The School of Nursing has phased out the Master’s degree program in the advanced nursing specialties of Psych/Mental Health Nursing, Adult Health and Public/Community Health. The Master’s degree program in Nursing Administration will continue to be offered as currently designed.
In place of the other three Master’s degree specialties, the School of Nursing offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice. The DNP is a doctoral degree for nurses at the highest level of nursing practice. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has proposed that the DNP degree will be the level of entry for all advanced practice nurses by 2015. Practice-focused doctoral nursing programs prepare leaders for the highest level of practice and is the terminal practice degree.
The changing demands of today’s complex health care environment, outlined in recent reports from the Institute of Medicine, require that nurses serving in specialty positions have the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible. Nurses are constantly working with individuals who have a high level of preparation in their respective fields – physicians, pharmacists, and other health providers. The effectiveness of nurses is directly related to the amount and type of education they receive, and recent research has established a clear link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes. What distinguishes this definition of practice from others is that it includes both direct care provided to patients by individual clinicians as well as direct care policies, programs and protocols that are organized, monitored, and continuously improved upon by expert nurse clinicians.
The DNP should not be confused with the PhD in Nursing, also offered through the SON, which is a research-focused degree and aimed at those wishing to pursue an academic or research career.
Enrollment in the DNP Program
There are two avenues to pursue the Doctorate of Nursing Practice: the BSN to DNP (Family Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner; Public/Community Health; Family Nurse Practitioner-NEW) and the Post Masters DNP. In order to accommodate students for a timely progression, only FULL-TIME applicants are accepted for the four specialty tracks while a full-time and part-time option is available for the Post MSN to DNP (advanced practice certification required as an NP or CNS).
NOTE: Changing specialty tracks is discouraged and those who must withdraw from the program or seek another specialty from the one that they are accepted into, must reapply to that specialty when it is offered again.
The NEWLY introduced Family Nurse Practitioner track prepares nurses for advanced practice through a course of study focused on the care of families across the lifespan. Courses focus on advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, and management of acute and chronic illness in families. These courses are combined with specialty seminars and clinical experiences that emphasize the physiological and psychosocial impact of illness on the patient and family. Graduates prepare for the Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certification exam.
The Family, Psych/Mental Health Specialty is offered on odd numbered years (2013, 2015, etc.). Individuals selected and applying to this specialty will be prepared to take the national certification exam for the Family, Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FT enrollment only). DNP Graduates of this specialty are nurse practitioners who enter the workplace with the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential to implement the full scope of practice of a licensed independent nurse practitioner (NP). The curriculum builds upon four core FPMHNP competencies: advanced health assessment (physical and psychosocial); diagnosis (diagnosis of mental disorders, pathophysiology, and neurophysiology); psychotherapy (individual, group, and family); and medication management (pharmacology and psychopharmacology). Other courses develop competencies in health care systems, best-practice research utilization and translation, and health care quality improvement.
The Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner is offered on even numbered years (2014, 2016, etc. ) prepares nurses for advanced practice through a course of study focused on the care of Adults, the elderly and their families. Courses focus on advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, and management of episodic and chronically ill adults. Courses also focus on the elderly client in various stages of aging. These courses are combined with specialty seminars and clinical experiences that emphasize the physiological and psychosocial impact of illness on the patient and family. Graduates prepare for the Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner exam.
The Public/Community Health Nursing Specialty is for nurses desiring to move from an individual patient care focus to influencing populations particularly underserved and vulnerable populations. Graduates develop skills in advanced community focused assessment, planning, interventions, and outcomes measurement, with emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention strategies for a targeted population. Advanced skills include leading and influencing local to national public health agendas through program development, funding, implementation and evaluation; health policy development; and management of public health entities. Graduates will find employment in state and county health departments, schools, national and regional agencies or as leaders in community-based clinical and advocacy agencies.
All courses for the BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP are web-based. There is a once-a year, mandatory, on-campus, week-long requirement. As the time varies each year, notification of the dates for the week long campus requirement is sent out upon admission and at the beginning of the Spring semester in January. Inability to attend this annual requirement results in dismissal from the program. In addition, the Family, Psych/Mental Health, and Adult/Gero, BSN to DNP specialties conduct a week-long clinical immersion each year after the first year. You will be given information on when these immersions will take place after acceptance into the program and during orientation.
NOTE: ALL program prerequisites (ie: Statistical coursework, clinical clearances, receipt of TRANSCRIPTS, etc.). MUST be complete by the application deadline in order to be considered for the DNP program. INCOMPLETE files will not be reviewed.
Students should have a basic understanding on computer use and feel comfortable navigating the internet and using various applications to complete assignments. Additional help will be provided for those students with little or no computer skills. Please take a moment to complete the Request More Information form so we may contact you and answer any questions you may have.
DNP Application Process
Applications for the 2014-2015 cohort is February 15, 2014. For the newly created FNP track, the deadline has been extended to March 15th, 2014.
Applications for the Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner specialty track will be accepted in Spring 2015 for entry in Fall 2015. Interested applicants please contact Ms. Karen Pech at 575-646-7770.
ATTENTION: Effective October 18, 2012, please use the application process for admission to the MSN, DNP or PhD programs at
Create a log in and follow the steps in the process to ensure that your application is received at both the School of Nursing and the Graduate School.
NOTE: Two sets of official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended must be sent from that institution: One set needs to go directly to the NMSU Graduate school in a sealed envelope and one set to the School of Nursing also in a sealed envelope. Student/applicant- delivered transcripts are not accepted.
Criteria for Admission
Center for International Prgms.
(all int’l students “must” contact CIP for eligibility)
- Telephone: 575-646-5483
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org