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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree

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Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP degree is offered in direct response to the October 2004 endorsement of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) position statement which recognizes the DNP as the preferred credential for all advanced nursing practice roles. The DNP program fulfills a strong local, regional, and national need for doctoral prepared advanced practice nurses and is designed to be in full compliance with professional standards for the practice doctorate as put forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

The DNP degree expands and enhances the focus of nursing practice, using as its foundation the basic baccalaureate nursing program and Master’s level preparation in nursing or a related field. The program’s goals are directed toward educating experienced nurses functioning in direct or indirect healthcare roles. The post-Master’s DNP degree consists of 31 semester hours (s.h.) of coursework delivered online within a 16 week trimester schedule and includes a minimum of 636 practice hours and field experiences.

The DNP degree program requires documented completion of a minimum of 1,000 post-BSN supervised practice hours. DNP practice hours include verified practice hours from the Master’s POS, field experiences in selected DNP courses, individualized advanced practice experiences completed in the student’s home community, and the completion of a faculty supervised and peer-reviewed Practice Improvement Project. Students admitted with documentation of fewer than 400 post-BSN supervised practice hours must enroll in NURS8950 Advanced Practice in Organizational Leadership to complete necessary practice hours to meet the 1,000 post-BSN practice hours requirement for the DNP degree.

The Post-graduate Nurse Educator certificate (12 s.h.) may be added to the DNP programs of study. This option is highly recommended for anyone teaching currently or interested in doing so in the future. All or part of the 12 s.h. may be completed during or after completion of the MSN or DNP degree. Addition of the NE certificate does not delay or extend degree completion and time to graduation. Contact programadvising@graceland.edu for questions or assistance.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Admission Requirements

  1. Master’s of nursing degree (MN, MSN) from an NLNAC or CCNE accredited program.
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher in the nursing master’s degree program.

DNP Graduation Requirements

To qualify for graduation, each degree candidate must have:

  1. Completed sufficient credit to meet the total required graduate semester hours within 4 years of enrollment.  Students may petition one time for a 1 year extension.
  2. 31 total graduate semester hours with a minimum of 25 at Graceland.
  3. Earned a final course grade of B or better in every course.
  4. Satisfactorily completed the required DNP Practice Improvement Project.
  5. Documentation of a minimum of 1000 post-BSN supervised practice hours.
  6. Fulfilled all financial obligations to Graceland University.
  7. Filed an application for graduation with the Office of the Registrar at least 6 months prior to the anticipated graduation date.

Graduate Student Handbook

Academic policies are summarized in the Graduate Student Handbook (GSH) which can be viewed at http://pubdocs.graceland.edu/SchoolOfNursing/GradStuHandbook.pdf. This handbook is updated on a regular basis. Refer to the online version for the most current information. Students will be notified when major revisions are posted. Academic policies are available to enrolled students via links posted on the My Graceland School of Nursing Resources page.

  • Courses in Nursing (DNP)

    Organizational Leadership Concentration

    Courses Offered
    • NURS8010Introduction to Doctoral Study in Nursing
      NURS8010 Introduction to Doctoral Study in Nursing

      Focuses on preparing the SON doctoral student to be successful in an online graduate program of study. Includes mandatory completion of selected tutorials, review of academic policies, pre-clinical HIPAA and Standard Precaution requirements, and participation in pre-scheduled Live Chat sessions. Information related to university resources and services available to support successful progression and completion of the selected program of study is provided. Successful completion within the first term of enrollment is required for progression in the selected program of study. (Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.)

    • NURS8100Professionalism, Ethics and Issues
      NURS8100 Professionalism, Ethics and Issues - 3 s.h.

      This course provides a foundation for the development of the Doctor of Nursing Practice role. The content provides a broader interdisciplinary view of historical, theoretical, and political avenues of the Doctorate in Nursing Practice. It also includes health care policy advocates and macrosystems, ethics, and professional development for DNPs today, tomorrow, and into the next generation. In addition, it helps the DNP student with framing their doctoral identity and practice. Includes 12 clock hours of field experiences counted toward the post-BSN supervised practice hour requirement for the DNP degree.

    • NURS8120Health Systems Policy and Regulation
      NURS8120 Health Systems Policy and Regulation - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on the fundamental principles of health policy and the impact of the political process for health care in the United States and around the globe. The course will prepare students to accept multifaceted leadership positions and expand the role of specialty practice nurses in the development, delivery, and monitoring of health care. This course addresses the distinctive intricacies of health care policies that influence care in the U.S. and globally. It is designed to assist the student in developing the skills necessary to critically analyze health care policies and to recognize how they can be influenced by investors or special interest groups. These policies are examined from a governmental and organizational viewpoint. Includes 8 clock hours of field experiences counted toward the post-BSN supervised practice hour requirement for the DNP degree.

