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The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is new to the state of Iowa. With the AACN recommending that advanced practice certification moves toward requiring a doctoral level degree by 2015, the number of accredited programs is growing. Currently, the University of Iowa, Clarke University, and Allen College offer a DNP program, though the latter two are still in the process of becoming accredited by CCNE.
The common mission of Iowa DNP programs is to prepare graduates for an advanced practice role in an increasingly-complex medical industry. The programs aim to prepare advanced practice nurses to be leaders who have the ability to shape healthcare through administration and policy changes. Graduates will have the ability to make a difference in the quality and safety of care provided.
Two of Iowa's DNP programs, the University of Iowa's and Clarke University's, offer entry to both post-BSN and post-MSN applicants. Allen College offers admission only to those who have a master's degree.
Admissions requirements vary between programs, but there are some trends. For example, Clarke University and Allen College both require the following: official transcripts from an accredited program, 3.0 GPA (3.25 at Allen), an example of scholarly writing, completion of a statistics course with a 'C' or better, three letters of recommendation, a statement of scholarly or professional goals, a current resume, and a photocopy of current nursing licenses. Allen College also requires that an applicant has completed a minimum of 600 clinical contact hours in his or her master's program. Interviews are required of applicants, and those who do not speak English as a first language must prove English proficiency by passing the TOEFL.
Iowa DNP programs differ in terms of program lengths and curricula. The University of Iowa requires the completion of 72 credit hours following the bachelor's degree before the DNP can be earned. Clarke University offers an 18-month bridge program for those who have already completed the MSN, while the BSN-DNP program curriculum is made up of 81 credit hours over a three to four year period. Allen College requires a minimum of 33 credit hours and 400 hours of practicum study for its post-master's program.
Tuition varies between programs, and is not always posted clearly. The cost of the DNP program per credit hour at Allen College is currently $733. The annual cost to attend the University of Iowa's program is $23,638 for in-state tuition, and roughly doubles for non-residents.