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If you are thinking about advancing your nursing career, it’s time to consider a doctorate from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is designed for nurses interested in pursuing a practice doctorate instead of the traditional research doctorate. The practice doctorate is for advanced clinicians who are in direct or indirect clinical practice. Endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2004), the focus of the DNP is to provide nurses with additional education in the areas of health policy, organizational leadership and management, and additional clinical expertise with a focus on evidence-based practice. The DNP graduate is dedicated to improving the health outcomes of individuals, families and communities through translation of clinical research into practice. 

BSN to DNP

The BSN to DNP student chooses a nurse practitioner population of focus for their studies or the leadership in population health and healthcare systems focus.  Students will learn how to put evidence into practice and measure the outcomes through completion of a clinical scholarship project (CSP) in the final year of the program.  


The role of the AGNP is to provide primary care to adults from youth (14-years of age) through geriatrics with an in-depth knowledge and experience in the primary health care needs for well-person care and the prevention/management of common adult acute illnesses and chronic conditions. This primary care is provided to support the optimal health of adults within the context of their family, community, and environmental setting. Although AGNPs practice primarily in private practices and ambulatory clinics, their scope of practice may also extend into the residential care and inpatient settings and is based upon the needs of the patient.

The graduate of an FNP program is prepared to provide primary care for individuals and families across the lifespan. The FNP role includes preventative healthcare, as well as the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness and preventative health care for individuals and families. Family nurse practitioners demonstrate a commitment to family –centered care and understand the relevance of the family’s identified community in the delivery of family- centered care. (AACN, 2013)

The role of the PNP-PC is to provide primary care to children from birth through young adult with an in-depth knowledge and experience in pediatric primary health care including well child care and prevention/management of common pediatric acute illnesses and chronic conditions. This care is provided to support optimal health of children within the context of their family, community, and environmental setting. Although PNP-PC practice primarily in private practices and ambulatory clinics, their scope of practice may also extend into the inpatient setting and is based upon the needs of the patient. (AACN, 2013)

A graduate of the PNP-AC program is prepared to care for children with complex acute, critical and chronic illness across the entire pediatric age spectrum, from birth to young adulthood. Circumstances may exist in which a patient, by virtue of age, could fall outside the traditionally defined PNP-AC population but by virtue of special need, the patient is best served by the PNP-AC. The PNP-AC implements the full scope of the role through assessment, diagnosis and management with interventions for patients and their families. The PNP-AC provides care to patients who are characterized as “physiologically unstable, technologically dependent, and/or are highly vulnerable to complications” (AACN Scope and Standards, 2006, p 9), and a continuum of care ranging from disease prevention to critical care in order to “stabilize the patient’s condition, prevent complications, restore maximum health and/or provide palliative care” (AACN p. 10). Patients may be encountered across the continuum of care settings and require ongoing monitoring and intervention. (AACN, 2013)

The PMHNP focuses on individuals across the lifespan (infancy through old age), families, and populations across the lifespan at risk for developing and/or having a diagnosis of psychiatric disorders or mental health problems. The PHMNP provides primary mental health care to patients seeking mental health services in a wide range of settings. Primary mental health care provided by the PMHNP involves relationship-based, continuous and comprehensive services, necessary for the promotion of optimal mental health, prevention, and treatment of psychiatric disorders and health maintenance. This includes assessment, diagnosis, and management of mental health and psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. (AACN, 2013)

The WHNP provides primary care to women across the life cycle with emphasis on conditions unique to women from menarche through the remainder of their life cycle within the context of sociocultural environments – interpersonal, family, and community. In providing care, WHNP considers the inter-relationship of gender, social class, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, and socio-political power differentials. (AACN, 2013)

The Leadership in Population Health and Healthcare Systems emphasis area prepares nurses for roles in both population health and healthcare systems leadership in a public health, clinics, organizations, or hospital settings. The nurse completing the DNP will be prepared to own and operate a nurse-managed clinic, lead a public health department or organization focused on public health initiatives, or function as a Chief Nurse Officer of a healthcare organization. The program of study provides both a theoretical and practical base for leadership development in healthcare systems, population health, and organizational management.

MSN to DNP

A traditional MSN to DNP student does not select a population of focus.  However, the student does have the option to add a NP Certification if desired, but will need to also apply to the Post-Graduate Certificate program for that population of focus.  The MSN to DNP student elevates practice from a micro view to a macro view.  Students will learn how to put evidence into practice and measure the outcomes through completion of a clinical scholarship project (CSP) in the final year of the program.  

For more information, contact the College of Nursing Office of Student Services.


Getting Started Plans of Study
Admission Criteria
How to Apply
BSN to DNP Full Time Plan of Study
BSN to DNP Part Time Plan of Study
MSN to DNP Part Time Plan of Study
Program Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Funding Your Education
Scholarships and Loans
Hardware Requirements
Intensive Dates
Preceptor Continuing Education Modules