The Department of Nursing offers course work leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The DNP is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The DNP program is designed to prepare graduates for independent practice in advanced nursing practice specialties. The DNP graduate will possess enhanced organizational and leadership skills in health care delivery, expertise in the application of evidence-based practice to improve patient and health care outcomes, and the ability to lead inter-professional teams.
DNP Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the DNP program, the graduate is prepared to:
1. Incorporate science-based theories from nursing and other disciplines to develop, implement, and evaluate practice approaches that improve health care; 2. Utilize organizational and systems leadership to promote quality, cost effectiveness, and patient safety in the delivery of health care; 3. Demonstrate leadership in the application and critical evaluation of evidence-based practice to improve patient and health care outcomes; 4. Apply information systems/technology to monitor and improve patient care and health care delivery systems; 5. Consistent with Jesuit values, advocate for health care policies that comply with ethical principles and address health disparities and vulnerable populations; 6. Organize and lead inter-professional teams to improve patient and population health outcomes; 7. Analyze epidemiological, biostatistical, and environmental data to develop, implement, and evaluate clinical prevention and population health initiatives; 8. Function independently in an advanced nursing practice role to improve patient outcomes in a specialty area of practice; 9. Engage in lifelong learning and service to others.
Program of Study
In addition to coursework, each student will complete an evidence-based scholarly capstone project with significant potential to positively change health care delivery or improve patient outcomes for vulnerable patients, families, communities, or populations. Also, each student will complete clinical practice hours related to the scholarly project and /or to advance knowledge in the student’s area of specialization. Advanced nursing practice students will be given credit for the clinical hours completed in their master’s specialty program and will complete additional hours to fulfill the 1000 clinical hours total required for the DNP program. The number of clinical hours required for each student will be divided between the two DNP Scholarly Project courses (NURS 780 and NURS 790). A minimum of 125 hours is required in each DNP Scholarly Project course. Additional hours above the 125 hour minimum will be dependent upon the student’s prior precepted clinical experience at the master’s level.
An applicant for the DNP degree program must possess a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) from a CCNE or ACEN accredited program with preparation and certification in an advanced nursing practice specialty, have an MSN GPA of 3.2 or higher, and be licensed as a registered nurse in the state of Pennsylvania. The applicant must submit three professional references and a three to four page essay describing current and past clinical practice, scholarly career achievements, and the proposed topic for the scholarly project. The topic may be a practice improvement issue or a clinical management problem. The paper should cite appropriate sources where applicable and follow APA format. An interview with the program director or a faculty member to clarify goals and objectives is required.
Students are admitted to the DNP program for the fall semester only. Completed applications must be received by March 1 of the year of expected enrollment.
DNP students are expected to conform to the regulations stated in both The University of Scranton Graduate Studies Catalog and the Department of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook.
DNP students must receive a grade of Satisfactory in the scholarly project courses (NURS 780 and NURS 790). The grade is based upon both faculty and preceptor evaluations of the student’s ability to meet course objectives and demonstrate safe advanced clinical nursing practice. A grade of Unsatisfactory will result in the failure of the scholarly project course and dismissal from the program.
The DNP program can be completed in two years of study. Students are admitted as a cohort in fall and graduate two years later in May. Courses are taken sequentially and learning is cumulative, building to completion of the scholarly capstone project. Students are expected to take two courses (six credits) per semester for five semesters, which includes the summer between the first and second years.
All DNP students are expected to satisfactorily complete and defend a scholarly project as the capstone experience and part of the graduation requirements.