Doctor of Nursing Practice
Phone: 216.368.1907
Patricia Higgins, PhD, RN, Interim Program Director

The Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP) is an innovative academic program designed to prepare nurses for leadership positions in advanced nursing practice roles. The Post-Master's DNP program is flexible in meeting the needs of distance education students, with an innovative executive format and cohort program that has partnerships with numerous academic institutions and hospitals around the country. The DNP program admits students at two different stages in order to accommodate students with diverse educational backgrounds.

  • Post-Licensure (Advanced Nursing Practice stage: MSN degree awarded).  This entry point into the DNP program is designed for registered nurses entering the MSN program. Students who apply to the MSN and DNP programs at the same time follow a blended curriculum in which students begin taking DNP courses while in the masters program. Students are awarded an MSN degree when they complete MSN requirements and continue with DNP coursework. They are allowed to apply to a professional organization for certification in the advanced practice specialty and to a Board of Nursing for credentials to practice. Students in the MSN program may also apply to the DNP program during the MSN program but are required to complete courses from both programs.
  • Post-Master's DNP (Practice Doctorate stage; DNP degree awarded): This stage of the DNP program prepares nurses with MSN degrees to be clinical leaders at the absolute pinnacle of their field. Students acquire in-depth knowledge in nursing theory, research, policy, and education or management. Most DNP students at the post-master's level are already practicing in roles as advanced practice nurses, administrators, or educators. Once they are admitted to this phase of the program, they choose one of two elective sequences: education leadership or practice leadership.

Student Learning Outcomes

Scientific Underpinnings for Practice

  • Integrate nursing science and theory with knowledge and theory from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, cultural, and organizational sciences to develop and evaluate new practice approaches.

Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking

  • Demonstrate leadership in the development and evaluation of care delivery approaches that meet current and future needs of patient populations from findings of nursing and other clinical sciences, as well as organizational, political and economic sciences.
  • Develop and evaluate effective strategies and ensure accountability for leading organizations, addressing quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and managing ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care and research.

Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice

  • Use analytic methods to critically appraise existing evidence to determine best practices.
  • Apply relevant findings and use quality improvement methods to develop recommendations to improve practice and the practice environment.
  • Disseminate findings from evidence-based practice and research to improve health care outcomes.

Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care

  • Evaluate programs that monitor outcomes of care, care systems, and quality improvement including consumer use of health care information systems.
  • Provide leadership in the evaluation and resolution of ethical and legal issues within health care systems relating to the use of information, information technology, communication networks and patient care technology.

Health Care Policy and Advocacy in Health Care

  • Demonstrate leadership in the critical appraisal, development, and/or implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and international health policy.

Inter-professional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

  • Collaborate using communication, consultative, and leadership skills, with intra-professional and inter-professional teams to improve quality and safety in health care.

Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health

  • Analyze scientific data and synthesize concepts related to clinical prevention and population health in developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to address health promotion and disease prevention efforts.

Degree Requirements

  • Post-master's entry students must complete the DNP program within five years. Students who do not complete the DNP program within the above time frame should send a letter to the Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program with a request for an extension and a proposed plan for completing of remaining requirements.
  • Records of students who do not complete the program within the specified time frame will be re-evaluated in terms of the curriculum in effect at the time of review. The student may be required to take additional course work to graduate.

Academic Performance

Progression in the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program is contingent upon satisfactory academic achievement in all required courses.

Doctor of Nursing Practice students must achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above in all courses taken for credit as a DNP student at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing to be awarded the DNP degree. All DNP students must successfully defend their scholarly project.

The grade of incomplete (I) will be given at the discretion of the instructor for work not completed in the semester. A grade of I must be removed by the end of the semester following the one in which the course was taken or before the student enrolls in a course for which the initial course is a prerequisite. No credit is given for an I grade. The I will remain a permanent part of the transcript if the student fails to complete course requirements within the next year and the student will be required to retake the course.

Scholarly Project

The DNP program culminates in successful completion of a scholarly project. The scholarly project is designed by the student in collaboration with a 3-member committee approved by the Program Director. The scholarly project must focus on an issue related to improving patient outcomes. The scholarly project can take the form of a five chapter written project or a manuscript suitable for publication. The procedures and written product must conform to the regulations of the FPB School of Nursing.

Students must successfully defend their completed scholarly project in an “oral examination” with their committee members who are responsible for certifying that it meets acceptable scholarly standards. The defense is open to faculty and students and to those outside of the University. The committee determines the adequacy of the oral examination and written product. A student will pass if two or more of the committee members agree that the student successfully responded to questions during the defense and the written product met scholarly standards.

Post-Master's DNP Curriculum

Most classes are held in an intensive format, meeting for a specified number of days with additional meetings held online. A 3-credit course will meet for 5 days. Three courses are held online across the semester. Intensive sessions are given three times a year (January, May, and August) for at least two weeks. Papers and projects are due in the semester following the intensive session.

Required Courses                                                                                                                                                                                       Required Credits

NUND 450Applied Statistics (Online)3
NUND 504Theories for Nursing Practice and Scholarship3
NUND 506Leadership in Organizations and Systems3
NUND 508Health Care Policy and Planning3
NUND 510Application of Health Information Technology and Systems (Online)1
NUND 540Practice Focused Inquiry I (NUND 450 and NUND 504 are prerequisites)3
NUND 541Practice-Focused Inquiry II3
NUND 610Translating Evidence into Nursing Practice (Online)3
NUND 611Practicum2
NUND 619Proposal Development2
NUND 620Scholarly Project3

Educational Leadership Electives

NUND 509Curriculum and Instruction3
NUND 609Theoretical Foundations of Educational Testing and Evaluation2

Practice Leadership Electives

NUND 507Management in Advanced Nursing Practice3
NUND 607Advanced Leadership and Management in Healthcare2