Nurses are some of the most dedicated professionals in the healthcare field, providing comfort, respite and necessary care to others. Over time, many nurses will look at their career goals and where they aspire to be in the medical profession. If you find yourself looking to advance your career, now may be the time to consider some additional education. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree can take you and your skillset to the next level. At Abilene Christian University, busy nursing professionals can earn a DNP degree entirely online, building their clinical and management skills while continuing in their daily work.
What Is a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree?
A DNP degree is a practice-focused program that builds on master’s degrees and provides additional leadership training and evidence-based medical care. The goal of this education is to improve the skills of a nurse so they can deliver a higher quality of care to patients.
An Accredited DNP Degree Available Entirely Online
At ACU, we offer a comprehensive DNP program that is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). CCNE accreditation attests to the quality of the education provided, ensuring that you are investing in a degree that will further your career goals and your knowledge as a medical professional.
This advanced training takes place entirely online and has no residency requirement, so nurses can continue working while earning this credential. On-the-job practice takes place through two hands-on projects woven into the program, which nurses can complete in their own clinics and facilities. This flexibility makes the ACU DNP degree ideal for those who cannot relocate and still need to balance work, life, and family.
Two Specialized Tracks Offered
The DNP Program at ACU has two distinct tracks—Executive Nursing Leadership and Advanced Practice Nursing. Both tracks examine these topics:
- The DNP role
- Epidemiology and population health
- Research and applied statistics
- Information technology and its role in patient care
- Healthcare policy and Clinical practice
- Organizational and system leadership
In addition, the two tracks have specific topics they delve into more deeply.
Executive Nursing Leadership
The Executive Nursing Leadership track focuses on developing leaders in the field. In addition to the foundational courses, this track covers:
- Principles and theories of leading people
- Finance and its impact on clinical practice
- Impact and care of chronic health conditions
If you picture yourself in a leadership role within the healthcare industry, desire to help train other nursing professionals, or want a position in management, this track will prepare you well.
Advanced Practice Nurse
The Advanced Practice Nurse track is for students who have a current Advanced Nurse Practice license and whose passion is for medical care, not theory. While DNP graduates typically do rise to leadership positions, this track focuses on practical training that advances your nursing skills. It includes:
- The role of genetics in health
- Finance in the world of healthcare
- Integrative medicine
- Population health and Chronic disease management
- Healthcare reform
If you want to learn the foundations of integrative healthcare and dig deeper into medical care topics, this track will prepare you to better serve others in your nursing career.
Nursing professionals have many potential job options after attaining DNP credentials. They may take roles that still allow them to practice nursing, such as lead clinician or CNO. They may find management positions such as a Director of Nursing, Director of Clinical Services, or Director of Advanced Practice Nurses. Public health coordinators and academic nurse leaders also often hold a DNP.
Costs of the ACU DNP
ACU Online’s DNP, which requires 39 credit hours to complete, is $871 per credit hour. Each course also has a $200 resource fee. However, there are scholarships available to help reduce the cost of tuition.
Residency and Clinical Hour Requirements
The flexibility of ACU’s DNP stems from the lack of residency requirements. Nursing students do not have to move to complete a residency and can continue working in their current clinical environments.
The hands-on portion comes from 500 clinical hours, which students complete while working on two additional projects. These projects require the student to plan and implement a program in a clinical setting that uses some of the principles learned through their coursework. After executing the project, students evaluate the results and then present a paper for review. Most students are able to complete these clinical hours and project requirements in their existing workplaces.
Support Through the Journey
At ACU, we treat our students as family. From the moment you start speaking with the admissions team to the day you finish your program, and even beyond graduation, our faculty and staff are dedicated to your success.
Students receive a faculty mentor from ACU that serves as a guide through the degree and project completion. This mentor ensures you will receive support along the way, so you get the most out of your educational experience.
Is a DNP Right for You?
A DNP is a good fit for nurses who:
- Have a Master’s in Nursing from an accredited school
- Have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0
- Have an unencumbered registered nursing license
- Can submit a CV or resume along with two professional letters supporting the nurse’s work ethic and character
- Are interested in a career in clinical or management roles
If you are a nurse who has your Bachelor’s in Nursing, be sure to look at our BSN to DNP program pathway.
Pursue Your DNP with ACU Online
If you are looking for advanced education in nursing, need the flexibility of a fully online program, and want a degree backed by Christian values, ACU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice is the program for you. Talk to our admissions team today to learn more about the online DNP program or to apply.