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Section - College of Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the complexity of the current healthcare environment, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, the leading organization for nurse practitioner education, made the commitment to move all entry-level nurse practitioner education to the DNP degree by 2025 (additional information).

The DNP degree gives an individual experience as a nurse practitioner while providing the foundational competencies that would be needed in leadership positions. Nurse Practitioners with a DNP degree are fully equipped to lead practice changes to improve population health as well as changes in the healthcare environment.

The SDSU College of Nursing has a strong reputation with healthcare partners in the state and region. Evaluations from preceptors working with SDSU APRN students indicate strong foundational knowledge and preparation for the clinical environment. Employers in our region have expressed our graduates are knowledgeable and ready for practice. Many employers express that they prefer to hire SDSU APRN graduates.

SDSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The APRN programs received full 10-year accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2021.

Pass rates on the certification exam are viewed as a quality indicator of a program. A high pass rate indicates the student is well prepared in their academic program. Graduates of the SDSU College of Nursing have consistently been well-prepared for success on certifying examinations. For over 10 years, 100% of graduates have passed the certification examination on their first attempt.

The APRN program director and clinical placement team work with each student individually to determine appropriate clinical placement. This is a collaborative process designed to meet student and program needs. The SDSU faculty and advising team attempt to secure placement at the student’s home site. However, due to preceptor shortages, students may be required to travel to their clinical location. Clinical placements are selected to meet the needs and requirements of the program.

Nurse practitioners are able to assess, diagnose, treat, and evaluate acute and chronic disease conditions. Nurse practitioners are trained in one of six population foci: Family, women’s health, pediatric, adult-gerontology, neonatal and psychiatric mental health. The adult-gerontology and pediatric foci are further defined as primary care or acute care.

SDSU has programs for family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner. The family nurse practitioner focuses on primary care throughout the lifespan. They care for patients of all ages on acute and chronic medical conditions. You can see family nurse practitioners working in clinics or urgent care settings. The adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner focuses on adult and gerontology patients with complex medical needs or who require emergent or hospitalization services. You can see adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioners working in specialty clinics, emergency rooms and hospitals. The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner provides comprehensive mental health care to patients inpatient and outpatient throughout the lifespan.

The program is delivered primarily online through synchronous and asynchronous class meeting times. There are immersion activities in the practicums and the health assessment course that includes an on-campus component. Students travel to the Sioux Falls campus 1 time during the practicums for practice with procedures and/or simulation. Some of these experiences are also available on the Rapid City campus. Students travel to the Sioux Falls campus 3 times during the physical health assessment course for hands-on practice with skills.

No. Some students begin their APRN education immediately following the completion of their B.S.N. degree. These students work while in the program to ensure they have one thousand hours of experience before enrollment in the physical assessment course.

Your academic advisor will work with you to develop a plan to complete the program. Changes to the state of residence may impact your ability to complete the program so early notification of changes to residence is essential.