    • NURS8130Biostatistics
      NURS8130 Biostatistics - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on the application of statistical methods and analysis of data used in research for evidence-based practice and clinical decision making.

    • NURS8140Epidemiology
      NURS8140 Epidemiology - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on epidemiologic concepts and methods for disease prevention, surveillance, detection, and intervention to promote the health of populations. Morbidity and mortality information, steps in the epidemiologic investigation process, and epidemiologic research methods are emphasized. Students will learn specific epidemiologic skills such as use of existing datasets, analysis of published epidemiologic studies, and data interpretation. The epidemiology of infectious diseases, environmental health hazards, new and emerging diseases, chronic disease, managerial epidemiology and disaster preparedness is included. Includes 16 hours of field experiences that emphasize epidemiological leadership.

    • NURS8200Evaluation of Research for Evidence Based Practice
      NURS8200 Evaluation of Research for Evidence Based Practice - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on the application of research methods conducted to generate evidence-based knowledge to improve nursing practice and patient outcomes. Emphasis will be on students’ identification of practice problem using steps in evidence-based practice process. Students will develop skills and competencies in database searching, critical appraisal, interpretation of research findings, data analysis, synthesis, and decision making for application of evidence in clinical practice. The process of critiquing quantitative, qualitative, outcome, and intervention research methods is included. Ethics in healthcare research will be discussed. Finally, students will learn and be prepared to communicate clinical practice scholarship and research findings. Prerequisite: NURS8130.

    • NURS8210Project Management
      NURS8210 Project Management - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on the steps and processes for comprehensive and systematic management of an evidence-based scholarly practice project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. The framework will address analysis of a practice setting, identification and description of the phenomenon of interest, the PICO question, systematic review of the literature, and an outline for the project proposal. Emphasis will be placed on the resources and skills needed for successful management of a scholarly practice project. Includes 100 supervised practice hours directly related to project management in an advanced practice setting. Prerequisite: NURS8200, Corequisite: NURS8950, NURS8260.

    • NURS8220Healthcare Informatics
      NURS8220 Healthcare Informatics - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on information systems technology, its applications within healthcare settings, and the value of technology for managing healthcare data. Some covered content includes information technologies and applications used in healthcare for various purposes including clinical decision support, transferring expert knowledge, and for collecting and managing healthcare data. Current and emerging technologies are introduced, as well as other topics such as policy, ethical and legal issues relevant to health information technology (health IT). The value and impact of health IT implementation is covered, and students learn about technology and outcomes evaluation. They are also introduced to the role of various stakeholders in health IT planning, design, implementation, management and use. Students will acquire the skills necessary to accurately use information systems and technology and to lead the advancement of informatics practice and research.

    • NURS8260Organizational Leadership and Collaboration
      NURS8260 Organizational Leadership and Collaboration - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on leadership theories and principles and innovative leadership strategies for the DNP Concepts covered include transformational leadership, measurement of outcomes, data driven decision-making, organizational culture and climate, communication skills, professional accountability, change theory, and the business realities of healthcare leadership. Students will develop and or refine leadership skills as they progress through the course in order to enhance the quality of nursing and healthcare delivery systems.

    • NURS8950Advanced Practice in Organizational Leadership
      NURS8950 Advanced Practice in Organizational Leadership - 1-4 s.h.

      Includes up to 400 advanced practice hours for students enrolled in the DNP program with less than 364 verified post-BSN supervised practice hours. The number and nature of the practice hours will vary from student to student and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. This course is not a requirement for the degree. One semester hour is equivalent to 80-100 clock hours of practice experience. Course may be repeated as needed. Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

    • NURS9700DNP Practice Improvement Project Continuous Enrollment
      NURS9700 DNP Practice Improvement Project Continuous Enrollment - 1 s.h.

      Provides continuous enrollment to complete course requirements for incomplete grades assigned to NURS9710, NURS9711, NURS9712 and NURS9720. Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

    • NURS9710DNP Practice Improvement Project Proposal
      NURS9710 DNP Practice Improvement Project Proposal - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on facilitating student progress through the proposal development & formal approval processes of an evidence-based quality improvement project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. Project development and design requires demonstration of integration, synthesis and application of advanced practice competencies. Course requirements include 200 supervised practice hours and a formal written project proposal approved by the faculty advisor, practice mentor, practice site and institutional IRB(s). Both direct hours (time spent working on the project in the practice setting) and indirect hours (time spent working on the project outside of the practice setting) are included in this total. The nature of the practice hours will vary depending on the nature of the scholarly project and practice experience and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours related to project completion are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs and project deliverables are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. Graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Pre-requisites: Documented completion of a minimum of 500 post-BSN supervised practice hours, NURS8210.

