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MSU Doctor of Nursing Practice program approved

Program to begin in summer 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012

Nursing students learn patient care from medical mannequins.The Higher Learning Commission notified Missouri State University that its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program was approved. With the March 27 notification, the DNP becomes the third stand-alone doctorate offered by the university.

The Missouri State University Board of Governors approved offering a doctorate degree for nurse practitioners in December 2010. By 2015, the DNP will be the professional degree that is standard for nurse practitioners.

Missouri State will add the DNP and two curricular pathways to achieve that degree – one for baccalaureate nurses and one for nurses who already have a master’s degree in an advanced practice area. The nurse educator specialization will remain at the master’s level. The all online DNP post-master’s DNP program will be implemented beginning in the summer of 2012, and the Bachelor of Nursing Science to DNP will begin in the summer of 2013.

“Missouri State University has been educating family nurse practitioners for 16 years,” said Dr. Kathryn Hope, nursing department head. “The DNP will build on that foundation of primary care by preparing graduates to function in health settings as leaders, managers and consultants.”

In 2004 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the professional organization of schools of baccalaureate and higher degree programs in nursing, recommended that all advanced practice nurses be graduates of a doctoral program by 2015, with the DNP as the terminal clinical degree in nursing. This recommendation was ratified by AACN member shools.

“Approval of the DNP enables Missouri State to comply with changing requirements of the profession for the education of family nurse practitioners, who have an important role in improving access to primary health care, especially in rural and underserved areas,” said Dr. Helen Reid, dean of the College of Health and Human Services.

The vast majority of the students in the nursing program come from the southwest region of the state and 87 percent remain here to work after they earn their degree, according to Hope.

This planned transition from master’s to clinical doctoral education follows the same path as previous successful transitions to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and the Doctor of Audiology (AuD), as required by accrediting and certifying bodies.


College of Health and Human Services
The College of Health and Human Services offers 16 undergraduate and 17 graduate and certificate programs. The academic units in the college include: biomedical sciences; communication sciences and disorders; health, physical education and recreation; nursing; physical therapy; physician assistant studies; psychology; public healthsocial work; and sports medicine and athletic training. Complementing the academic course work in nationally accredited programs are clinical experiences, laboratory and research experiences and internship opportunities. Students receive comprehensive training through interdisciplinary course work, coupled with professional mentoring in the work environment.
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  • Dr. Kathryn Hope
  • (417) 836-5310


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