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BSN to DNP Degree Programs

BSN to DNP programs may take students around three or four years to complete, and prepare them for a variety of positions. Students will develop extensive knowledge of nursing topics, ethics, and methodologies. Read more below.

How to Earn a DNP Directly from a BSN

Many programs offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) route, and typically require students to hold a Registered Nurse (RN) practitioner license in addition to a Bachelor of Nursing Practice. Programs usually take around three or four years and may include of some of the courses listed below.

Pharmacology

Many DNP programs have an advanced pharmacology course, regardless of DNP specialty. These courses cover important pharmacologic topics relevant to nurses. Courses aim to give students an understanding of main pharmacological drug types in order to prepare them for treating patients. Students may also learn how to apply pharmacology methods and skills to treat diseases through real-world practice situations.

Health Assessment

As a fundamental part of a DNP program, health assessment courses give students higher knowledge of how to assess the health of individuals in practice. Students may learn to assess health using genetic, cultural, biological and other data. Courses may focus on collecting, interpreting and developing data for a comprehensive health assessment. In addition, many courses may use this course to introduce evidence-based concepts for practice.

Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology courses may be required for all DNP specializations, as they cover basic topics in human pathophysiology. Students may learn cellular, tissue, molecular and system perspectives and how they relate to patient disease. Courses may provide instruction on how to gather information from different sources to diagnose patients, as well as how to create and implement a plan of action for patients who have been diagnosed.

Advanced Nursing Practice

Some DNP programs have a core course covering the advanced roles for nurses in professional practice. These courses may discuss theory analysis and leadership skill development as they apply to services to groups and individuals. Students may study perspectives from several disciplines in order to build a general understanding of advanced nursing practice roles.

Evidence-Based Practices

A fundamental course for most DNP programs, evidence-based practice introduces students to the appropriate methods for collecting and utilizing research. Students learn how to critically assess research and evidence of best practices that have been implemented in healthcare. Courses may require students to address clinical questions using evidence-based research, and create reports or recommendations based on their conclusions. In addition, students learn how to effectively search for academic literature and properly credit their sources.

Ethics in Healthcare

Individuals seeking to work in nursing or nursing-related roles will find usefulness in ethics courses which are typically a core requirement of a DNP program. These classes seek to ensure graduates have the capacity for ethical decisions and reflections. Students often are tasked with addressing ethical issues that affect nursing practice. Students may also be asked about current healthcare ethics that may be effective and those that may need improvement. This course is fundamental to the moral awareness and actions of nursing students as they enter and continue in their careers.

Family Healthcare

Family healthcare courses may be part of generalized DNP programs or those that are specialized in family nurse practice. In family healthcare courses, students learn their role as a primary healthcare provider as it applies to families and individuals throughout their lifespan. Courses may consist of exploration in family concepts and theories, as well as healthcare practices and clinical research. Patient health implications such as culture, religion, gender, and environment may also be reviewed.

Pediatrics

Pediatric courses may be included as core or specialized curriculum requirements, and give nursing students extended knowledge of pediatric healthcare. These courses focus on infants, children, and adolescents. Students may study relevant factors for underage patients such as genetics, environmental risks, family and parenting styles, as well as screenings. Other topics covered may include health promotion, referral options, and methods, ethical and legal implications as well as infant assessments.

Women's Health

Women's health courses are typically included for DNP programs focused on women's health or midwifery. In these courses, students may learn to apply the principles of women's disease prevention and health promotion to a midwife or other nursing positions. Courses may discuss political, cultural, and societal implications as well as gender values and norms. Students should develop an understanding of those theories and approaches that may be different for treating women, and how to effectively apply their skills to ensure the best care for patients.

Reproductive Health

DNP programs with women's health or midwife specialties typically include courses on reproductive healthcare for women. These courses may discuss women's physiology and reproductive anatomy as well as pregnancy variables. Students may study midwifery-specific pregnancy care and assessments, as well as how to independently provide women's healthcare. Students may be tasked with taking managerial approaches to practice scenarios in order to expand their applicable skills and understanding.

Students who enter a DNP program with a BSN can expect to spend around three or four years completing the degree. Their DNP courses will provide them with an understanding of the nursing practice, research, and ethics, to prepare them for working with patients from different groups, age ranges, and genders.