The DNP program is designed as a post-master’s in nursing degree program for nurses wishing to expand their scope of practice. The DNP program is online with a mandatory campus visit each fall semester for DNP seminar until completion of degree. Applicants to the acute care emphases must hold certification as a nurse practitioner. Applicants to the lifestyle therapeutics emphasis are not required to be nurse practitioners. The program is based on the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice guidelines put forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2006).
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program is approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
DNP Admission Requirements
Admission to the DNP program is achieved in three (3) consecutive steps:
- General University admission - documents submitted to graduate studies office
- Graduate Application
- Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate schools attended, documenting MSN, a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 and evidence of successful completion of an undergraduate or graduate course in statistics (3 credit hours)
- Three letters of recommendation (2 from a clinical setting; 1 academic)
- Narrative statement describing the applicant’s purpose and goals
- Curriculum vitae
- School of Nursing admission to the DNP program - documents submitted to graduate enrollment counselor in the School of Nursing
- Scholarly writing sample (e.g. previous graduate-level paper)
- Current RN licensure in state or country of practice
- Current Advanced Practice Certification from a nationally recognized organization (Acute Care emphases only)
- Current Advanced Practice License in state or location of residence as required by that jurisdiction (Acute Care emphases only)
- Work experience as an RN. A minimum of two years (4000 hours) is generally expected. Acute care applicants should document acute care skill set. Exceptions related to work experience may be considered for students with limited work experience. These students are required to obtain and maintain ongoing work experience as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner while enrolled in the graduate curriculum.
- Interview by faculty member(s) - scheduled once all other documents have been submitted
- International students must submit official transcripts along with an evaluation by an accredited evaluation service. Applicants must achieve a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (Internet-based) within the past year prior to application.
- Satisfactory outcome of the health and safety assessments, and completion of basic emergency training requirements of the program - documents submitted to graduate enrollment counselor in the School of Nursing
- Physical exam
- Criminal background check
- Drug screen
- Current immunizations*
- CPR / BLS certification*
*currency must be maintained throughout DNP program
Admission to the Program
The DNP program is designed as an online program. Yearly cohorts are accepted and begin each fall semester. Students may elect to attend full or part time. Full-time students typically complete their program in five semesters; part-time students, in eight semesters. Students must come to campus at the beginning of each fall semester for an on-campus DNP seminar.
Students residing outside of the State of Tennessee should check with the Graduate Studies Office prior to application to determine if there are restrictions related to online education related to their place of residence.
Students pursuing the emphasis in either Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or Acute Care Specialization are required to meet MSN and NP certification requirements.
Students pursuing the emphasis in Lifestyle Therapeutics must hold a MSN degree. NP certification is not required for the Lifestyle Therapeutics emphasis.
All documents for Step 1 and Step 2 of the admission process must be complete by May 1 for fall admission. Applications will be prioritized for review based on an applicant’s level of education, work experience, and completion of all items of the application process.
Applicant Notification of Admission Status
Applicants will be notified in writing of the DNP Admissions Committee’s decision within one month following the published application deadline.
The program is designed to meet the needs of working adults. Students typically complete two to three courses each semester. Course loads usually range from five to nine hours per semester. Students who are unable to take a full load of classes will be eligible to take a missed class with the next cohort. The total time allowed to complete the program from enrollment in the program to the conferring of the DNP degree may not exceed five years. An application for an extension will be considered on an individual basis.
A criminal background check and drug screen are required of all students upon enrollment. Background checks are paid for and completed by the student online. Drug screens are facilitated by the School of Nursing Graduate Enrollment Counselor a drug testing service. Additional screening may be done at random. Progression may be adversely affected by negative background or drug screen reports.
Students are required to maintain current professional RN license, current immunizations, TB screening and healthcare provider CPR certification for program progression. Students who fail to maintain a currency in these areas will be dropped from Eclass and may be dismissed from the program.
Attendance at the annual, on-campus DNP Seminar (NRSG 705) in the fall semester is required of all students. Failure to attend the seminar will result in suspension of enrollment until the student is able to resume commitment to degree requirements.
Students benefit from additional clinical experience. At the recommendation of the faculty advisor or program administrator, a student may be required to register for NRSG 500 Individual Study and Clinical Practice, for the purposes of balancing and enriching their academic or clinical program and experience.
Student academic standing is monitored regularly for incomplete, unsatisfactory or low course grades and GPA. Students noted to have difficulties in any of these areas are subject to advisement and consideration regarding program progression. In general the following rules apply to progression:
- No grade below a B is allowed during the DNP program.
- A course with a grade below B must be repeated.
- One course may be repeated in the DNP program.
Of the designated credit hours required to complete the differing tracks of the DNP program, the last 20 semester hours must be taken through the Southern Adventist University School of Nursing. Seventy-five percent of program requirements must be completed at Southern Adventist University. Transfer courses must be taken at an accredited institution, carry grades of B or better, and be approved by the School of Nursing.
DNP Graduation Requirements
- Completed application to graduate, to be filed with the Records and Advisement office a minimum of two months prior to expected graduation date.
- Complete all coursework with a minimum grade-point-average of 3.00.