Exploring Clinical Practice Hours in Postbaccalaureate-to-Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Practitioner Programs

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Nurse educator




BACKGROUND: Advanced practice nursing education is evolving to the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) DNP Essentials required 1000 hours of direct patient care, whereas the Report of the National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education (NTF) Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs required 500 direct patient care hours. Indirect hours were unclear and undefined. The AACN Essentials changed the 1000-hour requirement to 500 practice hours, and the NTF increased the direct patient care hours to 750. PURPOSE: The study sought to describe the distribution of direct and indirect hours that the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties member schools offer in their seamless postbaccalaureate-to-DNP nurse practitioner (NP) program. METHOD: A quantitative survey was distributed to schools of nursing. RESULTS: Eighty-six surveys represented 86 distinct schools and 112 NP programs. Supervised direct patient care hours were an average of 791.31 hours. Indirect hours averaged 170.08 hours. The DNP project hours served as an indirect hour activity. CONCLUSION: Many schools have more than 750 direct hours adhering to the 2022 NTF Standards. The indirect hour allocation varies and weighs heavily on the DNP project.


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