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DNP Frequently Asked Questions

What is the DNP?
The DNP is a doctoral degree focused on the clinical practice of nursing. The degree represents the highest academic preparation for nursing practice. The DNP curriculum focuses on the knowledge needed to provide comprehensive direct care across settings. It can be conferred in conjunction with any specialty in advanced practice.
What is the program of study?
The program includes classroom courses, supervised practice, portfolio development, required publication in a peer-reviewed journal and a one year Residency. The curricular content will enable the graduate to make complex diagnoses, provide evidence-based treatment modalities, utilize sophisticated informatics and decision-making technology, and assimilate in-depth knowledge of biophysical, psychosocial, behavioral and clinical sciences.
How is this different from other APN practice programs?
The expanded competencies of the Doctor of Nursing Practice enable graduates to independently provide complex care across all settings including ambulatory, acute, community and home settings. For example, the expanded curriculum will focus on the utilization of evidence-based decision-making to admit and co-manage hospitalized patients, to provide advice and treatment initiated over the phone while taking call, and to initiate specialist referrals and evaluate the subsequent advice and initiate and participate in co-management.
What is the program structure for this DNP program?
We currently offer two entries. We offer a post-RN entry for registered nurses that have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s non-nursing area. This program is offered in nine semesters, which includes a two semester residency. We also offer an executive Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) entry for advance nurse practitioners. The post-APRN program is six semesters, which includes four semesters of coursework followed by a mentored and supervised two semester-long residency.
How long will it take?
The post-APRN program will take two years. The post-RN program for nurses will take three to four years (depending on the specialty area). Both programs have a one year Residency already included in the time period.
Can DNP students continue to work during the program?
Yes. Students in the post-RN program can work per diem or part-time. The post-APRN program offers classes on a limited schedule, allowing for work during the rest of the week.. Students are encouraged to negotiate a paid position for the Residency.  The Residency must be in an approved setting which may or may not be in the New York metropolitan area. However, attendance at scheduled seminars is required during the Residency year.
What is the Residency? How long will it take?
Upon completion of all coursework and field experiences, students enter the Residency. In this mentored and supervised experience, the students assume a full time position as a DNP with access to and authority for expanded scope of practice to master the DNP competencies. All residencies must be at a level which will allow demonstration of the achievement of DNP competencies. Residency sites include hospital-based clinics, ambulatory centers, emergency rooms, acute care units, hospice care, home care, rehabilitation and assisted living settings. During the Residency year, students must participate in regularly scheduled scholarly seminars on site at Columbia. It is expected that students will accomplish the requirements of the Residency within one calendar year and submit a DNP Portfolio, including a published article in a peer reviewed journal, in partial fulfillment of the degree.
What is the Portfolio?
The DNP Portfolio consists of written documentation providing evidence of clinical scholarship. Included in the portfolio are student authored peer reviewed manuscripts on clinical issues, clinical innovations and case studies, case narratives that demonstrate evidence-based practice, evidence of the application of principles of practice management and quality assurance. Analogous to the dissertation, the portfolio demonstrates the student's transformation to doctoral level advanced practice nurse.
How does the DNP differ from the PhD or other research doctorates?
The DNP, or clinical doctorate, prepares the graduate to practice independently with the most complex patients, in any setting where the patient requires care, utilizing complicated informatics and evidence-based decision-making . Research doctorates prepare graduates to initiate and conduct sophisticated research projects, serving as the principal investigator.