Doctor of Nursing Practice: Family Nurse Practitioner

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is for nurses who are interested in assuming an advanced practice role as a family nurse practitioner (FNP).  DNP graduates are prepared as experts in the delivery of primary care, with a focus on critical thinking, leadership, and public policy skills needed to advocate for and create changes in healthcare practice at all levels. 

Courses are delivered in an online format allowing students to reside in their home communities. The DNP program also includes a minimum of 1000 clinical hours, 80% of which are completed in primary care settings. Approximately 20% of the total hours are completed in specialty settings or during the DNP scholarly project. Students complete most clinical hour requirements in their home communities, but may choose to travel for specialized clinical experiences (e.g. rural health care settings) or graduate program student intensives (GPSI).

The mission of the DNP program is to prepare experts in advanced practice to utilize specialized knowledge and evidence-based nursing to influence and deliver primary care to diverse populations.  Graduates translate scientific findings, evaluate programs and outcomes, produce clinical scholarship, and transform healthcare systems and policies.

The goals of the DNP program are to prepare graduates to:

  • Assume clinical leadership roles in service and academic settings.
  • Influence health policy and systems of healthcare in local, state, regional, and national forums.
  • Use information technology and analytic methods to evaluate multiple sources of outcome data. 
  • Utilize current practice guidelines and policies, care delivery models and strategies to impact health outcomes.
  • Develop therapeutic approaches to reduce disparities in the care of families, communities, and populations.
  • Design evidence-based, ethical, safe, and cost-effective strategies that improve healthcare outcomes for individuals or populations. 
  • Incorporate strategies to stay abreast of healthcare policies and issues.

DNP Expected Student Learning Outcomes (ESLOs)

Upon graduation with a DNP degree, students are be able to:

  1. Facilitate intra- and interprofessional collaboration to address health disparities and to improve health care quality across diverse populations and cultures (DNP Essential VI; NONPF Leadership Competencies).
  2. Appraise organizational and system leadership principles in the analysis, delivery, and management of nursing care for safe practice environments (DNP Essential II; NONPF Leadership Competencies; Health Delivery System Competencies).
  3. Critique complex primary care clinical situations and health care systems to promote optimal outcomes through evidence-based practice (DNP Essential III; NONPF Practice Inquiry Competencies).
  4. Evaluate current and emerging health technologies to improve care delivery and organizational systems (DNP Essential IV; NONPF Technology and Information Literacy Competencies).
  5. Integrate advanced knowledge of nursing theories, methods of inquiry, humanities, and sciences in the delivery of care to individuals, families, and communities (DNP Essential I; NONPF Scientific Foundation Competencies).
  6. Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies in health care (DNP Essential V; NONPF Ethics Competencies; NONPF Policy Competencies).
  7. Design practice environments that support quality improvement, a culture of safety, accountability, and communication to improve patient outcomes in diverse settings (DNP Essential II; NONPF Quality Competencies).
  8. Design evidence-based, ethical, safe, and cost-effective strategies that use technology to improve health care outcomes for individuals and/or populations (DNP Essentials IV, VII; NONPF Health Delivery System Competencies).
  9. Initiate changes in health care systems through the design and implementation of health policies that strengthen the health care delivery system (DNP Essentials V, VII; NONPF Practice Inquiry Competencies; NONPF Leadership Competencies).
  10. Lead practice initiatives that influence population health care outcomes with a focus on underserved individuals, families, and communities (DNP Essentials VI, VII; NONPF Practice Inquiry and Leadership Competencies).

Application Process