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The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is for nurses who are interested in an advanced practice role as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) and nurse leader in healthcare systems. Doctor of Nursing Practice 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  online allowing students to reside in their home communities. However, students may choose to travel for clinical rotations, objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs) and graduate program student intensives (GPSIs). A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university is required, prior to beginning the program. Applicants must have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better in baccalaureate nursing coursework.


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program includes a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours, approximately 80% of which are completed in primary care settings. Approximately 20% of clinical hours are completed in specialty settings or during the Scholarly Project. Students may complete most clinical hours in their home communities, but may need to travel for specialized clinical experiences (e.g. rural healthcare settings) or graduate program student intensives (GPSI).

Academic Requirements for Doctor of Nursing Practice in Family Nurse Practitioner

Nurses with a DNP degree often work in leadership positions within health care and academic systems.

Graduates with the DNP FNP degree work across a variety of healthcare and educational settings in roles including, but not limited to, providers, administrators and  executives.

Program Mission

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.

Program Goals

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.

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Build intra- and interprofessional collaboration to improve healthcare quality across diverse populations.

  2. Compile and evaluate healthcare information systems to strengthen, support or improve the health delivery system.

  3. Interpret social justice, equity and ethical policies in healthcare for complex decision making for individuals and populations.

  4. Develop theoretical and scientific practice initiatives and/or policies for quality improvement to promote a culture of safety in diverse organizational cultures and populations.

  5. Modify complex clinical situations and healthcare systems through the integration and utilization of evidence-based practice to promote optimal outcomes.

  6. Improve the delivery of care to individuals, families and communities through advanced nursing science.

Graduate Nursing Program Accreditation

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree programs, and Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Colorado Mesa University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Graduate Nursing Program Students Licensure

Colorado Mesa University's DNP Graduate Nursing Program eligibility for licensure information can be found here: