project – The culmination of a DNP program is the student’s final project in which they demonstrate subject matter mastery through a research project. DNP projects usually consist of developing a manuscript suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and/or a formal presentation at a conference. In many programs, students must come to campus to defend their research project.

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

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

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

 

Concordia University Wisconsin

School of Nursing

Mequon

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Leadership

 

Edgewood College

Henry Predolin School of Nursing

Madison

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (online)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Primary Care Adult Gerontology
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist-Adult Gerontology
  • Administration
  • Education

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Executive Leadership

 

Marquette University

College of Nursing

Milwaukee

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-Bachelor’s-DNP (campus)

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Dual Pediatric Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Post-Master’s-DNP (hybrid)

  • Clinical Nursing Practice

 

University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

College of Nursing

Eau Claire

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Adult-Gerontologic Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontologic Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Administrator/Nurse Executive (Adult-Gerontologic or Family Population focus)

Post-Master’s-DNP (hybrid)

  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Nurse Executive

 

University of Wisconsin – Madison

School of Nursing

Madison

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-BS-DNP (hybrid)

  • Adult/Gerontology-Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Post-MS-DNP (hybrid)

  • Nurse Educator

 

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

School of Nursing

Milwaukee

Accreditation: CCNE

BS-DNP (campus)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (Adult/Gerontology, Maternal/Infant/Women’s Health, Pediatrics)
  • Leadership/Systems
  • Community/Public Health
  • DNP/MBA Dual Degree

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Clinical Nursing Practice

 

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

College of Nursing

Oshkosh

Accreditation: CCNE and COA

BSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthesia

MSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Master’s-DNP (hybrid)

  • Clinical Nursing Practice

 

Viterbo University

School of Nursing

La Crosse

Accreditation: CCNE

Post-BSN-DNP (campus)

  • Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • CRNA
  • DNP/MBA (Dual Degree)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Post-MSN-DNP (campus)

  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP/MBA (Dual Degree)

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 Wisconsin

DNP-educated nurses in Wisconsin are armed with the skills to take part in the most important clinical and administrative careers in nursing. The DNP come with a bigger paycheck and more professional opportunities while also preparing Wisconsin’s nurses with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in an increasingly complex healthcare environment.

The following job posts highlight the many opportunities available to DNP-educated nurses in Wisconsin:

Director of Education, Mile Bluff Medical Center, Mauston, WI

  • CNS or DNP preferred
  • WI RN license required

Nursing: Assistant/Associate Professor in Family Nurse Practitioner/Adult Gerontology, Eau Claire, WI

  • PhD in nursing; PhD in a related field with a master’s in nursing; or a DNP
  • WI RN license
  • Teaching experience in both undergraduate and graduate programs

Infection Preventionist, Mayo Clinic, Bloomer, WI

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s in medical laboratory science, medical technologist, clinical laboratory science, microbiology, epidemiology, or public health
  • MSN, master’s in public health, or DNP preferred
  • Microbiology or hospital clinical lab experience
  • Public health experience

 

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.

Back to Top