Our Graduates and Students

Our students and graduates are prepared at the doctoral level to lead inter-professional teams of individuals that collectively care for patients and populations. The DNP Executive Leader brings a macro-level perspective to the table. There are several roles that the DNP Nurse Leader can assume, to name a few:

There's no better way to learn about our graduate programs than from the students themselves. 
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Testimonials from our Current Students and Graduates


Sandra Gregg, ELDNP GraduateThe ELDNP program has reinvigorated my passion for excellence in nursing practice and for life-long learning. I found the content to be relevant and presented in a manner that optimized my learning. The faculty in the program guided and encouraged me to stretch throughout the program. I have been treated with respect and professionalism by each of my instructors and was eager to graduate so that they were no longer my “professors,” but rather “colleagues and friends.” I know this is a direct reflection on the leadership and the talented faculty that USF have invited to be the foundation of the program.

Sandra Gregg, Class of 2015
Senior Director, Community Partnerships
Project: A Population Health Approach for Community Health Improvement


Keith Ellison, ELDNP GraduateMy education at USF prepared me to assess data quality and generate evidence to help clinicians safely use medications when treating patients. I was recently selected to be the medical lead for a drug that treats patients with advanced basel cell carcinoma (Erivedge). My promotion is the first time a nurse has been selected to be the US Medical Affairs lead for a medication. Historically, these roles have only been filled by physicians and PharmDs. If I had not obtained my doctorate, I am 100% positive that I would not have been eligible for this promotion. In fact, my article that I wrote and published as part of my DNP qualifications came up several times during my interviews for this role.

Keith Dawson, Class of 2012
Senior Medical Science Director, Adjunct Faculty - Executive Leadership DNP*
Project: Adoption of Innovation: Impact of Rituximab (Rituxan®) Faster Infusion on Oncology Nurse; Perceptions, Practice, and Resource Utilization


Pidge Gooch, ELDNP GraduateI chose USF because of the outstanding reputation of the university, the motto “Change the world from here” and the commitment to social justice as a tenet of the institution. Additionally, the program is designed for working professionals with an in person schedule that is realistic and coursework that is challenging, relevant to my job, and meaningful. The program was an excellent adjunct to help me focus my learning on orienting to my new position and understanding my role in the macro environment I am now leading in. I went from the perspective of one service area with three sites of responsibility to 21 sites, plus regional operations. The faculty at USF and the colleagues in my cohort have enriched my exposure to other models of care, philosophies, and thought processes. I have enjoyed every moment of this fast-paced program. I can hardly believe how quickly the time has passed. I have made friends for life with my cohort and my entire life is more satisfying because of my experience at USF.

Pidge G. Gooch, MSN RN CENP - Current Student
Executive Director Of Regional Patient Care Services Operations*
Project: Project will focus on development of a mentoring program for nurse executives in a large health system.


Michael D Francisc, current ELDNP studentHaving a cohort model with in-person intensive weekend learning is unique to this program and makes a huge difference in my style of learning. I currently am employed by a large integrated healthcare system in Northern California as a nursing education and practice consultant for the adult service lines. My role focuses on regulatory drivers which may require education for the clinical staff and work flow changes which require the integration of policy, procedures, changes in physician orders, and any education that may be needed for 21 acute care medical centers. The program has helped me recognize the value of micro, meso, and macro thinking in my current role. It has also helped me focus on the extended use of research to drive changes in our nursing practice. The faculty within the program are extremely helpful especially during the weekend intensive learning sessions as well as experts in their areas of specialty. Practicum hours were all completed within the facilities through the healthcare system which made it achievable with my busy work schedule.

Michael D. Francis, MS, BSN, RN, Current Student
Clinical Education and Nursing Practice Consultant, Adult Services (Patient Care Services)*
Project: Identified through a gap analysis in my area of clinical education with an evidence based practice approach.


Courtnay Caufield, School of Nursing and Health Professions, University of San FranciscoI chose this program because it is in alignment with AONE and ACNL framework and competencies of leadership. The program offers relevant topics and education to enhance your knowledge in the ever-changing world of healthcare. The courses are extremely relevant to my daily work. In this program, it is not positioned to approach courses as “check boxes” to mark off towards a terminal degree, yet objectives that are critical to learn and areas for development in relation to healthcare today. I appreciate the opportunity to focus on Leadership development and work that will benefit me in my current and future roles. This program is not exclusive to VPs and or Chief executives, but rather those who are in these positions and those who wish to be someday. The faculty in the ELDNP Program really work to meet us where we are and are extremely flexible and supportive. As a lifelong learner, this “Terminal Degree” sits well with my career goals and is truly an investment to change the world from here. I can’t say enough about the small cohort model. We get to know each other so well and I feel like I have gained new colleagues, friends and partners that I will carry with me throughout my career. It is great to have a friend to share the experience with and in this program, you gain many lifelong friends, quickly!

Courtnay Caufield, MSN,RN, CENP, NE-BC, CPN, Current Student
Associate Director, Pediatrics, PICU and Congenital Cardiac ICU
Recipient of the President's Award from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Project: Utilizing simulation to reduce harm, prevent mistakes and improve communication by partnering with patients and families for safety.

Contact Info

School of Nursing & Health Professions

Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

2130 Fulton St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 422-6681