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FAQs for Doctor of Nursing Practice

What is a practice doctorate?

The practice doctorate in nursing supports nursing education at the highest level of preparation for advanced practice nurses including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists as well as nurse leaders practicing at an advanced level.  Practice doctorates have been awarded in many fields such as medicine, pharmacy physical therapy, and dentistry for many years. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has proposed that the entry level education for all advanced practice nurses should be the DNP by 2015. See more information at: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/dnp.

What DNP options are available at Liberty University?

The DNP program offers two pathways:

  1. The Post-MSN DNP pathway is designed for licensed and nationally certified advanced practice nurses prepared at the master's level such as nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist seeking to complete their DNP. This program also supports nurse leaders/executives prepared at the master's level seeking to complete their DNP degree.
  2. The Post-BSN/FNP pathway is designed for BSN or MSN prepared nurses seeking to complete the educational requirements for eligibility for national certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner and complete their DNP.

What is the delivery format of the program?

The Post-MSN pathway is an online program offering 8 week courses. Students in the Post-MSN program will need to attend a total of three residential intensives. The first intensive will be required at the beginning of the first semester; orientation will also be held at this time. Student will complete synchronous, online practicum courses requiring practicum hours. (Note: The practicum hours may be completed in the student's locale pending state and institutional approvals.)

The Post-BSN DNP/FNP pathway is a residential program offering campus-based courses at Liberty University and practicum within the state of Virginia. Students also enroll in online courses and attend three residential intensives. The first intensive will be required at the beginning of the first semester; orientation will also be held at this time. 

I am interested in the Post-MSN DNP program. Can I earn practicum in my home state?

The DNP program is available to student from many states and some student can complete practicum hours in their home state, pending state approvals. All prospective students are advised to contact their state board of nursing to inquire about completing practicum hours in-state while enrolled in an out-of-state program prior to applying to the DNP program. NOTE: The Post-BSN DNP/FNP program is only available in the state of Virginia, as this program is only offered in residence. 

How long will it take me to complete the program?

The Post-MSN DNP program can be completed in two years as a full-time, year-round student. The Post-BSN DNP/FNP program can be completed in three years as a full-time, year-round student. 

Are part-time options available and/or can I complete this program at my own pace?

No, at this time, we are requiring that students commit to attending the DNP program as full-time, year-round students. 

When can I apply to the DNP program?

The deadline for DNP applications is July 1st for consideration into following Fall cohort. Applicants are strongly recommend to apply well before the deadline. We accept students into the DNP program annying each Fall. The first cohort for the Post-MSN and Post-BSN pathways will be accepted for Fall 2014. 

How can I apply to the DNP program?

Students may apply to the DNP programs through an online application process. More information can be found on the Admissions Requirements webpage.

When will I be notified about my acceptance status?

Students will be notified by July 15th regarding acceptance status for the following Fall semester. 

I noticed that a background check is required as supplemental material for application. Will I be able to use my own background check, such as one from an employer?

No, all accepted students will be required to complete the background check through American Databank. More information about this process, including costs and procedures, will be provided to the accepted students. 

Does the DNP admission process requires a drug screen and/or FBI finger printing?

The intial application process does not require a drug screen or FBI finger printing. However, once accepted into the program, all students must complete these requirements prior to beginning practicum. Additional requirements may also be required by individual sties. 

Will I automatically be admitted for the following year if I am not accepted in the DNP program?

No, students must apply each year. Students are evaluated for admission individually and against the applicant pool annually. 

Can I work while enrolled in the DNP?

Each student has unique personal roles and responsibilities. Students are strongly encouraged to review their responsibilities and roles prior to applying to the DNP program. Adjustment in work schedule or other responsibilities may be required to support dedicated full-time stuy and the completion of practicum hours. 

How many practicum hours are required for the DNP program?

All DNP students are required to complete 1000 hours post-BSN as a requirements for the DNP degree, as set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).*

  • The Post-MSN DNP program will require 560 hours of practicum.*

  • The Post-BSN DNP/FNP program prepares family nurse practitioners in additional to completion of the requirements of the DNP. This track will require students to complete over 1150 hours. (It is expected that student who are completing a nurse practitioner program will complete a minimum of 500 hours towards their clinical practicum and 500 hours towards their DNP practicum.) Students enrolled in a family practice track require exposure to additional hours to expand experience across the lifespan. 

* Students holding a M.S.N. will be required to submit a practicum verification form as part of the admission process. This form documents the practicum hours earned in their graduate program. The School of Nursing will review any hours completed in a graduate program in consideration for fulfilling the AACN's requirements of earning a total of 1,000 post-BSN practicum hours. Additional practicum hours may be required.  

Do I need to find my own preceptors?

Yes, students are required to find their own preceptors. The Liberty University School of Nursing offers the support of a Practicum Coordinator to assist students in completing all practicum requirements. This includes the approval process of preceptors and practicum sites. 

I have questions that are not answered in the website. Who can I contact regarding these questions?

To obtain answer to specific question or arrange a phone conference, please email DNP@liberty.edu. 

Additional resources can be found on the following websites: