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Post-master’s doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs are designed for master of science in nursing (MSN) prepared registered nurses (RNs) looking to take their nursing career, leadership skills, and clinical expertise to the next level. Programs focus on preparing experts in advanced nursing practice, with opportunities in clinical practice, leadership, and policy. Curriculums incorporate the eight essential competencies set by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) including:

  • Advanced nursing practice
  • Clinical prevention and population health for improving the nation’s health
  • Clinical scholarship and analytical methods for evidence-based practice
  • Health care policy for advocacy in health care
  • Information systems/technology and patient care technology for the improvement and transformation of health care
  • Inter-professional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes
  • Organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking
  • Scientific underpinning for practice

Students will take a variety of courses to support these competencies. Sample courses include health policy and advocacy, leadership and organizational dynamics, evidence based practice, and nurse as educator. Upon completion of course requirements, students will begin the clinical component of the DNP program. While clinical hours may vary by program, most require more than 300 graduate.

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Because the DNP is the highest degree for clinical nursing practice, graduates of these programs are in high demand. This means, they will have no problems landing a position with a bigger title and higher pay. Sample job titles include nurse anesthetist (average salary $160,720), nurse practitioner ($100,910), and nurse educator – specialty hospitals ($106,910).

If you are an MSN-prepared RN and you are ready to take your career to the next level, enroll in a post-master’s DNP program today. We’ve compiled below a list of the best online nursing schools with a post-master's DNP program to help you get started.