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  Nov 20, 2017
 
 
    
Graduate Record 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Doctor of Nursing Practice


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History and Philosophy

The University of Virginia School of Nursing opened the first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in Virginia in 2007 in response to the demands of contemporary health care associated with increasing complexity in the health care system, expansion of scientific knowledge, and growing concerns regarding the quality of patient care delivery and outcomes. The program was initially for master’s-prepared nurses with specialty practice. In 2013, a post-baccalaureate pathway for BSN or generalist MSN nurses to move directly from an initial specialty MSN curriculum into the DNP program. The UVa program, fully accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), supports the vision for transformational change in education for professional nurses who practice at the most advanced level. The American Association for Colleges of Nursing (AACN) position statement on the DNP degree recommends that nurses practicing at the highest level should receive doctoral-level preparation. More recently, the Institute of Medicine statement on the Future of Nursing recommends that nurses achieve higher levels of education and training to meet the increasing demands of contemporary health care.

The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/dnp/pdf/essentials.pdf), developed by the AACN, provide guidelines for DNP programs and to serve as a basis for accreditation of programs. The DNP Program at UVa was designed to meet these Essentials. The program encourages DNP students to tailor an individualized program using cognate courses from any School or department throughout the University.

Purpose

The purpose of the Doctor in Nursing Practice Degree is to prepare DNP students to:

  1. Perform at the highest level of nursing practice.
  2. Assume leadership roles in complex healthcare delivery systems.
  3. Critically appraise existing literature and other evidence in a specialty area to determine and implement best practices.
  4. Improve patient outcomes by expanding DNP student knowledge of evidence-based practice.

Program Objectives

Objectives for the proposed DNP program are derived from the AACN document, The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. At the completion of this program, students are expected to demonstrate the competencies required for the highest level of nursing practice. DNP graduates will be able to do the following:

  • Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice;
  • Demonstrate organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement in healthcare systems;
  • Apply clinical scholarship and analytical methods to evidence-based practice;
  • Use information systems technology and patient care technology to improve and transform health care;
  • Demonstrate leadership in health care policy for advocacy in health care;
  • Collaborate with interprofessional and intraprofessional teams to improve patient and population health outcomes.

Admission

Admission Requirements

Post-Master’s Pathway:

  • Have an MSN degree from a nationally accredited (CCNE or NLN) school.
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate and graduate study.
  • Have completed an intermediate-level course in statistics within the past 5 years.
  • Possess an unencumbered RN license in the state where you intend to do your clinical practica.
  • Have a valid certification in specialty nursing (NP, CNS, etc), if applicable, by the time of entry into the program.
  • Submit three satisfactory academic and professional recommendations.
  • Submit a current resume or CV.
  • Send official transcripts for all post-secondary study.
  • Be available for an interview if requested.
  • International applicants have additional requirements.

Post-Baccalaureate Pathway:

Admission to the School of Nursing is competitive and based on evaluation of all portions of the application. To be considered for the Doctor in Nursing Practice, applicants must submit a completed application and:

  • Have a BSN or generalist MSN degree from a nationally accredited (CCNE or NLNAC) school.
  • Have at least 2 years of full-time RN experience in a relevant area.
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate and graduate study.
  • Have completed an intermediate-level course in statistics within the past 5 years.
  • Possess an unencumbered RN license in the US and be eligible for RN certification in Virginia
  • Submit three satisfactory academic and professional recommendations.
  • Submit a current resume or CV.
  • Send official transcripts for all post-secondary study.
  • Be available for an interview if requested.
  • International applicants have additional requirements.

Admission Procedure Applications are submitted online from the SON website: http://nursing.virginia.edu/admissions/ with a November 1 deadline.

Degree Requirements

To earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, the post-MSN pathway student must successfully complete the prescribed plan of study, including 11 didactic courses, a minimum of 504 DNP practicum hours, and a DNP Scholarly Practice Project.

Full-Time Course Load All students receiving financial assistance are required to be full-time (12 credits) every semester and six credits during the summer, when applicable. A student’s plan of study is determined in collaboration with his or her faculty advisor. GNUR 9998 (Doctoral Research—with the DNP Program Director) may be taken concurrently with other course work to bring the total number of credits up to 12. Credits from GNUR 9998 are not counted in the total program hours of credit.

Length of Time in Program MSN-DNP students must be enrolled and pay full tuition and fees for at least four semesters and one summer; six semesters and two summers for post-baccalaureate DNP students. Post-baccalaureate students must be enrolled and pay full tuition and fees for at least seven semesters and two summers. All requirements for the degree must be completed within seven years of the time of admission to the program.

Transfer of Credit Transcripts of students who have completed a master’s degree in nursing or other graduate work are evaluated, and credit may be transferred if assessed as equivalent to courses offered at the University of Virginia. Acceptance of specific cognate and elective courses is determined by the student’s faculty advisor. Acceptance of core courses is determined by the instructor(s) who teach the course(s) in collaboration with the faculty advisor. The process of obtaining transfer credit must be initiated by the student before the end of the first year of study.

Program Description


Courses


The post-master’s portion of the DNP program requires a minimum of 40 credits, including DNP practica, and is designed to enable the student to meet the DNP Essentials and Competencies found in the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Pratice. These courses provide conceptual and theoretical basis required for all DNP graduates, and practice change competency necessary for effective leadership at the highest level of evidence based practice.

In addition to the DNP courses below, the post-baccalaureate pathway requires courses pursuant to the MSN track:

Courses:

Practica


DNP students need a minimum of 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate practice experience to achieve the DNP competencies. This addresses the AACN requirement for 1000 hours of clinical practice for DNP. It is anticipated that most MSN-DNP students will come to the DNP Program with at least 500 supervised clinical practice hours from their specialty master’s program. If their program did not require 500 hours, students will need to schedule additional practicum hours to meet the 500 hour MSN-level clinical hours expectation. 

Scholarly Practice Project


The DNP program culminates in the successful completion of a 6 credit Scholarly Practice Project. This DNP Project is conceptualized in the early stages of the program and continues throughout the program. The DNP Project is designed by the student in collaboration with the DNP Advisor and DNP Practice Mentor. The DNP Project must be a significant, evidence-based contribution to nursing practice and be suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed, practice-focused nursing journal. Examples of DNP Projects include: quality improvement or practice change project, program needs assessment, evidence-based program development, evaluation of an existing program, development of an assessment or therapeutic protocol, or a cost/benefit analysis of program models. Through this DNP Project, students are intended to demonstrate synthesis of scientific knowledge in their specialty practice area and contribute to existing nursing knowledge.

Electives


Some semesters of the program are lighter than others. During the lighter semesters, students are encouraged to enroll in courses offered across Grounds to enhance their education and practice goals.

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