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DNP - Frequently Asked Questions

A DNP degree is a terminal degree that prepares expert nurse leaders for the highest level of nursing practice. The DNP prepared nurse has practice expertise and works to improve the delivery of care to all patients within the micro- and macro- health care system.

A DNP prepared nurse leads practitioners, of all health care specialties by:

  1. Critically evaluating problems in current practice
  2. Assessing the available clinical, financial, legal, moral, and ethical evidence
  3. Recommending interventions to improve care
  4. Evaluating the clinical outcomes of the interventions

The vast majority of our courses are offered online; however, there are some where on site is required. For example, our didactic nurse practitioner courses are offered on-site only. Classes are scheduled so that students are on campus only once a week. Please remember, there may be other times when on site is required such as orientation or as enrichment days. These dates will be available to students well ahead of time so that arrangements can be made. Clinical practicums are arranged by the College of Nursing with consideration of where students live. Every effort is made to minimize long distances; however, the goal is to provide students with the best possible clinical experiences and this may require travel on the part of the student.

Some programs have specific requirements (see below) for years of experience. For other programs, while it is helpful to have some experience it is not absolutely necessary and we would encourage potential students to apply when the time seems right for them to be successful. New graduates can gain experience before they begin classes and during the first year of graduate work.

  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care: Yes, the program requires satisfactory completion of 1 year of experience as a registered nurse in an inpatient pediatric acute care environment or emergency department and other complex acute and chronically ill infants and children excluding orientation prior to entering the clinical sequence.
  • Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care: Yes, the program requires satisfactory completion of 2 years of full time experience as a registered nurse providing direct care to adults and older adults admitted to an inpatient unit (e.g., inpatient surgical or medical unit, telemetry, progressive care, stepdown unit, intermediate care, intensive or critical care unit). Critical care is not required but is a plus. Inpatient care does NOT include emergency department, PACU (recovery room) is also poor preparation, cath lab, interventional radiology, endoscopy, etc. are essentially ambulatory care, and Operating Room (OR) is also not acceptable.
  • Nurse Anesthesia: See Nurse Anesthesia FAQs for work experience related to the Nurse Anesthetist Program.
The project provides the opportunity for an in-depth analysis and synthesis of a chosen topic that contributes to some aspect of advanced nursing practice. The project is completed over three semesters with assistance from your advisor and faculty members within the course. To see some of the projects past graduates have completed, click here.

No, you do not need to take the GRE for our DNP program.

You will be expected to travel up to 100 miles for preceptor experiences, and if you live in an area that has limited providers in your specialty, you may be required to travel further. Also, note that there is an expectation that your preceptor/provider is in the state of Iowa.

At this time clinicals must be done in Iowa. We make the placements, so students aren’t responsible for finding sites. There are three sequential clinical courses in the program that start in the fall and go through summer. The fall and spring courses require 180 (AGNP, PNP, FNP) or 270 (PMHNP, ACAGNP) hrs of clinical experience each and the summer is 180 hours (AGNP, PNP, PMHNP, ACAGNP) or 270 (FNP). You can divide the number of clinical hours by 15 weeks in the fall & spring and 10 weeks in the summer to determine how many hours you would spend in clinicals each week. It’s possible to do blocks of concentrated time if that works better for a student’s schedule.

You should wear business casual attire in your clinical settings. Lab coats can be worn; however, they are not required. Your photo badge identifying you as a DNP student must be worn at all times.

Due to the level of Internet-based course work required, international students in this program of study are not eligible for F-1 or J-1 student immigration status. Questions regarding visas and immigration documentation should be addressed to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) via email at isss@uiowa.edu.

How much each student is able to work can be determined only by them; however, please be realistic about your ability to work full-time and take courses. The advanced practice core and specialization courses require a great deal of time, and it may necessitate reducing work time. During the clinical year (year 3), you will be completing practicum hours during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. This is in addition to on campus class on Wednesdays and your other classwork. Most students find it very difficult to maintain a regular work schedule during this time. Some find the weekend option or a PRN position most helpful.

If you move to Iowa for the sole purpose of being a student, you will pay non-resident tuition. The University of Iowa Registrar’s Office can assist you in determining what you would need to do to be eligible for resident tuition. Please see the following URL for information regarding residency as well as contact information: http://registrar.uiowa.edu/tuition-residency

We are the No. 6 rated program in the country for nursing systems administration and have a long track record of high quality, targeted-to-student-needs, and valuable graduate education in this specialty. We have an extensive network of possible preceptors for the administrative practicum component and customize this to each student. We prepare students to envision new innovations to improve health care delivery. We use the AONE competencies as the organizing framework. We are all online for delivery, mostly asynchronous. We have excellent positive feedback from students who have graduated. We have a large and diverse faculty teaching the courses you will take. We are really proud of our program.