Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP degree is the terminal practice degree for the profession of nursing. Prospective students will obtain a nursing degree with a focus in clinical practice at the highest level.  The impetus for enhancing graduate education for practicing clinicians includes an increasingly complex healthcare environment, explosive growth in knowledge of science and therapeutics, quality and safety concerns, and financial pressures driving efficiency efforts. The practice focused doctorate in nursing builds upon advanced clinical skills with coursework on quality improvement, evidence-based performance, and systems approaches to meeting the health care needs of the public. Each DNP student must complete a minimum of 500 hours for DNP residency which is in addition to the practicum hours required for initial certification in the student's clinical specialty.

DNP Vision Statement

To develop Advanced Practice Nurses who will be innovative experts in leadership and practice who will transform practice in an increasingly complex healthcare system.

Program Outcomes

It is intended that students of the program will:

  • Integrate nursing science, ethics and the biophysical, psychosocial, analytic, and organizational sciences as the basis for advanced nursing practice to influence legal, political and organizational policy and support access to care, social justice, and the profession of nursing.
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability in the design, delivery, and evaluation of evidence based care in complex decision making.
  • Use analytical methods and information technology to improve population and system outcomes considering legal, financial, ethical, and regulatory issues.
  • Analyze practice initiatives in order to develop effective interprofessional strategies to ensure and improve healthcare outcomes for patients and populations in relationship to safety and quality care.

DNP Admission Requirements

  1. Graduation from an MSN program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLN-AC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  2. Post-Masters applicants must have current national certification and licensure as an advanced practice nurse.
    1. Master's prepared nurses without certification in an advanced practice role may complete coursework and certification requirements for the AGPCNP or FNP at Lewis University and continue into the DNP curriculum.
    2. Students in the Lewis University MSN program who intend to matriculate directly into the DNP program will not need to submit a separate application. All DNP admission criteria must be met.
  3. Two years of clinical experience as a registered nurse.
  4. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  5. Two letters of recommendation: one letter from current supervisor or manager and one letter from a nurse with a masters degree or doctoral degree in your area of specialty practice.
  6. Essay of 500 words including introduction and conclusion addressing: how your work experiences prepared you for doctoral studies; how the DNP program will facilitate achievement of your short and long term goals; and how the Lewis University Mission integrates with your personal and professional identity
  7. A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  8. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 in graduate level coursework.
  9. Applicants are required to have completed the following prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better:
    1. A three-semester hour graduate level research course.
    2. A three-semester hour graduate level course in statistics.
    3. A three-semester hour graduate level course in epidemiology.
    4. Three-semester hours of graduate level Population Health.
    5. Three-semester hours of graduate level Healthcare Informatics.

If not previously completed, these courses will be in addition to the course requirements for the DNP degree.

For post-MSN applicants with national specialty certification and licensure as an advanced practice nurse and having completed all prerequisite courses, the expected time for completion of the DNP program is two and a half calendar years. For post-MSN applicants without national specialty certification and licensure as an advanced practice nurse, the time requirement is longer and determined by the number of credits needed to attain either AGPCNP or FNP certificates.


Degree Offered: DNP

Total Credit Hours Required: 30

DNP Courses

All students in the DNP program must complete the following courses:
30-720Research, Design and Measurement in Advanced Practice Nursing


30-730Healthcare Ethics


30-740Healthcare Policy


30-770Quality and Safety Science in Healthcare


30-760Financial and Strategic Management for Healthcare Decision Makers


30-790DNP Scholarly Project Planning


30-792DNP Scholarly Project Implementation


30-793DNP Scholarly Project Evaluation and Dissemination


30-796DNP Residency

2 Credit Hours. Repeatable for a total of 6 Credit Hours

Total Credit Hours:30