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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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.

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 available as a post-masters’ program or as a BSN-DNP. 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 35 to 38 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 scholarly capstone project.

Areas of Focus

Advanced Nursing Practice: The Advanced Nursing Practice Nursing (ANP) focus prepares ANPs 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.

Executive Leadership Focus: The Executive 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 Outcomes

  • Use epidemiologic and other scientific findings from nursing and other clinical disciplines, as well as organizational, political, and economic sciences, to develop practice initiatives that will improve the quality of care delivery.
  • Provide organizational and systems leadership to develop care delivery models that are fiscally responsible and demonstrate sensitivity to diverse organizational cultures and patient populations.
  • Engage in clinical scholarship to evaluate the effectiveness of evidence-based efforts in the planning and practice of health care program delivery to individuals and communities.
  • Use healthcare informatics and technology to improve patient safety and clinical outcomes.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals, consumers, and other stakeholders to influence health policy and health promotion/disease prevention endeavors at the local, state, federal, and/or international levels that improve patient and population health outcomes.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition: $805 per credit hour
Fees: $45 per course comprehensive fee


Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097
404.679.4500 • fax: 404.679.4556

Contact Information

Dr. Sherill Cronin, RN-BC, Professor and Chair
Graduate Studies in Nursing
502.272.8149, 800.274.4723 x8149 or

Julie Armstrong-Binnix,
Graduate Admission Officer
502.272.8364, 800.274.4723 x8364

Bellarmine University | 2001 Newburg Rd, Louisville KY, 40205 | 502.272.8131 | 800.274.4723

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