The changing demographics of the population, a rise in the aging baby boomer population, and an increase in the number of insured persons confirm the need for healthcare providers who are able to provide culturally sensitive, high quality, and affordable care. The supply of advanced practice registered nurses in Louisiana who can work alongside physicians and other providers will determine the state’s ability to promote health. Looming shortages in primary care, especially in rural areas, pave the way for APRNs to assume the role of primary care providers within the health care system. As part of the effort to increase the APRN workforce, state bodies considered the graduate education capacity to develop strategies to meet the current and future demand for APRNs in Louisiana.
Out of the seven universities offering graduate nursing programs in Lousiana, five of them facilitate the Doctor of Nursing Practice, which is the terminal degree for clinical practice in the profession. The doctorate prepares students for advanced practice much like the master’s degree. However, the DNP takes training a step further as it covers the leadership aspect of advanced practice. It will cover additional training in decision-making, health care policy, performance measurement, planning, data management systems, economics, health promotion, and management in health care organizations. Both degrees will allow you to practice, but you must consider your goals – do you plan to work in a clinic treating patients or is it your ultimate goal to take up a leadership position? The DNP is the best choice if leadership your goal as it offers the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice to assure quality outcomes. The MSN is the obvious choice if you want to earn the credentials to become a nurse manager in the shortest possible time.
The DNP degree is offered as an online program, giving students the opportunity to further their education while simultaneously working as a professional nurse. Graduates will have the leadership and specialty skills to influence care delivery and uphold best practices in the profession. Completion requires a commitment of 4 to 5 years for entrants at the bachelor’s level.
Reasons to Get A DNP
The DNP program prepares nurses to assume a leadership role in the delivery of healthcare. The state has been keeping close track of the primary care workforce, especially for any sharp declines that could potentially affect health care delivery in vulnerable communities. Although there has been a steady increase in nurse practitioner graduates over the last decade, the workforce has been affected by state mandates requiring NPs to have formal written agreements with physicians or dentists in order to operate practices. While efforts are underway to do away with collaborative practice agreements, state bodies, such as the Louisiana State Medical Society are in opposition to the bill due to the general belief that NPs do not have the same body of knowledge and experience of a physician. The DNP won’t give APRNs the knowledge that a physician has, but it will better prepare them to open clinics and urgent care centers in the communities where this type of care is most needed.
Healthcare and the accepted standards for the delivery of health care can change at an alarming rate. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing advocates the clinical doctorate as the minimum standard for nurse practitioners. The recommendation has not had a sweeping effect with state boards, but many universities across the nation have replaced their master’s programs with the innovative DNP. The course offerings at these universities could take away the option of the MSN, leaving prospective students with little choice but to enroll in the DNP. Thus far, the requirements of the Louisiana State Board of Nursing in no way affects APRNs practicing with a master’s degree or those looking to enter advanced practice in the near future. With just five universities offering the DNP in the state, changing the requirements could impede the ability to produce sufficient nurse practitioners to meet demand. But as universities seek to update their offerings, there could be some changes on the horizon, especially for nurse practitioners offering primary care in Louisiana.
Originally established to help relieve the shortage of nurse educators holding a doctoral degree, the DNP curriculum empowers students to provide solutions to the problems that plague the delivery of health care. One common challenge lies with the shortage of faculty to educate the next generation of nurses. Nursing schools in Louisiana turn away thousands of eligible applicants each year due to a shortage of faculty to deliver the theory and supervise the clinical experiences. Though not always financially rewarding, some DNP graduates assume a moral responsibility to take up part-time or full-time teaching positions and relieve the reliance on nurses educated at the master’s level.
The DNP degree facilitates placement in leadership roles in the clinical aspect of nursing. Advanced education typically paves the way for better pay in any field, and nursing is no exception. The ability to earn more depends on the field, employer, and goals. Some of the top-paying positions for DNP graduates are nurse anesthetists and psychiatric nurse practitioners. A certified registered nurse anesthetist administers drugs, monitors patients during surgery, and sets IV under the direction of an anesthesiologist.
Nurse anesthetists anesthetize patients under the direction of a licensed anesthesiologist. They help with the administration of drugs, set up IVs, and may monitor the patient during medical procedures. CRNAs earn a mean annual wage of $164,030. Psychiatric nurse practitioners work with psychiatrists to treat mental and emotional disorders. Some work in mental health facilities while others open their private practice or work in hospitals. The mean annual salary for this profession is $104,610.
DNP Admission Requirements Louisiana
The DNP curriculum helps nurses achieve their career advancement goals and qualify positions at the executive level. Students learn how to translate academic research into practice, promote evidence-based practice, and implement systems of care based on research. They also learn how to apply research in clinical practice settings, collaborate with the interdisciplinary team for the benefit of patients, families, and communities, use information technology in practice, and lead teams. Graduates have all the competencies to practice at the most advanced level of nursing as they use evidence-based practice to improve patient outcomes.
Course topics for study will include epidemiology, analytic methods, systems leadership, healthcare policy, preventative care, informatics, biostatistics, and specialized courses. Each track will also include time for project planning and clinical practice. The course theory will be delivered using online technology to give nurses the flexibility to study and work. Students may need to be present on campus for orientation and to defend their DNP project. The practicum requirements will be completed at approved health care facilities.
Admission requirements vary based on the nursing program options. However, there are common requirements for all programs, including an unencumbered nursing license to practice and clinical experience as a registered nurse. Specific requirements for entry into each program can be determined by checking the school’s website.
The BSN-to-DNP program lets nurses progress from the BSN to the DNP with a chosen concentration. The type of program requires continuous progression and must conclude with the DNP degree.
- Submit an application along with fee and requested materials.
- Request transcripts to be sent to the admissions department.
- Provide official GRE scores.
- Submit an up-to-date resume indication employment history, academic preparation, degrees awarded, and personal data.
- Verification of an unencumbered RN license.
- Submit a statement of purpose indicating goals for doctoral study.
- Provide letters of recommendation.
- Submit an application along with the fee and requested materials.
- Request official transcripts from every degree graduating college or university to be sent to the admissions department.
- Provide evidence of a current, unencumbered RN license and APRN license if applicable.
- Submit a copy of your resume including work history, academic preparations, degrees awarded, and personal data.
- Provide a statement of purpose indicating your goals for doctoral study.
- Provide verification of clinical hours completed in the MSN program.
- Provide letters of recommendation in sealed envelopes.
Tuition, fees, and books cost an average $1,568 for three credits at Southeastern Louisiana University for state residents. Financial aid, scholarships and other sources of aid are available for graduate students.
DNP Programs Louisiana
Baton Rouge, LA DNP Programs:
Southern University and A&M College
801 Harding Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70813
Hammond, LA DNP Programs:
Southeastern Louisiana University
400 Tennessee Avenue, Hammond, LA 70402
Lafayette, LA DNP Programs:
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
104 East University Circle, Lafayette, LA 70503
New Orleans, LA DNP Programs:
Loyola University- New Orleans
6363 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing
1900 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70112