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The Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) represents the highest level of preparation in nursing practice based on nursing science, and prepares leaders for nursing practice. This program builds upon the base of a Masters' Degree in Nursing Preparation in Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Clinical Nurse Specialty (CNS) programs and provides excellence of practice based on validations by standard sets of competencies in national certification processes and specialty credentials.

Course Description

The UCCS program is based upon the essential concepts of the DNP curriculum as approved by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in September 2005, and the accrediting body for DNP programs, the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The DNP program is offered as a post master's degree option and as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to DNP. The program builds upon and expands the competencies of the master's prepared Nurse Practitioner or BSN prepared nurse to improve health care access and quality of care in a variety of clinical settings. Students entering the post master's degree option must be nationally certified as an Advanced Practice Nurse. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to DNP offers the BSN graduate a path to a clinical terminal degree in nursing, along the way the student will take the usual core MSN courses, NP specialty courses, and the DNP core. The student will receive a DNP and be eligible to sit for a national nurse practitioner certification exam upon completion of their course work. The DNP received accreditation by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in 2010.

This transition period is necessary to ensure multiple entry points into practice-focused doctoral programs and allows advanced practice nurses (APNs) currently practicing as NPs or CNSs an opportunity to earn a practice doctorate.

DNP Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the DNP program, the graduate will be able to:
  • Function in an advanced practice role at the highest level of professional practice to provide healthcare for specific vulnerable, at risk and/or rural populations and to participate in interprofessional teams to provide and improve population based health care.
  • Demonstrate expertise in DNP advanced practice guided by Programmatic Essentials of the DNP. Be expert in the core competencies of the DNP program including critical thinking, communication, ethical/legal/political skills and clinical expertise to care for diverse populations within the healthcare system. Participate and apply clinical scholarship and analytic methods of EBP in health care settings.
  • Demonstrate expert leadership within clinical and organizational settings to identify emerging trends, policy, and/or programmatic efforts to address clinical issues. Develop skills to assume leadership role for intra-professional and inter-professional collaboration and communication to improve patient and population based health outcomes. Includes Provider of Care, Designer/ Manager/ Coordinator of Care and Leader within the healthcare system.
  • Demonstrate professionalism and its values (including altruism, autonomy, human dignity, social justice, and integrity) as a doctorally prepared advance practice nurse.