    • NURS9711DNP Practice Improvement Project Implementation
      NURS9711 DNP Practice Improvement Project Implementation - 1 s.h.

      Focuses on facilitating student progress through the implementation of an evidence-based quality improvement project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. Project completion requires demonstration of integration, synthesis and application of advanced practice competencies. Course requirements include 100 supervised practice hours and a formal written project report, oral presentation to agency, and dissemination for peer-review. Both direct hours (time spent working on the project in the practice setting) and indirect hours (time spent working on the project outside of the practice setting) are included in this total. The nature of the practice hours will vary depending on the nature of the scholarly project and practice experience and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours related to project completion are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs and project deliverables are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. Pre-requisites: NURS9710.

    • NURS9712DNP Practice Improvement Project Analysis & Dissemination
      NURS9712 DNP Practice Improvement Project Analysis & Dissemination - 3 s.h.

      Focuses on the analysis, evaluation and dissemination of an evidence-based quality improvement project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. Project completion requires demonstration of integration, synthesis and application of advanced practice competencies. Course requirements include 200 supervised practice hours and a formal written project report, oral presentation to agency, and dissemination for peer-review. Both direct hours (time spent working on the project in the practice. The nature of the practice hours will vary depending on the nature of the scholarly project and practice experience and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours related to project completion are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs and project deliverables are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. Pre-requisites: NURS9711.

    NURS8010Introduction to Doctoral Study in Nursing NURS8100Professionalism, Ethics and Issues NURS8120Health Systems Policy and Regulation NURS8130Biostatistics NURS8140Epidemiology NURS8200Evaluation of Research for Evidence Based Practice NURS8210Project Management NURS8220Healthcare Informatics NURS8260Organizational Leadership and Collaboration NURS8950Advanced Practice in Organizational Leadership NURS9700DNP Practice Improvement Project Continuous Enrollment NURS9710DNP Practice Improvement Project Proposal NURS9711DNP Practice Improvement Project Implementation NURS9712DNP Practice Improvement Project Analysis & Dissemination
    Course Descriptions
    NURS8010 Introduction to Doctoral Study in Nursing

    Focuses on preparing the SON doctoral student to be successful in an online graduate program of study. Includes mandatory completion of selected tutorials, review of academic policies, pre-clinical HIPAA and Standard Precaution requirements, and participation in pre-scheduled Live Chat sessions. Information related to university resources and services available to support successful progression and completion of the selected program of study is provided. Successful completion within the first term of enrollment is required for progression in the selected program of study. (Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.)

    NURS8100 Professionalism, Ethics and Issues - 3 s.h.

    This course provides a foundation for the development of the Doctor of Nursing Practice role. The content provides a broader interdisciplinary view of historical, theoretical, and political avenues of the Doctorate in Nursing Practice. It also includes health care policy advocates and macrosystems, ethics, and professional development for DNPs today, tomorrow, and into the next generation. In addition, it helps the DNP student with framing their doctoral identity and practice. Includes 12 clock hours of field experiences counted toward the post-BSN supervised practice hour requirement for the DNP degree.

    NURS8120 Health Systems Policy and Regulation - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on the fundamental principles of health policy and the impact of the political process for health care in the United States and around the globe. The course will prepare students to accept multifaceted leadership positions and expand the role of specialty practice nurses in the development, delivery, and monitoring of health care. This course addresses the distinctive intricacies of health care policies that influence care in the U.S. and globally. It is designed to assist the student in developing the skills necessary to critically analyze health care policies and to recognize how they can be influenced by investors or special interest groups. These policies are examined from a governmental and organizational viewpoint. Includes 8 clock hours of field experiences counted toward the post-BSN supervised practice hour requirement for the DNP degree.

    NURS8130 Biostatistics - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on the application of statistical methods and analysis of data used in research for evidence-based practice and clinical decision making.

    NURS8140 Epidemiology - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on epidemiologic concepts and methods for disease prevention, surveillance, detection, and intervention to promote the health of populations. Morbidity and mortality information, steps in the epidemiologic investigation process, and epidemiologic research methods are emphasized. Students will learn specific epidemiologic skills such as use of existing datasets, analysis of published epidemiologic studies, and data interpretation. The epidemiology of infectious diseases, environmental health hazards, new and emerging diseases, chronic disease, managerial epidemiology and disaster preparedness is included. Includes 16 hours of field experiences that emphasize epidemiological leadership.

