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Three MCPHS nursing students working on simulation doll.

Why Nurses Should Consider Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice

  • The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) prepares nurses to deliver expert care, provide innovative practice, and translate evidence-based care to clinical practice.

    Offered in a convenient online format designed to fit the schedules of working nurses, this part-time, two-year program is designed for advanced practice registered nurses, including those certified as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, or clinical nurse specialists, who are looking to reach the highest level of the nursing profession.

    Learn more about how the MCPHS Doctor of Nursing Practice program is helping working nurses gain the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to thrive in today’s healthcare workforce.

    Why is the School of Nursing at MCPHS offering this doctoral-level degree?

    The DNP degree represents a terminal degree in nursing practice and is an alternative to the research-focused Doctorate of Philosophy degree. The curriculum for the DNP degree builds upon traditional master’s programs by providing education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership. Furthermore, the DNP is intended to be a parity degree with other healthcare doctorates, such as psychology, pharmacy, physical therapy, medicine, and dentistry,

    How is the Doctor of Nursing Practice program structured?

    The DNP program, which is offered online, is a two-year, part-time program geared toward working nurses. The program consists of 36-credit hours. Consistent with requirements of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, the DNP requires a total of 1,000 hours of clinical. Students may apply up to 500 clinical hours from their master’s degree program toward the DNP degree requirement. The clinical hours required in the program are not practice hours; they are hours directed toward completing the required major scholarly project. To complete the major scholarly project, students will work under the guidance of a faculty mentor to complete a major scholarly project within the clinical arena. This scholarly project is based on an advanced nursing practice immersion experience that is designed to address a nursing or healthcare problem, with the goal of improving practice or healthcare outcomes.

    What makes this program unique?

    The DNP program at MCPHS is unique in that the curriculum allows for the student to take three elective courses that can include graduate-level courses from the School of Nursing or from other degree programs within the University, such as public health, health sciences, acupuncture and integrative health, healthcare administration, clinical research, and regulatory affairs and health policy, among others.

    Do students in the DNP program participate in residencies?

    Students will be expected to attend three in-person residencies in Worcester, MA. The residencies are three days long and are held in May of each year. The first residency helps students orient to the University, the School of Nursing, and the MCPHS Online platform; it also allows them to get to know fellow colleagues, faculty, and staff. The second residency explores the DNP role and the many contributions of the DNP nurses; it includes an overview of scholarly projects, initiatives, and future possibilities within the DNP role. The third and final residency represents an opportunity for DNP students to showcase their own scholarly work and attend commencement ceremonies.

    The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is offered through the School of Nursing at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.