The College of Nursing Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program became operational in 2005 for the adult/gerontology, family and pediatric nurse practitioner tracks. Due to the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine (IOM) and American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the College expanded to include the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program in 2009 for the adult/gerontology, family, pediatric, psychiatric mental health, and post-Masters advanced practice nursing tracks. The DNP-APRN program has two entry points, post-BSN and post-MSN. The post-MSN APRN plan of study is not designed to educate the individual in a new population focus. The programs build on the BSN Essentials (2008), incorporates The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (2011), population foci competencies (NTF, 2012; NTF, 2016; NONPF, 2012; NONPF, 2013; NONPF, 2014; NONPF, 2017), as well as other specialty advanced practice standards and guidelines. In addition, the DNP program integrates The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) and prepares nurse practitioners with a clinical doctorate ready to meet the nation’s complex healthcare environment and assure quality patient outcomes.
As of fall 2018, admissions to the MSN advanced practice track are closed because the DNP degree is the recommended preparation for entry to the nurse practitioner role. Students in the DNP advanced practice program will receive both an MSN and DNP upon graduation, as the MSN is the required degree to obtain advanced practice licensure in South Carolina. As a College we are adult learner centered and have an MSN exit option for students who have life circumstances that interfere with completing the DNP degree. In addition, the College has developed a specific post-MSN DNP completion degree for MUSC alumni who have to use the MSN exit option. This can be completed efficiently if the MSN graduate re-enrolls within 5 years of graduation.
The DNP NELI program became operational in 2015, and has two entry points, post-BSN and post-MSN. Post-BSN students can submit a portfolio of work to obtain up to 200 hours of clinical credit if approved. This supports BSN prepared nurse executives who have continued to work but been unable to return to school. The DNP Nurse Executive awards a DNP degree only for the post-BSN or post-MSN student. The DNP-NELI curriculum builds on the knowledge and competencies achieved in completion of requirements for a BSN and MSN or related Master’s degree. For the post-MSN entry track the graduate degree may be a degree such as an MSN, MHA, or MBA, as these degrees address the administrative role graduates of the program will be prepared to assume. The DNP-NELI program meets the current recommendations of organizations such as the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), builds on the BSN Essentials (2008), and incorporates The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (2011), DNP Essentials(2006), and the IOM’s recommendations for preparing executive nurse leaders to transform health care.