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Since 1965, The American Nurses Association (ANA) has recommended that the entry-level degree for Registered Nurses (RNs) be the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). To date, this entry-level degree for RNs has yet to be adopted by any state nursing license registry. RNs continue to enter the workforce with either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a BSN (Nelson, 2023).   Entry-level degree discussions for Advance Practice Nursing (APN) have also been a recurring topic in nursing education circles regarding whether the MSN degree should be replaced by the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. If the decades-old BSN entry-level debate is any indication, likely, this issue will not be resolved quickly. However, discussions and debates have continued. In 2018, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), the leading organization for NP education, called for the DNP degree as the entry-level preparation for NPs by 2025. Currently, no definitive statement has been provided by the certifying bodies as to the 2025 deadline. In June 2022, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) released a report titled, The State of Doctor of Nursing Practice Education in 2022, which provided the latest data on DNP trends; insights from employers, graduates, and program administrators on the value and impact of DNP education; and recommendations for ongoing engagement with practice partners and certification organizations to support the DNP for entry into advanced practice nursing.  

The faculty of the UAH College of Nursing stays abreast of the current trends and recognizes the importance of educational advancements in Nursing. The DNP degree is offered as an entry to advanced nursing practice (BSN to DNP) by the UAH College of Nursing and its Post-Masters (MSN to DNP) for nurses ready to advance their education with a practice doctoral degree. 

The post-baccalaureate (BSN to DNP) has three pathways: Nursing Administration, Family Nurse (FNP), and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP).  Students are provided a program of study for their chosen pathway along with doctoral courses. The Nursing Administration track is online with no campus attendance required until participating in DNP Intensives. The FNP and AGACNP pathways are hybrid during for the nurse practitioner courses with students attending class on campus every other week. Once students are engaged in DNP coursework, annual DNP Intensives are required (online and on-campus). The UAH CON admits students in spring, summer, and fall. Full-time is defined as nine credit hours per semester and can be completed in as few as 32 months. Part-time status requires six credit hours per semester and must be completed within 6 years of starting the program.

The post-master's (MSN to DNP) Program is online with required annual online and on-campus DNP Intensives. Designed for advanced practice nurses, this online program focuses on administrative, organizational, clinical, and systems leadership competencies that will prepare nurses for various nursing leadership positions. The pathways include Nursing Administration, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP).

The UAH CON programs are examples of quality nursing education and provide a variety of ways to obtain the DNP degree. DNP graduates have a larger and more diverse skill set ― specifically in evidence-based practice, leadership, and quality of care improvement. DNP graduates also possess a more knowledge of policy and economics, a necessary skill set for the challenges we face in today’s changing healthcare environment.    



American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (2022). DNP fact sheet. Retrieved from

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (2018). The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree: Entry to nurse practitioner practice by 2025.  Retrieved from

Nelson, R. (2023). Doctorate for nurse practitioners slowly advances as entry-level degree. Retrieved from: