The critical shortage of physicians in Wyoming has a crippling impact on access to medical care. The medical community has been pushing for more primary care physicians for several years now, as projections reveal a shortage of 130,000 doctors by 2025 – according to the Association of Medical Colleges. Greater access to health insurance and the growing baby boomer population that qualifies for Medicaid drive demand for services. Although the extent of the shortage is questionable, most experts can agree that the U.S. needs more primary care providers. Many of them agree that professionals other than primary care physicians can provide the primary care services that the population needs. One increasingly popular means for delivering primary care to rural areas is through the services of nurse practitioners.
Nurse practitioners are becoming the health provider of choice for many Americans. They use their clinical expertise to diagnose and treat medical conditions with an emphasis on disease prevention and health management. In the state of Wyoming, the doctoral degree program prepares registered nurses with the advanced clinical training to become expert health care providers capable of delivering the high-quality care. In addition to the didactic and clinical components covered the program, the student will sit a rigorous exam for national certification. Nurse practitioners represent one category of advanced practice nurses recognized by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing. Other categories include Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Certified Nurse Anesthetists. The Doctor of Nursing Practice can prepare registered nurses to fill these advanced practice roles and renew their commitment to continued learning and professional development to maintain their clinical competency.
Reasons to Get A DNP
Doctoral study for nurses leads to two primary pathways – professional or practice. Unlike the Ph.D., which prepares students to test and validate new knowledge, the practice doctorate (DNP) helps students develop the competency to apply the new knowledge in practice to solve problems. In short, DNP graduates (advanced practice nurses) can translate research concepts into best practice in a clinical setting. With the need to improve patient outcomes and meet the rising challenges in health care head-on, there are numerous reasons why a registered nurse should take the plunge and pursue the DNP.
Strong leadership is a critical part of the health care equation. One component of the DNP Essentials is leadership – a quality that goes hand in hand with evidence-based practice. The DNP graduate can apply the principles of evidence-based practice in clinical settings to bright the gap between research findings and the delivery of care. Moreover, a nurse trained at this level will unearth challenges within the health care system, promote nursing knowledge, and develop an environment that new approaches to care that will improve patient outcomes.
The need to increase the education of advanced practice registered nurses to that of the DNP is not a call to bog down the lives of nurses. The recommendation is reflective of the times and the complexities of the health care system. The DNP will broaden the legitimacy of APRNs, specifically, nurse practitioners, who are increasingly called upon to help bridge the gap in primary care. Nurse practitioners treat the “whole” person – not just the disease. Although the degree represents the terminal degree for nurses, it reemphasizes the lifelong commitment to knowledge and growth. With such a commitment, graduates will use their leadership to promote positive health outcomes, encourage patient safety, and assume accountability for decisions made. Following the changing model of health care, they will educate patients and their families, so that they take an active role in the prevention, preservation, and restoration of their own health.
For an advanced practice nurse or registered nurse enrolling the in the DNP through the MSN or BSN route, the curriculum will expand their knowledge to appraise and implement research. Graduates will have the confidence to make clinical decisions based on an analysis of the data that is currently available. Building on their years of experience in practice, the DNP gives nurses additional confidence in their ability to lead, which will improve their contributions to patient care and effectiveness and creativity in the delivery of care.
A major part of the DNP program is the management, or development, of an approach to leadership that integrates a broad and detailed assessment of evidence combined with communication and influence to encourage the behaviors in patients that will affect change. DNPs think critically and ask questions to arrive a better practice. They foster teamwork and collaborate with physicians, pharmacists, and nursing peers to inspire and improve outcomes.
DNP graduates are transformational leaders. These nurse leaders have defined attributes and are visionaries who can bring teams together that are both collaborative and autonomous. They contribute to organizational growth and influence the health care environment by instilling confidence, support, and commitment from all stakeholders. They are transformational leaders committed to ongoing education, which will open the door to even greater opportunities.
DNP Admission Requirements Wyoming
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is fast-becoming the new standard for advanced practice registered nursing – especially for nurse practitioners that will deliver primary care across Wyoming. The Fay Whitney W School of Nursing at the University of Wyoming offers the only DNP program within the state. There are two clinical options: a family nurse practitioner (FNP) and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). The programs are both post-BSN. However, FNPs or PMHNPs may enroll in the program, but they must take the entire post-BSN plan of study. Graduates are prepared to provide rural primary care or rural psychiatric mental health care depending on the clinical option chosen. The PMHNP is offered in collaboration with the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado.
As the only DNP in the state, the program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which will strengthen the delivery of primary and mental health care in Wyoming. Accreditation will also give graduates the eligibility to sit the national certification exam for their respective area of study and obtain licensure in Wyoming or another state. Accreditation also benefits the medical community and patients who will receive primary and mental health care from graduates.
The program may be completed in nine semesters, three years, and covers 84 credits for the program and a total of 19 practicum credits (1140 clock hours). Course topics include but are not limited to advanced pathophysiology, health behavior change, foundations of integrative advanced practice nursing, evidence-based practice, advanced health assessment and clinical decision-making, improvement science in health care, leadership in advanced practice nursing, health communication and informatics, and innovative practice models.
Admission Requirements – Post-BSN Entry
The University of Wyoming admits individuals who can demonstrate a commitment to becoming leaders in rural primary and mental health care and willingness to adhere to the highest professional standards. Applicants must also have the intellectual capacity and academic ability to successfully complete the program. Preference is given to those who have a cumulate GPA of 3.0 or above.
General admission requirements include:
- A completed graduate application for the appropriate year. UW requires all documents, with the exception of official transcripts, to be submitted online.
- Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities. The transcripts must be mailed from previous schools directly to the UW.
- A completed essay that describes your personal goals, the role of the FNP or PMHNP and the aspects that appeal to you.
- A curriculum vitae outline employment history, certifications and licensure, publications, presentations, academic history, continuing education experiences, and presentations.
- Professional letters of recommendation,
- Attend an on-campus interview – by invitation only.
Tuition costs approximately 8,580 per semester for resident students. The amount is based on an enrollment of 11 credits per semester. The actual cost of the tuition will depend on the total credit hours enrolled. In addition to tuition, students will need to budget for textbooks and personal expenses.
DNP Programs Wyoming
Laramie, WY DNP programs:
University of Wyoming
1000 East University Avenue, Laramie, WY 82071