Misericordia University introducing doctorate degree in nursing practice

DALLAS, Pa. – The Department of Nursing at Misericordia University is introducing the online doctorate degree in nursing practice (DNP) for the fall semester.

The 27-credit part-time MSN to DNP track can be completed in two years while attending the fall, spring and summer over six semesters.

An optional nine-credit specialization in nursing education – the only DNP program offering this specialization in northeastern Pennsylvania – also is available for advanced practice nurses who wish to become educators on the collegiate level.

Nationally board certified and licensed advanced practice nurses, including certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and certified clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), are eligible to apply for the MSN to DNP program.

The DNP program is being offered in two tracks. The bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) to doctorate degree in nursing practice (DNP) track, which is slated to begin with the 2015 fall semester. It features 64 credits that can be completed while attending classes in three years over nine semesters, including summers.

Graduates of the program will be awarded with both a master’s degree in nursing and the DNP degree. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national family nurse practitioner board certification examination.

“The DNP program is being introduced at Misericordia in response to the growing need for advanced practice nurse clinicians prepared at the doctoral level,” said Brenda Hage, Ph.D., D.N.P., C.R.N.P., professor and director of graduate nursing programs at Misericordia. “The Institute of Medicine, in concert with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), has a preferred recommendation and vision that by 2015 all advanced practice nurses should be educated at the doctoral level.”

Hage will serve as the DNP program director.

The Misericordia University DNP program is a practice-focused doctoral degree that educates nurses to become expert clinicians, leaders in health policy and catalysts for improved health care delivery within an inter-professional environment.

The curriculum consists of didactic and clinical course work structured around the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Didactic and clinical course work in this cutting-edge curriculum culminates in the completion of an evidence-based practice clinical capstone project. A residency experience is not required to complete the program.

The University offers three undergraduate nursing programs: traditional, full-time nursing students; part-time accelerated evening program for adult students; and the RN-to-BSN Expressway Program.

MU also offers a post-master’s certificate as a family nurse practitioner for nurses who already have an advanced clinical master’s degree and who wish to change or expand their practice focus to primary care.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education in health assessment, diagnosis and management of acute and chronic health conditions with expertise in health promotion and disease prevention.

Nursing students at Misericordia can successfully complete the three individual programs – BSN, MSN and DNP – by taking a blend of traditional classroom and online courses.

The nursing program recently had its continuing accreditation extended for the maximum of 10 years to March 2023 by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Undergraduate and graduate nursing students have also been successful in passing their national licensure examinations.

Most recently, baccalaureate degree nursing students who graduated from the bachelor’s degree program during the past year achieved a pass rate that was 16 percentage points higher than the national average for pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

MU’s BSN graduates achieved a 98.08-percent pass rate for first-time test-takers who took the NCLEX-RN examination between Oct. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2013.

Misericordia graduates exceeded both the average national pass rate of 82.07 percent and the average pass rate in Pennsylvania of 85.31 for baccalaureate degree programs. It marks the third year in a row that the nursing program’s pass rates surpassed the state and national averages.

In addition, the May 2013 graduate degree nursing students in the nurse practitioner program also recently received a 100-percent pass rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner Examination.

For more information about the DNP degree program at Misericordia University, contact Maureen Sheridan in the Center for Adult and Continuing Education at 570-674-6451 or email her at msherida@misericordia.edu.