Q&A: New Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree

Penny Marzalik

Penny Marzalik, PhD, APRN, program director for MCCN’s new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and associate professor, talked with The Carmel Rapper about the new online degree that begins this fall, with classes starting August 17.

The Rapper: What is the DNP degree?

Dr. Marzalik: The Doctor of Nursing Practice (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.

The Rapper: Why is MCCN offering the DNP degree?

Dr. Marzalik: MCCN has always offered nurses the opportunity to further their careers by furthering their education. Because the American Association of Colleges for Nursing (AACN) is urging nurses to increase their educational level to keep pace with the rapidly evolving healthcare environment, we took on the challenge and developed this program that allows them to do that.

The Rapper: What kinds of things will DNP-level nurses be able to do that require this higher degree?

Dr. Marzalik: Nurses who earn the DNP degree will be prepared 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.

The Rapper: Why should nursing students think about including this degree in their future plans?

Dr. Marzalik: 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. And, 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).

The Rapper: Will DNP students be on campus?

Dr. Marzalik: DNP candidates will complete the program online through our state-of-the-art online learning management system that enables them to schedule course work around their busy work and family responsibilities. They will complete 35 semester credit hours online, a DNP project in a healthcare setting and – in their final semester – will be on campus for a public presentation of their DNP project.

The Rapper: What does it take to get into the program?

Dr. Marzalik: Besides the online application and other materials that are due by June 1, the online DNP program is open to the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who also holds an earned master’s level degree in nursing, national board certification as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or Nurse Practitioner (NP), and a current, unrestricted APRN license. Full criteria for admission, along with the application and additional information, is available online at www.mccn.edu/DNP.

Join us for an information session if you would like to learn more:

  • Mount Carmel College of Nursing, April 15, noon, College Lounge
  • Mount Carmel East, April 20, noon, Father Moreau Room
  • Mount Carmel St. Ann’s, April 21, noon, Conference Center Room A
  • Mount Carmel New Albany, April 22, noon, Board Room
  • Webinars April 28 from noon to 1 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact: DNP@mccn.edu

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