About the Program

Program Details

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program offers doctoral-level studies in a clinically-focused learning environment. The DNP prepares advanced practice nurses to bring the highest level of clinical expertise to patients, nursing students, healthcare systems, health policy formation, and clinical research. DNP prepared nurses will contribute to the body of nursing knowledge and the practice of nursing to improve health care globally.


The curriculum provides theoretical and empirical knowledge essential for advanced nursing practice, clinical research, health policy formation, and nursing education.

The core courses include: wellness promotion, statistical analysis, social ethics, advanced pathogenesis, program evaluation, translational research, informatics, spirituality and health, and organizational leadership. The courses prepare students to implement the use of translational research approaches in healthcare. Coursework in these areas enables students to identify and formulate a translational research project as the culmination of their program.

DNP Courses

DNP program courses are designed to:

  • Provide students with the theoretical and scientific foundations of the discipline.
  • Enable students to utilize frameworks for understanding sources of knowledge in nursing, modes of inquiry, and models of scholarship
  • Enable students to critique, articulate, test, utilize, evaluate, and implement translational research.
  • Enable students to articulate the intersections of the profession with the Christian worldview.
  • Empower students with the knowledge base to formulate health care policies.
  • Prepare students to practice in an area of specialization within the larger domain of nursing, by demonstrating refined assessment skills and base practice on the application of nursing and other sciences as appropriate to their specialization area. (Essentials 8)
  • Allow students to critically examine, evaluate, and effectively translate nursing and other scientific knowledge with the goal of bringing positive changes to health-care practice and general population health. (Essentials 1)
  • Help students effectively lead in the development and implementation of interprofessional collaboration for the improvement of patient and population health outcomes. (Essentials 6)
  • Enable students to engage in collaborative leadership for the implementation, evaluation, and generation of evidence-based practice to guide improvements in practice and health outcomes. (Essentials 3)
  • Empower students to, based on scientific findings, utilize organizational and systems leadership competencies to effectively and ethically engage current and future health, safety, and other quality improvement issues to diverse organizational cultures and populations. (Essentials 2)
  • Allow students to employ evidence-based prevention through the analysis of epidemiological, bio-statistical, environmental, and other appropriate data related to individual, aggregate, and population health. (Essentials 7)
  • Enable students to demonstrate proficiency in the analysis and utilization of information systems/technology and patient care technology to improve quality in health care delivery. (Essentials 4)
  • Empower students to critically analyze health policy proposals/policies and advocate for equitable and ethical policies within healthcare. (Essentials 5)

Residency Practice Hours

AACN Essentials requires 1,000 hours of clinical practice. Students may transfer up to five hundred (500) qualified clinical hours toward the DNP from their master’s program. Six hundred (600) clinical hours, three hundred (300) in each of the SON DNP residency courses, are required in the program for a total of 1,100 clinical hours.

Translational Research Project

The DNP is a practice-focused doctorate that includes integrative practice experiences enacted in the residency courses spanning six semesters. Each student in the practice-focused DNP program will generate an evidence-based translational research project (TRP) as an integral part of their experience. There are a number of practice doctorates at the university, and the DNP students will have opportunities for interdisciplinary coursework and collaborative projects.

The evidence-based translational research project (TRP) is the culminating scholarly, clinical inquiry project of students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The TRP represents the translation or application of research evidence into advanced practice nursing.

Program Goals

DNP graduates will be well-prepared to translate new knowledge from research into cost-effective and culturally competent clinical practice. They will contribute to the development of health policy in the promotion of health, reducing the burden of disability, and maintaining the quality of life.

The following are the student learning outcomes for the DNP Program:

  1. Utilize nursing, bioethical, physical, spiritual, psychosocial, and organizational sciences in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of advanced clinical nursing practice.
  2. Provide transformative and collaborative leadership in the organization and management of health care delivery systems for ethnically and culturally diverse populations to improve patient and population outcomes.
  3. Critically examine, develop, and translate research and other evidence as a basis for developing, implementing, and evaluating advanced clinical nursing practice and health care delivery.
  4. Employ current technological and informational advances from health care and other disciplines to promote the highest level of health care delivery.
  5. Actively participate in evaluating, formulating, and implementing health care policies that address health disparities and health care from a social justice and ethical framework.
  6. Integrate faith traditions and Christian values in the development of professional and advanced nursing practice.


Consistent with the mission and purpose of the university, the School of Nursing is a Christian community of disciples, scholars, and practitioners. Its purpose is to advance the work of God in the world through nursing education, research, professional practice, community, and church service.

Health is defined and understood by the faculty as totality or completeness, whether for an individual, family, or community. That totality or completeness, within this conceptual definition, cannot be seen apart from the constitutive element of spirituality. Our conceptual approach to health highlights our distinctive role as a Christian university and provides the discipline of nursing with a distinctive domain for research and advanced nursing practice.

Note: This information is current for the 2017-18 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.