Doctor of Nursing Practice

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A number of societal, scientific, and professional developments have stimulated a major paradigm change in graduate education in nursing. The rapid expansion of knowledge underlying practice; increased complexity of patient care; national concerns about the quality of care and patient safety; shortages of nursing personnel; demands for a higher level of preparation for nurses to design and evaluate best practices; shortages of nursing faculty; and the increasing educational expectations for the preparation of other health professionals have led the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to establish the standard that preparation should be at the doctoral level.

The School of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of San Francisco has designed a vital, responsive Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program for the baccalaureate-prepared nurse and the nurse with a master's degree. The DNP Completion Program for nurses who have already completed a master's degree takes into account previous academic coursework and clinical experiences and the required number of credits are adjusted accordingly. Course schedules are designed for both full and part-time students and are responsive to the needs of the working nurse professional. Graduates of the program will meet the AACN outcome competencies and practice standards, including the completion of 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice, the successful passing of a comprehensive exam, and the completion of a DNP evidence-based practice project.

The DNP program at the University of San Francisco will prepare graduates for advanced nursing practice in "direct" and "indirect" roles. The program is designed to conform to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing standard that advanced practice nursing specialty preparation should be at the DNP level (

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the DNP program, the graduate will be able to:

  1. Combine knowledge in nursing, ethics, and the medical sciences to develop and evaluate practices and models of patient care delivery.
  2. Develop and evaluate effective strategies for managing ethical dilemmas present across the health care, technology, and research fields.
  3. Use analytic methods to design, implement, and evaluate best-practice models for patient care and care delivery.
  4. Effectively develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to advance the field and systems of health care delivery.
  5. Demonstrate leadership in the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and international health policy.
  6. Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies in health care.
  7. Advance the effective use of health care information systems to ensure high-quality outcomes.
  8. Effectively lead quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.
  9. Effectively communicate and collaborate with health care teams in developing and implementing organizational and practice models, health policy, and standards of care.
  10. Analyze and synthesize various data related to patient health information.
  11. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of health in complex situations, incorporating diverse approaches to design, implement, and evaluate interventions.
  12. Analyze the relationship among practical, organizational, population, fiscal, and policy issues to educate individuals and colleagues effectively.
  13. Develop relationships and partnerships with patients and other professionals to facilitate optimal patient care outcomes.
  14. Advance the mission and core values of the University of San Francisco.

DNP Program Options

The BSN to DNP program is designed for registered nurses who hold baccalaureate degrees in nursing, with preparation as:

The following DNP programs are designed for registered nurses who hold master's degrees, with preparation as: