Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree in Nursing

The Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree is designed for the RN or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who is ready to take a leadership role in the professional clinical practice of nursing. This degree builds on the nursing practice skills and experience that each student possesses.  These skills will be integrated with new and innovative ways to advance the healthcare system.  An innovative, technology-enriched, educational approach will be used to create advanced practice clinical nursing experts who base decisions on the best evidence available to provide patient-centered, culturally appropriate care.  Emphasis will be placed on the use of technology, improving outcomes, innovative leadership, scholarship and using evidence as a foundation for practice.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Doctorate of Nursing Practice program provides a curriculum that links theory and practice to promote eight program learning outcomes that are based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2006) The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice:

  • Scientific Underpinnings for Practice: Integrate nursing science with knowledge from biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, ethics, and organizational sciences as the basis for advanced practice nursing and new approaches to care delivery.
  • Organizational and Systems Leadership: Create environments that support quality improvement across systems.
  • Clinical Scholarship: Create and disseminate innovations in evidence-based practice.
  • Information Systems and Patient Care Technology: Evaluate emerging technologies for their utility in advanced nursing practice.
  • Health Care Policy:  Evaluate health policy and advocate for patients and the discipline.
  • Interprofessional Collaboration: Create collaborative interprofessional relationships to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  • Clinical Prevention and Population Health: Evaluate the social, cultural, and environmental dimensions of population health in practice patterns/systems.
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nursing: Independently assess, diagnose, treat, and manage undifferentiated patients.

Entry Options

There are four entry options for the degree.

Entry Option 1

The first entry option is for the APRN (nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist), who has a Masters of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) and is ready to complete the clinical doctoral degree. These applicants apply directly to the Post Masters (PM) to DNP program.

Entry Option 2

The second entry option is for the APRN (nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist), who has a Masters of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) and is ready to complete the clinical doctorate degree and wants to add one of three specialties.  The offered specialties are:  Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Family/Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (FNP).These applicants will apply to the PM to DNP program and identify the specialty of interest during the admission process.  These students are interviewed by the specialty Program Director prior to the end of the first session for approval to start the specialty program.  An individualized program of study will be developed after specialty program approval.

Entry Option 3

The third entry option is for the RN with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing who is ready to complete the clinical doctorate degree and move into advanced practice in one of three specialties. The offered specialties are:  Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Family/Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (FNP).  These applicants are interviewed by the specialty Program Director for approval prior to admission.

Entry Option 4

The fourth entry option is for the RN who has a Masters of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN), who is not an APRN, but is ready to complete the clinical doctorate degree and move into advanced practice in one of the three specialties.  The offered specialties are:  Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Family/Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Applicants are interviewed by the specialty Program Director for approval prior to admission.