WCSU Graduate Catalog 2023-2024

Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online Degree)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online Degree)

Doreen Graham, Advanced Practice Coordinator, WH 220T Phone: (203) 837-8965
Jeanette Lupinacci, Nursing Chair, WH 221A Phone: (203)837- 8570
Terri-Ann Rago, Dept. Secretary, WH 221 Phone: (203) 837-8556
Fax: (203) 837-8550
Website DNP


Faculty:  E. Abate; D. Bennett; K. Bridges; D. Brown; E. Campbell;  P. Cumella; L. Dalessio; M. Doherty; D. Graham; J. Lupinacci; J. Ort; B. Padykula; J. Palladino; B. Piscopo; T. Puckhaber; C. Rice; M. Sousa; L. Warren.


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is designed for advanced practice nurses who wish to seek a terminal degree in nursing practice that is not research or educational focused. According to the AACN the DNP is an academic degree not a role that allows graduate nurses to define, explore and translate research into practice at the bedside. This program will prepare the DNP graduate in both quantitative and qualitative research, evidence-based practice, foundations of policy and practice design, and implementation of practice initiatives that can advance translational healthcare practices and services to significantly impact the delivery of healthcare services within communities. The DNP focuses on understanding research and applying it to practice. Rather than completing a dissertation, DNP students typically complete a DNP project that evaluates a health care program or identifies clinical strategies for improving quality control and patient care.

The DNP program builds on the core values of Western Connecticut State University nursing department mission statement. The university mission states: Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. The department of nursing mission is aimed at preparing beginning and advanced nurses to meet the ever-changing health care needs of Connecticut and the surrounding region.

The DNP is aimed at preparing advanced practice nurses to meet the societal and global changes of health care, while fostering the growth of individuals, scholars and professionals in their pursuit of lifelong learning. This is achieved through a student-centered curriculum that addresses the diverse needs of both students and the community through scholarship, research and clinical opportunities servicing the public and the profession. This maintains commitment to a caring culture with respect to our patients, students and practice partners.

Students that would enroll in this program include advanced practice registered nurses who have completed their studies within a practice domain and wish to obtain a practice doctorate specific to their field of study. This may include population foci in adult/gerontology, family, acute, and psychiatric nursing practice. Entry into the program may include APRN’s that have just recently graduated from study or have been in practice for many years. An online format will be used to continue to work while pursuing an advanced degree. Coursework that may have been taken in other colleges would need to be evaluated by the course coordinator on a case-by-case basis to evaluate transfer credits into the program.

Admission Requirement for Post Masters Applicants: Applications for admission to the D.N.P. program are made through the Office of Graduate Admissions. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work with the graduate application fee. Admission to the DNP program is selective. Candidates must have earned a Master of Science in nursing degree from a recognized accrediting agency, hold a current RN and APRN license. Applicants must have at least 2 years of clinical practice as an APRN prior to entry into the DNP program. At the time of application, candidates must provide a resume, one professional letter of recommendation and an essay. All applications must be received by March 1. Admission decisions will be made by the DNP subcommittee.

Because of the nature of the clinical experiences and regulations of various clinical agencies utilized in the nursing program, all nursing students are required to adhere to departmental policies in addition to the immunizations required of all university students. This information may be obtained directly from the department.

In addition to the above-stated health requirements, students must meet any additional requirements identified by a clinical-affiliating agency, including a criminal background check. Clinical agencies reserve the right to refuse clinical placement to students who do not pass the background check.

All students must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a health-care provider prior to entering clinical course and must maintain current certification to be eligible to attend clinical experience. In addition, students are required to carry an advanced practice student malpractice insurance policy while in clinical courses.

Application Deadlines: All applications will be required to be submitted by March 1st.

Admission Categories

Students will be admitted to the program based on their ability to meet the following requirements.

Post Masters Applicants:

o Have earned a master’s degree from an accredited college or university

o Have a current RN and APRN license

o Minimum of 3.0 GPA or higher

o Personal statement of reasons for applying

o One professional letter of reference

Other Required Documents

Student will need to provide documentation of the following prior to the start of clinical.

· CPR certification

· Background check, drug testing if requested

· Immunization status (MMR, varicella, Hepatitis B, PPD); any agency vaccination as required

· Possible Malpractice Insurance

Program Overview: The Doctor of Nursing practice (DNP) degree was adopted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to meet the societal, scientific and professional practice needs of today’s health care. The DNP degree represents the highest level of specialty clinical nursing practice.

· The DNP program will prepare advanced practice nurses to be clinical leaders who will be able to appraise evidence and facilitate the use of EBP and influence health care

outcomes. The DNP graduate will provide accountable quality health care with use of emerging technologies, to improve patient and organizational outcomes. The DNP graduate will implement and influence health policy, provide collaboration and leadership, in multiple global health environments.

· The Doctor of Nursing Practice in clinical preparation prepares advanced practice nurses for leadership positions in health care. The program requires a completion of 40 credits of specialized professional course work that is in line with the AACN’s essentials of doctoral education for advanced practice. The courses are organized to meet the 8 essentials of doctoral education, while enforcing the Advance Practice Nurse Competencies (Appendix A):

· Degree Requirements: Student will complete a sequence of clinical and course components including approximately 500 hours of clinical practicum experiences to meet the preparatory requirements for a DNP project and the demands of a doctorate in clinical practice. 

· This program is designed for part-time study, with courses offered online with yearly intensives for peer collaboration, participation and fraternization. Part time studies will require approximately two years to completion of the degree.

· Clinical Hours: In accordance with the AACN DNP Essentials, students need to have a minimum of 1,000 hours post-baccalaureate supervised clinical practice hours to achieve DNP competencies. Students will complete the number of hours to have a total of 1000 hours, which includes their clinical time completed in their master’s program. Post master’s students will be required to submit a letter from their master’s degree program that indicates how many hours they have completed in their master’s program. Clinical hours will be met through direct and indirect clinical hours. Indirect clinical hours are practical experiences that include: translation of research in to evidence, system leadership, business management, understanding technology, health care policy, and quality and risk management. Clinical oversite will be monitored and evaluated by faculty who are board certified APRN ANP/CNS with an earned doctorate degree.

Grade Requirements and Consequences for Failure to Make Progress: Successful progression towards the completion of the DNP is determined by student performance in courses for which they are registered. Graduate students in nursing are subjected to the standards for academic status set forth in the graduate catalog of Western Connecticut State University. To be eligible for an advanced degree, a student’s cumulative grade point average must be at least a 3.0.

1. Graduate nursing students must maintain a “B” average in order to graduate from the program. Should a student achieve a grade below a “B-” in a course, that course must be repeated, and the student must achieve a grade of “B-” or above to progress in the program.

2. Excellence in performance is expected of students engaged in graduate study. The student who is unable to maintain a satisfactory grade point average may be asked to withdraw from graduate study.

3. Any graduate student whose cumulative graduate grade point average falls below 3.0 or “B” is automatically placed on academic probation. If, at the end of the following semester of enrollment, the student’s cumulative grade point average increases but remains below 3.0, the student may be continued on terminal academic probation for a maximum of one additional semester. At the end of that semester, the student must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average or be dismissed from the division by the academic dean of the student’s for unsatisfactory academic performance. Semesters include fall, intersession, spring and summer.

Required Courses:

Year One

NUR 820: Scientific Foundations of Nursing Practice (3 S. H.) and NUR 826 Health Care Policy and Ethics (3 S. H., 30 clinical hours)

NUR 828: Qualitative Research (3 S. H.)

NUR 830 Quantitative Research (3 S. H.) and NUR 829: Quality, Risk Management and use of Biostatistics (3 S. H., 40 clinical hours)

NUR 827: Leadership in Health Care Organizations (3 S. H., 30 clinical hours)

NUR 822: Business and Health Care Technology (3 S. H., 30 clinical hours)

Year Two

NUR 821: Analysis of the Literature and NUR 825 Epidemiology (3 S. H.)

NUR 823: Chronic Health Care/Vulnerable Populations (4 S. H., 100 clinical hours)

NUR 824: Community Health and Population Health (4 S. H., 100 clinical hours)

NUR 831: Project Seminar (6 S. H., 160 clinical hours)

Grading criteria: Graduate nursing students must maintain a B average in order to graduate from the program. Should a student achieve a grade below a B- in a course, that course must be repeated and the student must achieve a grade of B- or better to progress in the program.

Department of nursing grades are assigned as follows:

A = 92 – 100 B- = 80-82 D+ = 68-70

A- = 89 – 91 C+ = 77-79 D = 64-67

B+= 86- 88 C = 74-76 D- = 63-60

B = 83- 85 C- = 71-73 F = Below 60

The following represent the Doctor of Nursing Program outcomes:

The DNP graduate will be able to do the following:

· Integrate the foundations of nursing practice into scholarly endeavors, practice and health care delivery. (Essential I, III)

· Evaluate and employ principles of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) care to meet the needs of current and future patient populations. (Essential II, III)

· Evaluate and implement analytical methods to apprise and develop EBP care to provide safe, timely, ethical and effective patient centered care. (Essential II, III,IV)

· Analyze health care technology for accuracy, timeliness, feasibility that is financially responsible for health care organizations and population health needs. (Essential III, IV)

· Demonstrate leadership in knowledge and implementation of health care policy, advocacy and ethical care for global populations. (Essential V)

· Lead interprofessional teams in the analysis of complex patient and health care issues while maintaining cultural competency. (Essential IV,VI)

· Synthesize concepts from various disciplines (epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental) for health promotion and disease prevention for diverse populations. (Essential IV, VI, VII, VIII)

· Design and implement comprehensive approaches and therapeutic interventions for health promotion and disease prevention for diverse and global populations. (Essential IV,V, IV,VII, VIII)