Post-Masters Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, DNP

Masters presentation

The Post-MSN to DNP programs are offered online and address the most contemporary aspects of expert clinical practice and in-depth knowledge and experience in leadership, health systems design and evaluation, evidence-based practice, health policy, and applied research. The programs are designed for current APRNs who wish to further their clinical expertise in their current specialty area or in palliative care. In these programs, a practice improvement project will be implemented with oversight from faculty. Additional information regarding the program can be found at the MUSC College of Nursing website.

Post-MSN APN graduates do not qualify for certification in an APRN specialty area because the DNP degree is an academic degree that is distinct and separate from the certification process. 

Post-MSN Palliative Care graduates are eligible to sit for the Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN) exam. More information about the palliative care program can be found below.

Post-Masters DNP APRN Plan of Study

Plans of Study for our Current Students

For more information on admissions requirements, please visit our Admissions page.

Post-MSN to DNP in Palliative Care

The Post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice in Palliative Care degree offers the working nurse an opportunity to demonstrate expertise and gain a deeper understanding of the physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs of patients and families affected by serious illness. To best meet the needs of the working nurse our courses are delivered through an accessible, asynchronous online format.

What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual (WHO, 2020).

The curriculum is designed to be completed in five semesters and will prepare the graduate to use analytical methods to improve quality and safety in healthcare systems through organizational leadership, systems thinking and practice management in palliative care. This program focuses on the care of individuals with life-threatening, progressive illness, emphasizing respect for patients’ and families’ beliefs, values, and choices. Additionally, students will identify a problem in palliative care and address it with evidence-based practice and quality improvement principles. DNP students will design, implement and evaluate evidence-based disease management care and coordinate the management of chronic illness for individuals, their families and populations from time of diagnosis through the trajectory of a disease or illness through end of life and bereavement.

Advanced practice registered nurses with a DNP in palliative care will fill an important gap in access to evidence-based, high quality care for individuals with serious illness and their families. The specialized training in palliative care in addition to an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management will ensure our graduates are fully prepared be leaders in palliative care.

MUSC Post-Master’s DNP in Palliative Care prepares students to:

  • Become a leader among advanced practice nurses.
  • Meet all requirements to sit for the Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN) exam including both didactic and clinical hours.
  • Demonstrate expertise in advanced nursing practice roles based on mastery of a specialized area of knowledge relative to palliative care that is derived from a strong scientific foundation.
  • Evaluate local community and national palliative and hospice care resources for their relevance as an adjunct to care in the management of chronic and advanced pediatric illnesses.
  • Integrate professional, legal, moral, and ethical standards into practice and care of patients on a palliative care trajectory

Post-Masters DNP Palliative Care Plan of Study

Meet Your Lead Faculty, Dr. Whitney Smith

Dr. Whitney Smith, Lead FacultyMy name is Whitney Smith and I am the Lead Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP). I have been a nurse practitioner (NP) for close to twenty years! I always knew that I wanted to be a health care provider. While I was in college for my Biology degree, I learned about nurse practitioners and how the nursing model guides their holistic patient care - and I was hooked; I knew that this was the type of medicine I wanted to practice! The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) was the school I decided on; I received my BSN in 1999, my MSN in 2001, and my DNP in 2017.

I spent much of my clinical career managing acute and chronic illnesses, moving patients toward better health outcomes and a reduction in health care costs. I have worked as a nurse practitioner in women’s health, primary care, and skilled nursing care. I always enjoyed precepting student nurse practitioners and had a desire to eventually teach at the university level. In 2013 I had the amazing opportunity begin my career in academia teaching at my alma mater, here at MUSC!

I am passionate about education; as an educator in the field of nursing I strive to inspire growth and learning in the students I teach. I endeavor to engage their minds and the passions that drive them. I challenge them to become expert diagnosticians as well as compassionate, respectful and innovative providers of medical care. I believe that understanding and teaching quality improvement is integral for enriching patient care, health outcomes and access to care. It is the foundation for the DNP degree. Because my first love was practice, I continue to see patients one day a week at a free clinic. We provide primary care with a focus on chronic disease management for the uninsured and underserved population. We work in interprofessional teams and act as a clinical site for our DN.