    NURS8200 Evaluation of Research for Evidence Based Practice - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on the application of research methods conducted to generate evidence-based knowledge to improve nursing practice and patient outcomes. Emphasis will be on students’ identification of practice problem using steps in evidence-based practice process. Students will develop skills and competencies in database searching, critical appraisal, interpretation of research findings, data analysis, synthesis, and decision making for application of evidence in clinical practice. The process of critiquing quantitative, qualitative, outcome, and intervention research methods is included. Ethics in healthcare research will be discussed. Finally, students will learn and be prepared to communicate clinical practice scholarship and research findings. Prerequisite: NURS8130.

    NURS8210 Project Management - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on the steps and processes for comprehensive and systematic management of an evidence-based scholarly practice project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. The framework will address analysis of a practice setting, identification and description of the phenomenon of interest, the PICO question, systematic review of the literature, and an outline for the project proposal. Emphasis will be placed on the resources and skills needed for successful management of a scholarly practice project. Includes 100 supervised practice hours directly related to project management in an advanced practice setting. Prerequisite: NURS8200, Corequisite: NURS8950, NURS8260.

    NURS8220 Healthcare Informatics - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on information systems technology, its applications within healthcare settings, and the value of technology for managing healthcare data. Some covered content includes information technologies and applications used in healthcare for various purposes including clinical decision support, transferring expert knowledge, and for collecting and managing healthcare data. Current and emerging technologies are introduced, as well as other topics such as policy, ethical and legal issues relevant to health information technology (health IT). The value and impact of health IT implementation is covered, and students learn about technology and outcomes evaluation. They are also introduced to the role of various stakeholders in health IT planning, design, implementation, management and use. Students will acquire the skills necessary to accurately use information systems and technology and to lead the advancement of informatics practice and research.

    NURS8260 Organizational Leadership and Collaboration - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on leadership theories and principles and innovative leadership strategies for the DNP Concepts covered include transformational leadership, measurement of outcomes, data driven decision-making, organizational culture and climate, communication skills, professional accountability, change theory, and the business realities of healthcare leadership. Students will develop and or refine leadership skills as they progress through the course in order to enhance the quality of nursing and healthcare delivery systems.

    NURS8950 Advanced Practice in Organizational Leadership - 1-4 s.h.

    Includes up to 400 advanced practice hours for students enrolled in the DNP program with less than 364 verified post-BSN supervised practice hours. The number and nature of the practice hours will vary from student to student and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. This course is not a requirement for the degree. One semester hour is equivalent to 80-100 clock hours of practice experience. Course may be repeated as needed. Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

    NURS9700 DNP Practice Improvement Project Continuous Enrollment - 1 s.h.

    Provides continuous enrollment to complete course requirements for incomplete grades assigned to NURS9710, NURS9711, NURS9712 and NURS9720. Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

    NURS9710 DNP Practice Improvement Project Proposal - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on facilitating student progress through the proposal development & formal approval processes of an evidence-based quality improvement project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. Project development and design requires demonstration of integration, synthesis and application of advanced practice competencies. Course requirements include 200 supervised practice hours and a formal written project proposal approved by the faculty advisor, practice mentor, practice site and institutional IRB(s). Both direct hours (time spent working on the project in the practice setting) and indirect hours (time spent working on the project outside of the practice setting) are included in this total. The nature of the practice hours will vary depending on the nature of the scholarly project and practice experience and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours related to project completion are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs and project deliverables are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. Graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Pre-requisites: Documented completion of a minimum of 500 post-BSN supervised practice hours, NURS8210.

    NURS9711 DNP Practice Improvement Project Implementation - 1 s.h.

    Focuses on facilitating student progress through the implementation of an evidence-based quality improvement project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. Project completion requires demonstration of integration, synthesis and application of advanced practice competencies. Course requirements include 100 supervised practice hours and a formal written project report, oral presentation to agency, and dissemination for peer-review. Both direct hours (time spent working on the project in the practice setting) and indirect hours (time spent working on the project outside of the practice setting) are included in this total. The nature of the practice hours will vary depending on the nature of the scholarly project and practice experience and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours related to project completion are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs and project deliverables are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. Pre-requisites: NURS9710.

    NURS9712 DNP Practice Improvement Project Analysis & Dissemination - 3 s.h.

    Focuses on the analysis, evaluation and dissemination of an evidence-based quality improvement project designed to remediate an identified practice phenomenon. Project completion requires demonstration of integration, synthesis and application of advanced practice competencies. Course requirements include 200 supervised practice hours and a formal written project report, oral presentation to agency, and dissemination for peer-review. Both direct hours (time spent working on the project in the practice. The nature of the practice hours will vary depending on the nature of the scholarly project and practice experience and is mutually agreed upon between the student, faculty advisor and cooperating agencies. Practice hours related to project completion are documented by the student and approved by the faculty advisor at regular intervals. Practice hour logs and project deliverables are approved by the faculty advisor and filed in the online course site. Pre-requisites: NURS9711.