DNP Programs Florida

Prospective nurse practitioners may be caught in limbo by the proposed Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) recommendation. More than a decade ago, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommended that nurse practitioners be prepared with a doctoral, rather than the current master’s degree. They proposed to have the master’s degree phased out by 2015. But as 2015 fades into the sunset, we can see clearly that the DNP requirement will be postponed for a few more years. Colleges and universities in Florida continue to market their master’s degree programs for nurse practitioners. However, the state seems to be most prepared to meet the demands for DNP education with degree offerings at 12 universities and counting.

Prospective nurse practitioners are, understandably, anxious about their futures, but they can rest in the assurance that MSN programs will be around for a while yet. However, the proliferation of DNP programs in Florida and across the nation is a sign of things to come. Ideally, NP students should understand the AACN’s viewpoint for recommending the DNP mandate, which is to prepare nurse practitioners to meet “the changing demands of the nation’s complex health care environment.” The program offers the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise, which will result in improved patient outcomes.

With no real agitation of the issue nationwide and no change in the education requirements from the Florida Board of Nursing, it’s safe to say that the master’s degree will remain a viable point of entry for now. If you’re torn between an MSN and DNP program, your career goals will help simplify the decision. More than just preparing students to be nurse practitioners, the DNP degree hands graduates the privilege of becoming clinical leaders.

The DNP mandate could take effect nationwide within the next two years … or next decade. The bottom line is to evaluate your goals and recognize that you can do more with the advanced degree.

How to Choose the Right DNP Program

In Florida, there are twelve DNP programs, and many more nationwide, if you consider online degree options. No two programs are the same, so you need to research the program’s accreditation status, teaching methods, practice requirements, and project expectations when selecting a school. The faculty and curriculum are other key considerations.

Accreditation assures students that the program meets the requirements set forth by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education (AACN). The DNP degree is still fairly new, so some schools may still be engaged in the accrediting process. However, if the school has other accredited nursing programs, you can probably assume that the DNP offering will be accredited. As long as the school completes the accreditation requirements and receives the site review, you’ll graduate from an accredited program.

Since the DNP is a practice-oriented degree, the curriculum must include practice hours for students to acquire experiential learning opportunities. Like other nursing degree programs, the clinical experiences reinforce the didactic instruction to ensure graduates develop the competence to function as a DNP in an executive role. There are two primary modes of accumulating practice hours; the first is through the completion of the capstone project, and the other is through hands-on practice relating to the DNP essentials. Each option develops specific competencies, so consider your goals before making a decision. Ultimately, you must complete 1,000 documented practice hours to graduate from the program according to the AACN’s specifications. The hours clocked during the master’s program may be included. Before enrolling in the program, consult the school’s faculty on your options for completing additional practice hours to meet the requirements.

How would you like to have your content delivered? Content delivery is another area where programs vary. Some schools follow the traditional format where students attend and participate in the classroom while others rely heavily on technological advancements to deliver content online. Hybrid programs are an option if you want some level of personal interaction with faculty and students. Choose a program that best fits your schedule and learning style.

Finding qualified and experienced faculty is a challenge many nursing program directors face. Faculty members who are actively engaged in practice will bring real world experiences to the “classroom.” Whether they’re full-time nurse executives or experts in a specific area of practice, the faculty member should model the role and articulate the AACN’s essentials for developing competent executives and managers of healthcare.

Review the school’s curriculum. Go through it point by point, especially the program sequence. It should cover all the DNP essentials in a rational sequence of courses. Ask questions if you’re not clear on how each course relates to an area of practice. The capstone project may conclude the program or be integrated throughout. The format may or may not be a primary concern depending on your schedule, commitments, and goals.

DNP Admission Requirements Florida

The DNP program equips nurses in advanced practice nurse roles with the specialized skills to manage complex healthcare needs in an affordable and collaborative manner. The focus of the curriculum is the use of evidenced-based practice and technology to guide decisions – administrative as well as clinical decisions. The terminal degree places graduates at the highest level of healthcare, so they’re well able to serve as leaders in the industry. While policy development is a key component of the program, the DNP-educated practitioner’s focus is the delivery of safe, competent, and high-quality care. He/she will also develop or implement policies to improve the healthcare outcomes for all patients.

DNP graduates who assume teaching roles help to alleviate the shortage of RNs by contributing to the education of the future generation of nurses.

There are two points of entry for a DNP Program:

  • A Post-Master’s DNP – for MSN-prepared professionals
  • A Post-Bachelor’s to DNP – BSN to DNP

Admission Requirements – Post-Master’s to DNP

Students seeking admission to a Post-Master’s DNP program in Florida will first need to be admitted to the university for graduate study then secure admission to the nursing program. Like every nursing program, admission is competitive, so the school will make a decision after reviewing the following:

  • Evidence of completing an MS in Nursing at a nationally accredited school. You should demonstrate a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Completion of statistics, advanced health assessment and other prerequisite courses at a master’s level.
  • Current registration as an RN in the United States.
  • Official transcripts of all college courses.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Two academic or professional letters of recommendation.
  • An essay on an assigned topic.
  • Evidence of residency and U.S. citizenship.
  • Completion of the health requirements – CPR certification, immunization, TB clearance, etc.

Admission Requirements – BSN to DNP

Students seeking entry into a BSN to DNP program must secure admission to the university for graduate study before applying to the BSN to DNP program. General requirements for entry include:

  • Evidence of completing a BS in Nursing from at nationally accredited institution. Applicants with a GPA or 3.5 and above receive first consideration.
  • Completion of undergraduate statistics and research with a grade C or above.
  • Current licensure as a registered nurse in the U.S.
  • Official transcripts of all college courses.
  • GRE scores – minimum determined by the school.
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Two academic or professional letters of recommendation.
  • An essay on an assigned topic.
  • Proof of residency.
  • Completion of the health requirements – CPR certification, immunization, TB clearance, etc.

The estimated cost of the DNP degree program in Florida is $23,700 for resident students including costs for lab fees, parking, health fees, and application fees. Funding may be available through federal and private loans, grants and scholarships for qualifying students.

DNP Degree Programs Florida

Boca Raton, FL DNP Programs:
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, FL 33431

Coral Gables, FL DNP Programs:
University of Miami
S Dixie Hwy, Coral Gables, FL 33124, United States

Fort Lauderdale, FL DNP Programs:
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

Gainesville, FL DNP Programs:
University of Florida (BSN to DNP)
101 S Newell Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611, United States

Jacksonville, FL DNP Programs:
Jacksonville University
2800 University Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32211

University of North Florida
1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224
(904) 620-1000

Miami, FL DNP Programs:
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199

Miami Shores, FL DNP Programs:
Barry University
11300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, FL 33161

Orlando, FL DNP Programs:
University of Central Florida College of Nursing
12201 Research Parkway, Suite 300, Orlando, Florida 32826

Pensacola, FL DNP Programs:
University of West Florida
11000 University Pkwy, Pensacola, FL 32514

Tallahassee, FL DNP Programs:
Florida State University
98 Varsity Way, PO Box 3064310, Tallahassee, FL 32306

Tampa, FL DNP Programs:
University of South Florida
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC Box 22, Tampa, FL 33612
(813) 974-2191

West Palm Beach, FL DNP Programs:
Palm Beach Atlantic
901 S. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Crystal is a certified Registered Nurse (RN) with a passion for writing about nursing education. Through her articles, Crystal shares insights and tips to help fellow nurses enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest developments in the field. With a focus on practical advice and relevant topics, Crystal's writing is a valuable resource for nursing professionals seeking to advance their careers.