Penny Marzalik

For the first time, MCCN will offer an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program for nurses who want to practice at a higher level. Open to the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who holds an earned master’s degree in nursing, national board certification as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or Nurse Practitioner (NP), and a current, unrestricted APRN license, the new online degree program begins this fall, with classes starting August 17.

Penny Marzalik, PhD, APRN, program director for the DNP program and associate professor, explains that the DNP is the terminal – or highest level – degree for the nursing profession.

“The DNP is a nursing practice degree that’s an alternative to a PhD, which has a research focus,” Dr. Marzalik says. “Nurses who earn the DNP degree will be prepared to take their place as innovative leaders in implementing evidence-based, cost-effective and collaborative healthcare solutions while positively impacting outcomes for patient populations at the complex systems level.”

MCCN, which has always offered nurses the opportunity to further their careers by furthering their education, took on the challenge of developing the DNP program because the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) began urging nurses to increase their educational level to keep pace with the rapidly evolving healthcare environment.

“The changing demands of the nation's complex healthcare environment will continually require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure quality patient outcomes,” notes Dr. Marzalik. “Further, the profession’s move toward the DNP is in keeping with other health professionals – with whom nurses interact in a multidisciplinary environment – practicing at the doctoral level, including pharmacy (PharmD), psychology (PsyD), physical therapy (DPT), audiology (AudD), dentistry (DDS) and, of course, medicine (MD and DO),” she adds.

More information about MCCN’s online DNP program, including full criteria for admission, the online application (due June 1) and additional information, is available at Questions are welcomed at:

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