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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Influence the future of nursing care with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Bellarmine University

Why earn your DNP online at Bellarmine?

The healthcare field is rapidly changing and healthcare needs leaders. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice who are interested in clinical leadership and nurse executive positions.  The DNP offers an alternative to research focused doctoral programs (i.e. Ph.D. programs). The Doctor of Nursing Practice at Bellarmine is available as a post-master’s program or as a BSN-DNP.

The curriculum includes courses in 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 culminates with the DNP project.

Nursing student talking to instructor

NuRSING NEWS - one column news list and two col square blog post

Bellarmine honored for commitment to first-generation student success

Mar 2, 2021, 13:33 PM by Niki King
The Center for First-generation Student Success recognized Bellarmine as a national leader in supporting students who are the first in their family to go to college.


The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently included Bellarmine University in its 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes higher education institutions that have demonstrated a commitment to improving the experiences and advancing the outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.  

“First-gen Forward now recognizes and supports over 200 diverse institutions across three cohorts, all of which continue to lead the nation through their commitment to first-generation student success,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success. “We are pleased to welcome Bellarmine for its long-term commitment and demonstrated strategies for advancing first-generation student initiatives.”  

Nearly 30 percent of Bellarmine’s students are the first in their family to go to college. Bellarmine supports them through numerous initiatives guided by the Student Success Center, in collaboration with the Student Success Task Force and other campus partners focusing on student retention. 

A major initiative is the Pioneer Scholars Program, which assists first-generation students in adjusting to the social and academic challenges of college life. Pioneer Scholars take a class their first year at Bellarmine. The program includes peer mentoring, academic success initiatives, community-building, resource- and transition-focused programming, mental health and wellness sessions, equity and inclusion workshops, career development and more.  

“We have two primary goals of Pioneer Scholars. The first is to create an inclusive network of faculty, staff and peers so that first-generation students develop a sense of belonging on our campus,” said Kim Kerns, assistant dean of Academic Enrichment. “The second is to help students identify and effectively utilize campus resources, policies and opportunities designed to support their individualized needs throughout their college transition.”  

In years past, Bellarmine awarded between 20 and 40 Pioneer Scholar Book Scholarships (depending on funding). Now, with Bellarmine’s OnCourse program, which provides books to all students at the start of each semester, Bellarmine is exploring ways to mitigate other financial barriers for first-gen students. 

Bellarmine also established the “I’m First” Community, a group of more than 100 first-generation faculty and staff who have opted in to helping first-generation students in various ways.  

All first-generation students receive a special graduation cord.  

Bellarmine Admissions offers first-gen students and their families extra support through the application process, while the Student Success Center deploys targeted services if first-generation students fall behind.   

“We are so grateful to be recognized in the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort,” said Dr. Paul Gore, Bellarmine’s vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost. “Promoting the success of all students with an emphasis on college access and affordability is a pillar of our university’s strategic plan. This recognition honors the hard work of our faculty and student success staff who are committed to our plan and our institutional ideals.”  

Through the First-gen Forward program, Bellarmine faculty and staff will engage with peer institutions through opportunities such as the First-gen Forward Workshop slated for June, monthly calls, virtual professional development, goal setting and more.  

After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the advisory leadership designation.  

Blueblock - Alumni Story

Missi, Pam '16 Profile

“I am forever grateful to Bellarmine University for the doctoral education I experienced while obtaining a Doctorate in Nursing Executive Practice. From the moment I reached out for information on the DNP program, Bellarmine faculty and staff were extremely helpful and collaborative. The program is strategically structured and provides the doctoral student with the tool kit to be successful. Bellarmine truly sets the bar for academic excellence and achievement.”

Pamela Missi, DNP '16; Chief Nursing Officer

Tabs and Filters - DNP Projects

Dr. Marguerite Burch - Implementation of a Delirium Protocol in a Community Living Center
Dr. Julia Senn-Reeves - Early Identification of Frailty Predictors in a Vowed Religious Community of Catholic Men: A Strategy for Successful Aging in Place
Dr. Kim Anna - World Health Organization Decision Making Tool: Can we Increase IUD Use?
Dr. Trena Seago - Failure-to-Rescue Simulations as a Risk Management Strategy for Registered Nurses
Dr. Missy Stober - Advanced Disease Management in Home Health: Palliative Care Integration
Dr. Brittney Welch - Changing Healthcare Policy by Utilizing Kingdon’s Policy Stream
Dr. Mary Ellen Broaddus - Demonstration Project to Address Juvenile Drug Addiction
Dr. Ellee Humphrey - Implementing an Evidence-Based Education Program for Labor and Delivery Nurses in a community Hospital Setting
Dr. Holli Roberts - Developing a Nursing Peer Review Program for Nurse Leaders
Dr. Janel Willingham - Text Messaging Appointment Reminders to Increase Patient Appointment Adherence on a Mobile Unit Within a Prevention and Wellness Program
Dr. Kelly Johnson - Sentinel Event Management Model: A Performance Improvement Project
Dr. Gayle Mink - Reducing Benzodiazepine Use in the Treatment of Anxiety in a Community Mental Health Setting
Dr. Pam Missi - Enhancing Nurse-Physician Communication and Collaboration
Dr. Kathy Rose - Implementation and Evaluation of a Charge Nurse Development Project Bundle
Dr. Anna Laura Trimbur - Telephone Follow-up for Heart Failure Patients Discharged to Skilled Nursing Facilities
Dr. Teresa Vincent - Implementation of TeamSTEPPS in the Operating Room
Dr. Teena Darnell - Prevalence of School Nurses in Kentucky and Student Outcomes
Dr. Shirl Johnson - A Pilot Study of the Impact of a Pulmonary Clinical Decision Unit on Patient Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Dr. Colleen Knoop - Gap in Patient Expectations in Deep Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Dr. Carol Payton - Use of a Peanut Ball to Decrease Length of First & Second Stages of Labor
Dr. Lahoma Prather - A Post Discharge Support Program for Patients Experiencing Psychological Non-Epileptic Seizures: A Pilot Project
Dr. Sally Sturgeon - Strangulation Assessment, Evidence Collection, and Documentation Guidelines for Forensic Nurse Examiners: A Pilot Project

Contact Information

Heather Owens, PhD, Assistant Professor and Chair, Graduate Studies in Nursing
502.272.8101 or

Julie Armstrong-Binnix, Assistant Dean of Graduate Admission
502.272.8364, 800.274.4723 x8364 or

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