University of Pittsburgh: Online nursing degree programs
The Pittsburgh Academy was established in 1787 as a small, private school. Today, after a name change and many more classrooms, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) has evolved from a log cabin near the American frontier to one of the country's oldest and most distinguished universities.
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Pitt's School of Nursing opened its doors in 1939. Renowned as one of the top graduate schools of nursing, it ranked seventh in the 2007 and 2011 issues of "America's Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News and World Report. Several of its specialty areas — namely nursing anesthesia, adult nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist, and nursing service administration — were rated among the best in the nation.
Through Pitt Online, licensed nurses are provided the opportunity to further their education while balancing work and family obligations. In addition to offering an MSN degree with a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) track, the school presents other web-based options, including the post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with seven areas of specialization.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Although Pitt offers 12 areas of concentration at the Master's level, the CNL is the only clinical Master's program offered entirely online. Students learn through an integration of theory, clinical, and evidence-based practice. The program prepares them to function as advanced general practitioners in an array of settings within the healthcare delivery system.
All coursework is completed online, and mentored clinical work is conducted within the student's local community. Graduates of this program are qualified to sit for national certification as a CNL through the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC). This program can be completed on a full-time basis in as little as four terms, or students may opt for the part-time schedule. The specialty requires a minimum of 42 credits for completion. The clinical practicum is comprised of 420 hours and can be completed at a healthcare facility near the student's home.
Applicants for the online Master's program must be a licensed RN; hold a BSN degree from an accredited nursing program with no less than a 3.0 GPA; and provide three letters of recommendation, an essay stating career goals, a résumé, and official transcripts for all schools attended.
Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Graduates of this program will be nursing leaders prepared to successfully assess healthcare policies, economic trends, and organizational efficiency. Building upon their knowledge and skills, students learn to use evidence-based practice and their clinical skills to evaluate evidence and utilize their findings to make changes to improve the effectiveness of the healthcare delivery system.
Pitt offers 12 areas of concentration at the DNP level. Participants may choose from seven specialty areas of concentration offered online: nursing administration/leadership; clinical nurse specialist medical-surgical; and five nurse practitioner areas including acute care, as well as adult, family, neonatal, and pediatric care. Some of these specializations require travel to the Pittsburgh campus.
Those seeking admission to the DNP program must hold a Master's degree in nursing, current nursing license, and competitive Quality Point Average and Graduate Record Examination scores. Additionally, they must have completed all pre-requisite coursework and present official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work; show an ability to write effectively; and provide three letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and résumé.