Doctor of Nursing Practice

Executive hybrid model requires just two weekend residencies per semester combined with online discussion. This program is perfect for the busy working nurse who may live out-of-state.
Sacred Heart University's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program combines doctoral education that is focused on practice with innovation and practical clinical research and scholarship. It is designed to serve academically talented nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse executives, and educators. Only the second such program in Connecticut, this offering solidifies the University’s prominent position in the development of health care leadership.

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This cohort program is designed to be completed part-time in three calendar years. The curriculum offers two different career tracks:
Doctoral Clinical Practice in Health Care Track
The clinical practice in heath care track is designed for the advanced practice nurse who wants to remain in clinical practice and have influence on health care outcomes at multiple levels.

Doctoral Leadership in Health Care Track

The leadership in health care track is for the graduate who wants a career in executive nursing management, but who still prefers a nursing doctorate with a connection to clinical practice. Students in this track may take nursing education electives if they aspire to have a career in an academic setting.

According to Dr. Patricia W. Walker, dean of the University’s College of Education and Health Professions, "The launching of Sacred Heart University’s second professional doctoral program is a great occasion for the College and for the University and an indication of the reputation we have earned for nursing education in the state. I'm very proud of this latest achievement of our nursing faculty and very pleased that the University is serving society by educating highly skilled nurses for clinical and academic settings.”

DNP graduates will be prepared to teach, lead and engage in practical, clinically focused scholarship and research. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a clinical doctorate requiring the completion of a practice dissertation focusing on clinical nursing practice. The practice dissertation is structured to be completed in one year preparing the student to utilize research for the improvement of clinical care delivery, patient outcomes, and system management. It will be suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or a book. Graduates will be expert in designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating health care delivery systems and will be prepared to lead at the highest clinical and executive ranks.

This unique hybrid/intensive program is specifically designed to maximize the number of potential career roles the doctoral nursing graduate may assume, whether in academic life, advanced clinical practice, or executive healthcare leadership. Classes are taught online, and students are required to attend two on-campus residencies per semester. This cohort program is 39 credits and is designed to be completed in a three-year part-time sequence.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree was first proposed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2004. The AACN, which is made up of leaders in higher education from across the country, sets the standards for professional nursing education. It has issued a position statement that after the year 2015, all advanced practice nurses must graduate with a DNP.

The Sacred Heart University graduate nursing program continues to be a leader in advanced practice education with a current enrollment in excess of 150 graduate students. DNP candidates must be master’s-level nurses in the proposed field of study or its equivalent.

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