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The College of St. Scholastica

Why Choose a DNP Degree?

Nurses who obtain a DNP degree are prepared to use quality improvement strategies to develop, implement, and sustain changes at organization and policy levels; use organization and systems leadership to improve health outcomes and patient safety; advocate for health care policy focused on social justice and equity; The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006) guides the curriculum and reflects an interdisciplinary design.

Fast Facts

  • A DNP degree for those with a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing
  • The DNP offers three specialties: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Family Nurse Practitioner; Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • A U.S. News & World Report ranked Best Nursing School
  • Two locations: Duluth and St. Cloud
  • Online with minimal on-campus requirements. This program can be completed in 4 years
  • Program credits: 79-83, depending on choice of specialty

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Degree Details

Tuition

Tuition: $899/credit*


* Tuition rates are for the 2021-22 academic year. Additional fees and costs for course materials may apply. Total program cost and completion time varies depending on transfer credits and individual program plans. Tuition rates are subject to change.

Program Overview

Our DNP degree focuses on nursing practice and leadership in both rural and urban underserved areas, where the need is the greatest. We’re also dedicated to providing opportunities to our students in the use of telecommunications technology, which can provide access to health professionals in areas that would otherwise not have coverage.

This is a rigorous program, preparing nurses to practice at the most advanced level of nursing care. While created for working nurses, this program requires a significant number of hours dedicated to your studies as you gain the information needed to become a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner.

Flexible Format

We understand that you can’t always take a couple of years off from work to go back to school. That’s why we’ve developed a curriculum that combines online and face-to-face courses to make our program accessible to nurses who are working professionals who may not live in the Duluth and St. Cloud, MN areas. Whenever possible, clinical experiences are arranged at appropriate sites near the student’s home.

Program Specialties

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners are acute and chronic disease expert practitioners within the adult and geriatric subspecialty. The AGACNP handles complex patients in a variety of acute care settings, including, but not limited to hospital medicine, intensive care, emergency room, and specialty care. The AGACNP is equipped to assess and treat the immediate acute health situation, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and develop treatment plans with the goal of stabilization and returning patients to an optimal level of health. Graduate preparation expands the comprehensiveness of the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner’s role to include use of research in evidence-based practice; development and implementation of health policy; leadership; education; case management; and consultation. Nurse practitioners, acute care or specialty physicians serve as preceptors.

Family Nurse Practitioner

The FNP specialty prepares nurses to be leaders who manage the primary health care needs of families from infancy through adulthood. A family-centered approach to health promotion, disease prevention, and intervention in illness responses of individuals is emphasized. Graduate preparation expands the comprehensiveness of the family nurse practitioner’s role to include use of research in evidence-based practice; development and implementation of health policy; leadership; education; case management; and consultation. Nurse practitioners and primary care or specialty physicians serve as preceptors.

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The PMHNP specialty prepares advanced practice nurses who are qualified to address the lifespan psychiatric-mental health needs of persons with serious mental illnesses, substance abuse problems, and/or common medical conditions related to psychiatric and/or substance abuse problems. Community mental health promotion as well as disease prevention and intervention are emphasized. Graduate preparation expands the comprehensiveness of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner’s role to include use of research in evidence-based practice; development and implementation of health policy; leadership; education; case management; and consultation. Nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, psychiatrists, and other licensed, advanced practice mental health professionals serve as preceptors.

Curriculum

Degree Overview

The Program of Study is full-time and completed in 4 years. Students are advised not to work more than 24 hours per week (0.6 FTE).

The BS to DNP degree offers the following specialties:

This advanced-practice nursing program is designed to guide nursing professionals in the development of a higher level of practice at the organizational and systems level to improve healthcare outcomes. The curriculum is based on the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006):

  • Scientific Underpinnings for Practice
  • Organizational and System Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking
  • Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice
  • Information System/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the improvement and Transformation of Health Care
  • Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care
  • Inter-professional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health outcomes
  • Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health
  • Advanced Nursing Practice

Learning Outcomes

Students in the BS to DNP program will be prepared to:

  • Synthesize knowledge and apply evidence-based research from nursing and related disciplines as a basis for advanced nursing practice across the lifespan.
  • Implement roles of advanced nursing practice responsive to changing social, economic, political, technological, and environmental conditions.
  • Apply skills in leadership on inter-professional teams to collaboratively improve patient and population health outcomes, particularly among rural and underserved.

Required Courses

HIF 6010 – Foundations Health Informatics

An introduction to the US healthcare system and the role of informatics. Examines clinical, research, and administrative applications of information technology applications used by healthcare professionals. The course will cover the history of the field, an introduction to clinical data, electronic health records, decision support systems, computerized order entry, and consumer applications.

MGT 6355 – Health Care Finance

The course will cover finance issues related to healthcare organizations. Topics include: reimbursement analysis, understanding the nature of costs, profitability analysis and preparation of budgets. The class will learn how to analyze financial statements. (Healthcare Leadership Concentration)

NSG 8110 – Introduction to the DNP

Provides a framework for DNP-prepared nurses to play a leading role in health care transformation, as well as the tools to make those changes. Topics covered during the course include nursing science and theory, evidence-based practice, leadership and interprofessional collaboration, nursing informatics, scholarly writing to promote change, emerging DNP roles such as the nurse educator, and the development of the DNP scholarly project. Provides students with the foundation necessary to enter into the highest level of advanced practice nursing and develop that practice for the benefit of both their patients and the health of the country and world.

