Doctor of Nursing Practice
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed to prepare graduates in advanced practice nursing specialties for careers in clinical practice with diverse populations, organizational and systems leadership in health care systems, and clinical nursing education. The program produces advanced practice nurses with the skills to apply principles of population health outcomes and evidence-based practice for improvement and transformation of patient care to clinical situations as interprofessional team members. Graduates are leaders with expert knowledge of complex health problems who will lead and improve nursing practice in Worcester, the commonwealth, and beyond.
The DNP program provides students with advanced practice nursing leadership experiences throughout their course of study. The core and specialty coursework meets the standards established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The guidelines developed by the American Nurses Association including the Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses, Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, and Nursing’s Social Policy Statement are integrated into the curricula. The DNP program has a strong focus on interprofessional partnerships with the UMW School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Commonwealth Medicine, UMass Correctional Health, UMass Memorial Health Care and the greater Central Massachusetts community.
Pathways to the DNP
Post Master's Pathway to DNP for individuals with a master's in nursing as a nurse practitioner or nurse asministrator
GEP to DNP for individuals with a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing leading first to a master's degree then the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) Pathway. You must complete the pre-lincensure year of the GEP program.
Bachelor's to DNP Pathway for individuals with a bachelor's degree in nursing leading first to a master's degree with the family nurse practiitoner track then the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) Pathway.
Summary of Study
The program of study focuses on theory courses and residency experiences and represents a 40-credit curriculum: 22 credits of core courses including epidemiology, informatics, health policy, organizational systems, research and theory; and 18 specialty credits including residency courses, capstone project courses, and electives. Students are also required to successfully complete a professional portfolio. The DNP program is an academically challenging one; therefore, full-time work while in the program is not recommended.
The focus of the DNP residency courses is the development and refinement of leadership skills. Experiences enhance each student’s ability to apply theories, standards of practice and evidence-based research findings to the care of increasingly complex patients, leading to improved practice and health care delivery. Each student works with his/her faculty advisor to select a residency practicum site that facilitates the development of leadership skills and completion of the capstone project.
DNP Capstone Project
Each Doctor of Nursing Practice student is required to lead and complete a capstone project that translates research into clinical practice. No student is exempt from this requirement. The capstone project includes three courses or six credits for the development, implementation and evaluation of the project. The student conducts the capstone project under the mentorship of his/her faculty advisor. Each student is expected to do a DNP Capstone Presentation and to submit a scholarly paper to a peer-reviewed journal.
Professional DNP Portfolio
The focus of the professional DNP portfolio is to demonstrate the attainment of the DNP competencies established by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties or the American Organization of Nurse Executives through formative and summative documentation. Each student must successfully meet the requirements of their DNP Professional Portfolio prior to completing the DNP program.
Doctoral students are required to maintain continuous enrollment each semester, including the summer semester, until the program is completed. Students must pay the continuous program fee each semester if they have completed their course work but are still working on their capstone project. Failure to be properly enrolled will result in the student being withdrawn from the program.
Post Master's Nurse Practitioner Track
Post Master's Nursing Administration Track