Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Details
On October 25, 2004, the members of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing which was brought forward by the Task Force on the Practice Doctorate. AACN member institutions voted to move the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice from the master’s degree to the doctorate level by the year 2015.
AACN’s position statement calls for educating Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs)and other nurses seeking top clinical roles in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. The changing demands of this nation’s complex health care environment require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure high quality patient outcomes. The practice doctorate is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice, and offers an alternative to research focused doctoral programs (i.e. PhD programs).
The Doctor of Nursing Practice at Bellarmine is a post-master’s program. You may select one of two DNP tracks: one designed for the advanced practice nurse, focused on the healthcare of individuals, and one designed for those interested in leadership at the system and/or organizational level. Total credit hours for the program range from 33 to 36 hours, depending on the track you select.
The curriculum consists of core courses, which all students take, and specialty-specific courses. Core content includes topics such as research and evidence-based practice, quality improvement and patient safety, clinical informatics, advanced statistics, health care economics and financing, and domestic and global health policy. In addition, all students complete a practice immersion and residency experience which will culminate with portfolio
development and a capstone project.
Areas of Focus
Advanced Practice Nursing Focus: The Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) focus prepares APNs to function more effectively in the increasingly complex health care system. Given the expansion of scientific knowledge required for safe nursing practice and the growing focus on the quality of patient care delivery and outcomes, this track will provide students with the specialized knowledge and skills needed by today’s practitioner. Students in this track will use their existing understanding of the practice context to document practice trends, identify potential systemic changes, and make improvements in the care of particular patient populations in the systems within which they practice.
Advanced Leadership Focus: The Advanced Leadership focus prepares students for advanced specialty practice at the population, organizational, and/or system level. Given the increasingly complex health care environment, this track will provide students with the specialized knowledge and skills needed by today’s nursing leaders. Students in this track will use their existing understanding of the practice leadership context to identify aggregate health or system needs, work with diverse stakeholders for inter- or intraorganizational achievement of health-related goals, and design patient-centered care delivery systems.
Program Admission Requirements
Admission to the DNP program requires approval by the Graduate Nursing Admission, Progression, and Graduation Committee. Admission of applicants is based upon the following criteria:
- Complete and sign the application.
- Submit a non-refundable application fee of $40 (fee waived for Bellarmine University alumni).
- MSN from a CCNE or NLNAC accredited nursing program.
- Minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA for graduate work is required.
- If your undergraduate degree is from an international institution, you were born outside the United States, or English is your second language, you will be required to submit an official TOEFLiBT (internet-based test) score and receive a total score of 83 or higher and a 26 or higher on the speaking test. We will also consider an equivalent score on the IELTS or MELAB tests. If you desire to request a TOEFL waiver, you must submit a written request to the Nursing Admission, Progression and Graduation Committee. The Nursing Admission, Progression and Graduation Committee reserves the right to require a TOEFL from any applicant.
- Final official transcript(s) from each college or university attended should be mailed to the Office of Graduate Admission and not be marked “Issued to Student”. If any transcript(s) or undergraduate degrees(s) are from an international institution you must provide an official copy of a third party course by course credential evaluation. The following organizations offer this service and information regarding processes and fees available at: www.aacrao.org, www.wes.org, and www.ece.org. The Office of Graduate Admission reserves the right to request a certified copy of the original transcript(s).
- Three professional references (on form provided) addressing academic skills including oral and written communication, as well as clinical competence, from individuals who hold a masters or doctoral degree.
- Goal statement – See below.
- Current CV or resume, describing relevant work, professional, and volunteer experiences.
- Proof of active, unrestricted license to practice nursing in Kentucky and/or compact states.
- Completed verification of post-baccalaureate clinical and practice hours form.
- Graduate level statistics course within 5 years of projected program start date.
- Mail your completed and signed application to: Bellarmine University, Office of Graduate Admission, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40205.
After initial review of applications, applicants may be contacted for an interview with graduate faculty members. Because enrollment is limited in the DNP track, meeting the minimum requirements may not assure admission. DNP students will be required to have ready access to a computer, printer and Internet service provider that has high speed DSL or broadband Internet access and should possess moderate information technology skills.
In addition to meeting the requirements for admission, please submit the following:
U.S. law requires financial statements from a bank or other financial institution certifying the student’s ability to fund the cost of attendance for one academic year minus the amount of any scholarship dollars received. Figures should be in U.S. dollars and must be certified as an official document by the bank or financial institution. A sponsor may be used if the sponsor attaches a signed affidavit stating that he/she will financially support the student until completion of a degree at Bellarmine University. If a sponsor is used, the sponsor’s bank statement should accompany the letter. The amount that would need to be shown for the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program would be $31,782. This amount includes tuition and fees associated with the program and an average cost for living expenses, books, supplies, health insurance, transportation and personal expenses.
Your goal statement should include responses to the following:
- What are your professional goals and how will the DNP help you attain them? (Limit 250 words)
- What strengths do you possess that would contribute to your success in the program and to a community of interprofessional scholars? (Limit 250 words)
- Identify one or two topics/areas that you would like to explore as part of the DNP program (e.g., quality improvement initiative, evidence-based practice guideline, new model care, policy analysis) and your preliminary plans for approaching them. (Limit 500 words)
DNP Program Cost
Graduate Tuition Rates
For information on financial aid, click here.
All applications and correspondence relevant to admission should be directed to:
Office of Graduate Admission
Allen Hall, 4th Floor
2001 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205