Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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) degree program for the baccalaureate-prepared and master's-prepared nurse. The DNP degree 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 (AACN) standard that advanced practice nursing specialty preparation should be at the DNP level: (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/DNP/DNPPositionStatement.htm).

Program Learning Outcomes

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

  • Combine knowledge in nursing, ethics, and the medical sciences to develop and evaluate practices and models of patient care delivery.
  • Develop and evaluate effective strategies for managing ethical dilemmas presented across the health care, technology, and research fields.
  • Use analytic methods to design, implement, and evaluate best-practice models for patient care and care delivery.
  • Effectively develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to advance the field and systems of health care delivery.
  • Demonstrate leadership in the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and international health policy.
  • Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies in health care.
  • Advance the effective use of health care information systems to ensure high-quality outcomes.
  • Effectively lead quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.
  • Effectively communicate and collaborate with health care teams in developing and implementing organizational and practice models, health policy, and standards of care.
  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of health in complex situations, incorporating diverse approaches to design, implement, and evaluate interventions.
  • Advance the mission and core values of the University of San Francisco.

Progression

Any graduate student whose cumulative grade point average falls below a 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Students on academic probation who fail to raise their cumulative grade point average to 3.0 by the time they have completed the next six (6) semester hours of graduate work are subject to disqualification from the program. Any graduate student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 2.5 in any one (1) semester are also subject to disqualification. Students who earn two (2) failures (grade of B- or below in theory courses) or Unsatisfactory (grade of U in clinical or practica courses) are disqualified from the nursing program.

The University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions reserves the right to add, amend, or cancel any of its programs, regulations, rules, policies, and procedures, in whole or in part, at such time as it may choose and for any reason. None shall be construed as, operate as, or have the effect of an abridgment or limitation of any rights, powers, or privileges of the University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in the publications. Students are advised, however, that such information is subject to change without notice and they should consult with the Office of the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions for current information. Information in this Publication does not constitute a contract between the University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions and a student or an applicant for submission.

Graduate Progression

  • Any graduate student who earns less than a “B-” in any post-licensure graduate course or a “U” (Unsatisfactory) in a post-licensure practicum course must repeat the course earning a "B-" or better or an “S” (Satisfactory). If a student fails to earn a “B-” or “S” in a repeated course, they are disqualified from the program.
  • If a graduate student has two (2) course failures, the student will be disqualified from the program.
  • If more than one (1) Unprofessional Conduct Advisory (UCA) is issued to a graduate student, the student will be disqualified from the program.

DNP Program Options

Four (4) speciality options are available to those interested in pursuing the Doctor of Nursing Practice:

  • Executive Leadership (EL DNP): Masters-prepared nurse leaders seeking a practice doctorate with an executive leader focus | Learn More 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP FNP): Plans available for bachelor’s or master’s prepared nurses; bachelor’s prepared students can choose to complete a concurrent master’s degree in - Behavioral Health, Nursing, or Public Health. | Learn More
  • Population Health Leadership (PHL DNP): Master’s-prepared nurses seeking a practice doctorate with a population health focus. | Learn More
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (DNP PMHNP): Plans available for bachelor’s or master’s prepared nurses; bachelor’s prepared students can choose to complete a concurrent master’s degree in - Behavioral Health, Nursing, or Public Health. | Learn More

Course Shedules

Course schedules are designed to be responsive to the needs of the working nurse leader. Graduates of the program will meet the AACN outcome competencies and practice standards, including the completion of 1,000 hours of supervised-clinical practice, the successful passing of a comprehensive exam, and the completion of a DNP evidence-based practice project.

The Executive Leadership DNP program is offered at a boutique hotel in San Francisco. The Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner DNP programs are offered at USF’s Hilltop campus in San Francisco. The Population Health Leadership DNP program is offered at a distance with in-person requirements at USF’s Hilltop campus in San Francisco.

Learn more about each of USF’s DNP offerings via the links below:

ACCREDITATION

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at the University of San Francisco, School of Nursing and Health Professions are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

All concentrations of the DNP are included in the accreditation of the DNP degree program in the School of Nursing and Health Professions.

STATE AUTHORIZATION

USF is accepting applications for enrollment into online degree programs from residents in the following states: Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. Please check www.usfca.edu/state-auth for specific programs offered in these states.