BSN to DNP Bridge Programs

BSN to DNP Bridge Programs

BSN to DNP programs are created for nurses who wish to move up their careers and become an advanced practice nurse (APRN).

With these programs, you can build a solid foundation of nursing practice and theory together with teaching research methods.

The daily activities of DNP-educated nurses depend on the program they choose.

The programs offering the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree are becoming more available and accessible.

Many schools offer MSN and DNP programs now, so the graduates can earn both degrees simultaneously.

Multiple schools offer BSN to DNP and dual programs to prepare students for increasing patient populations.

They prepare students for such positions as Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Types of BSN to DNP Programs Available

There are multiple niche nursing areas RNs can choose, so when looking to become an advanced nurse, you should find the right path.

For many BSN to DNP programs, you will have to choose a specialty when applying.

The primary types of BSN to DNP programs available together with their specializations include the following:

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

  • Pediatric Acute or Primary Care.
  • Adult-Gerontological Acute Care.
  • Women’s Health.
  • Dual Role (Family NP/Adult-Gerontological Acute Care) Emergency Specialty.
  • Neonatal.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).
  • Psychiatric Acute Care.
  • Dual Adult-Gerontology/Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • Dual Role Pediatric/Family Nurse Practitioner (PNP/FNP).

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

  • Adult Health.
  • Pediatric.
  • Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health.
  • Adult-Gerontology.
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatric-Mental Health.

Registered Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA)

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

Certified Nurse Midwifery (CNM)

What Are the Prerequisites for a BSN to DNP Program?

Nurses with experience in the field looking to obtain an advanced nursing specialty can go for a BSN to a DNP program.

Not all schools cover all the specialties, so you have to carefully research the information about the chosen school to ensure they have the program you’re looking for.

The general prerequisites of most programs include:

  • A score of 500 or better on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited university.
  • In-Person interview.
  • Personal essay.
  • Current, unencumbered nursing license or eligibility for nursing licensure in the school’s state.

Are Clinical Hours Required for the BSN to DNP Program?

The BSN to DNP programs requires clinical hours and licensure in the state of practice.

Even if you take an online program, you will have to take a clinical practicum as well.

However, it can usually be arranged in the local area of the student.

The BSN to DNP programs include hands-on patient care, so through clinical hours, you can gain the experience necessary for work after graduation.

Clinical hours and state license are required for the following BSN to DNP specialties:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP).
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

Depending on the requirements of a particular program and state, the number of clinical hours can vary.

When looking for programs, you need to check with the State Board of Nursing to find the schools that meet this requirement.

Accredited schools usually have programs that meet the requirement for clinical hours for a state license.

Clinical hours can be organized by schools or students may have to organize them.

You may be required to travel in or out-of-state for organized clinical sites.

Is Online BSN to DNP Programs Available?

To find the right BSN to DNP program, you need to evaluate your life and work demands and find the program which will work with them.

There are flexible programs that can meet the needs of busy students.

You can choose from a variety of options, including full-time, part-time, in-classroom, or online programs.

All BSN to DNP programs are available full-time, many of which are offered as part-time.

To accommodate the schedules of busy students, some programs offer online core coursework now.

This is a highly suitable option for nurses who have work obligations, families, or live far from the school.

In the list below, you will find some popular schools that offer completely or partially online BSN to DNP programs:

Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola University holds an online BSN to DNP program which focuses on the Family Nurse Practitioner specialization.

The program covers theory and practice that help develop various nursing skills and healthcare leadership.

Additional features:

  • CCNE-accredited.
  • 78 credit hours required.
  • Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam.

University of Arkansas

At the University of Arkansas, you can find a fully online BSN to DNP program with the focus on either an Adult-Geriatric Acute or Care Nurse Practitioner.

The program helps nurses lead change in healthcare and promote quality improvement.

Other features:

  • 79 credits required.
  • Locally arranged clinical practicum hours with qualified preceptors.
  • Program length is three years full-time or five years part-time with 1,035 clinical hours.

University of Florida

At the University of Florida, you can find a mostly online BSN to DNP program with a concentration on:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Nurse Practitioner.
  • Pediatric Family Care Nurse Practitioner.
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.

Additional features include:

  • 75-78 credits required.
  • Clinical placements arranged in collaboration with students.
  • Core courses offered completely online, with some in-person classroom courses required in Gainesville, FL.

University of South Alabama

At the University of South Alabama, you can take an online BSN to DNP programs, including, but not limited to, the following concentrations:

  • Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist-Adult Health.
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
  • Psychiatric (Family) Nurse Practitioner.

Additional features:

  • 69 to 87 credits required.
  • Students may be required to come to campus once when they begin the clinical portion of their program for intensive classroom and evaluation sessions.
  • The program can be completed in 9 semesters of full-time study or 12 semesters of part-time study.

How Long Does BSN to DNP Programs Take to Complete?

The duration of a BSN to DNP program depends on the school, state, and, above all, the chosen specialty.

With a variety of options, including online, full-time, part-time, and in-classroom programs, students can choose the one that accommodates their schedule best.

Generally, popular BSN to DNP programs have the following duration:

Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

For the BSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) programs, you need 65-75 credits of classroom coursework plus clinical hours.

Full-time programs, typically, take 2.5 to 3 years, while part-time programs can be completed within 4 years, which include clinical hours.

At many schools, the coursework is required to be completed within 7 years.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

BSN to DNP CRNA programs last for approximately 3 years, or 36 months.

This is full-time coursework, plus about 85-95 credit hours.

Clinical hours can also be completed within these 3 years.

Certified Nurse Midwifery (CNM)

BSN to DNP CNM full-time programs take about 3 years and 80-90 credit hours.

Clinical hours can be completed within these 3 years as well.

How Much Will Tuition Cost for a BSN to DNP Program?

Similar to the BSN obtaining process, students enrolled in the BSN to DNP programs should cover tuition costs, mandatory fees, and materials costs (e.g., textbooks).

With online programs, you can save on some expenses, such as travel and parking.

Tuition costs depend on the credit hours and whether students are residents or non-residents.

The costs can widely vary from school to school and by state.

Here are a couple of examples:

At the University of Arkansas, you would have to pay $409 per credit hour in online programs.

In-classroom courses range from $636 to $1042.

So, the 79-credit hour program (online), in 2016, reached the cost of $32,311, plus credit hours for required in-classroom courses.

At the University of Maryland, you can expect to pay $732 for residents and $1324 for non-residents per credit hour.

The BSN to DNP program includes 80 credit hours and 1080 clinical hours.

So, the cost of the entire program for residents would be $58,560, and $105,920 for non-residents.

What Is the BSN to DNP Curriculum Like?

Both online and classroom-based BSN to DNP programs consist of a mix of specialty courses related to concentration and graduate-level core nursing courses.

Additionally to the academic part, the program requires a minimal number of hands-on supervised clinical hours.

With an online program, they can usually be arranged at the student’s location.

The four major specialties of the program include:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP).
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA).
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).
  • Certified Nurse Midwifery (CNM).

The courses and curriculum of each specialty are as follows:

The University of Washington BSN to DNP

At the University of Washington, you can take the Nurse Practitioner BSN to DNP program, which covers the following courses:

  • NURS 576 Organizational Systems and Leadership.
  • NURS 573 Rational Prescribing.
  • NURS 565 Information Management for Clinical Practice.
  • NURS 563 Advanced Pharmacology Concepts and Practice.
  • NURS 562 Advanced Health Assessment and Differential Diagnosis.
  • NURS 503 Scientific Inquiry in Nursing.

Thomas Jefferson University BSN to DNP

Thomas Jefferson University offers the Nurse Anesthetist BSN to DNP program with the following courses:

  • NU 568 Basic Principles of Anesthesia and Advanced Health.
  • NU 570 Pathophysiology of Human Disease.
  • NU 624 Chemistry and Physics Related to Anesthesia.
  • NU 673 Comprehensive Assessment for Clinical Decision-Making.
  • NU 706 Quality Measurement and Outcomes Analysis in Healthcare.

Johns Hopkins University BSN to DNP

Johns Hopkins University holds the Clinical Nurse Specialist BSN to DNP program, which includes:

  • Advanced Health Assessment and Measurement.
  • Health Information Systems and Patient Care Technology.
  • Context of Healthcare for Advanced Nursing Practice.
  • Translating Evidence into Practice.
  • Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Across the Lifespan.

The University of Minnesota BSN to DNP

As a part of Certified Nurse Midwifery BSN to DNP program, the University of Minnesota offers the following courses:

  • Nurs 6305 Women’s Reproductive Healthcare.
  • Nurs 6308 Women’s Primary Care Practicum.
  • Nurs 6210 Midwifery Care of the Childbearing Family.
  • Nurs 7200 Economics of Health Care.
  • Nurs 7202 Moral and Ethical Positions and Actions in Nursing.

Are Any DNP Exams Required Before I Can Practice?

Any clinical DNP degree focusing on the hands-on with patients requires some exams.

For state licensure, national certification is required.

Various credentialing organizations hold the exams depending on specialization.

One of them is the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

The Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

ANCC offers the following exams:

  • Family NP.
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP.
  • Pediatric Primary Care NP.
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP.
  • Emergency NP.
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health NP.

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification Exam

The following exams are offered by the ANCC:

  • Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health CNS.
  • Adult-Gerontology CNS.
  • Adult Health CNS.
  • Pediatric CNS.
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatric-Mental Health CNS.

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia Certification Exam

  • Managed by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.
  • The computerized exam is adaptable and therefore varies in length.
  • National Certification Exam (NCE) is the entrance exam for CRNAs.

The Certified Nurse Midwife Certification Exam

  • Eligibility includes graduation from an accredited Nurse-Midwifery program and an active RN license.
  • Managed by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
  • Computerized and proctored by Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP).
  • 175 multiple-choice question exam.

Where Can I Work as a DNP?

Nurses with a DNP can take high-level positions in the healthcare setting, including:

  • Clinics.
  • Hospitals.
  • Physicians’ offices.
  • Outpatient Centers.
  • Colleges/Universities.

How Much Money Will I Earn as a DNP?

With an advanced nursing degree, you can have a career with more responsibility, leadership, and autonomy.

These important roles also come with decent compensation.

Nurses with a DNP can expect the following figures:

  • The average salary of an NP is $101,221, ranging from $87,270 to $117,913 nationwide.
  • CNS can make $99,383 on average, while the salary can range between $81,217 and $117,473.
  • The average pay of a CRNA is $172,554, ranging from $145,818 to $202,560 nationwide.
  • The average salary of CNMs stands at $102,132 and ranges from $86,416 to $128,165 nationwide.

The salary of DNP nursing professionals with any specialty can vary, depending on experience, education, and location.

While many roles are occupied by nurses with MSN, DNP-educated nurses usually have a higher salary.

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One Comment
  1. Avatar for Rachel Nafus Rachel Nafus

    I am have some issues trying to figure out what school how long, and which test outs I am eligible to take. Can any one help me

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