NSG 8150 – Pathophysiology for Advanced Clinical Practice

Presents advanced concepts in human physiology, common deviations from normal body function and clinical manifestations of altered physiologic balance. Emphasis is on understanding and applying new knowledge in the analysis and evaluation of common clinical presentations encountered by the advanced practice clinician across the lifespan.

NSG 8201 – Clinical Project I

Integrate knowledge required to design, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based clinical practice change and/or healthcare system change that will positively impact population health. Students critically review literature and appraise evidence related to a clinical problem of interest and perform a needs assessment and organizational analysis of a potential project site. Clinical Experience Description: Provides the opportunity for students to obtain 150 hours towards the AACN requirement of 1,000 post-Baccalaureate hours of mentored clinical and/or organizational leadership experience. Students will integrate the DNP role through a variety of clinical practice experiences that meet the AACN Essentials. Clinical experiences align to individual professional goals in areas of leadership, business, policy, information technology, education, population health, and DNP project preparation.

NSG 8206 – Clinical Project II

Integrates knowledge required to design, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based clinical practice change and/or healthcare system change that will positively impact population health. This course focuses on the development of project methodology, implementation, and evaluation plans. Students will apply principles of outcomes research while refining, developing, completing, and defending the DNP clinical project proposal. The successfully defended proposal is followed by IRB application. Implementation of the project begins following IRB approval. Clinical Experience Description: Provides an opportunity for students to obtain 150 hours towards the AACN requirement of 1,000 post-Baccalaureate hours of mentored clinical and/or organizational leadership experience. Students will integrate the DNP role through a variety of clinical practice experiences related to the AACN Essentials. Clinical experiences align to individual professional goals in areas of leadership, business, policy, information technology, education, population health, and DNP project preparation.

NSG 8207 – Clinical Project III

Focuses on continued implementation, evaluation, completion, and final defense of an evidence-based clinical practice change and/or healthcare system change to positively impact population health. Students complete implementation and evaluation, analyze data, organize findings, and disseminate results in manuscript or poster format and in a podium presentation at a departmental project symposium. Students work independently under the guidance of a faculty chair, project team member, and agency sponsor to complete the final DNP project. Clinical Experience Description: Provides an opportunity for students to obtain 150 hours towards the AACN requirement of 1,000 post-Baccalaureate hours of mentored clinical and/or organizational leadership experience. Students will integrate the DNP role through a variety of clinical and/or organizational leadership experiences related to AACN Essentials. Clinical experiences align to individual professional goals in areas of leadership, business, policy, information technology, education, population health, and DNP project completion.

NSG 8213 – Evidence Based Practice & Health Outcomes

Prepares students with foundational skills and competencies for practice inquiry and the critical appraisal of evidence to improve health quality, safety, and outcomes. Emphasizes the essential elements of evidence-based practice, including formatting clinical questions in advanced practice nursing roles, searching and appraising evidence, integrating evidence into practice, and evaluating outcomes. Includes applying current theoretical models and research to clinical practice problems.

NSG 8215 – Lifespan Health Assessment

Advanced physical, psychological, social, and developmental skills necessary for advanced nursing practice with patients across the lifespan. Emphasizes principles and techniques of data collection, communication, and physical examination. Explores and applies health promotion concepts based on patient’s age, culture, and setting. Explores basic laboratory and diagnostic procedures. Lab meetings required.

NSG 8323 – Quality Improvement

Examines the fundamental concepts of quality improvement (QI) and the role QI has on the quality and safety of health care systems and patient outcomes. Explores methods, models, and tools used to evaluate practice variation and minimize risk of harm.

NSG 8605 – Theorizing Nursing Practice

A critical investigation of concepts, middle range theories, and family theories used in health promotion and disease prevention by advanced practice nurses to achieve improved health outcomes with clients and families.

NSG 8620 – Health Policy, Ethics & Law

Explore policies, laws, regulations, and ethical principles related to advanced practice nursing, population health, and patient care. Develop leadership competencies via practical exercises designed to teach students how to influence and impact social reform and policy change through advocacy.

NSG 8660 – Leadership in Health Care: Organizational Innovations

Integrates organizational and management theories within the context of change management processes and applies them to the delivery of nursing services in a variety of settings and systems. Analyzes the role of the advanced practice nurse at various levels of management and emphasizes the requisite core abilities of the DNP-prepared APRN. Investigates factors that affect dynamic changes in the health care system including delivery of nursing care.

NSG 8671 – Rural Health

Focuses on health care topics in rural America. The role of the Advanced Practice Nurse in the delivery of health care to rural populations is explored through technological advancements, interdisciplinary collaboration and ethical considerations.

NSG 8673 – Epidemiology and Population Health

Introduces concepts related to epidemiology and population health relevant to advanced nursing practice. Explores population-based health care principles of prevention, health maintenance and health promotion.

NSG 8674 – Biostatistics for the DNP

Provides an overview of biostatistical methods used by clinical practitioners to enhance the quality of healthcare practice. Focus is on common study designs in research used in evidence-based practice. Students will demonstrate an understanding of statistical principles, their use in assessing published practice evidence. Students will also gain knowledge on how to apply descriptive and inferential statistics to explore, analyze and disseminate health data.

NSG 8677 – Advanced Pharmacology

Focuses on the clinical application of advanced pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics across the lifespan for common disease conditions encountered in primary care settings. Uses a body systems approach and includes principles of altered pharmacodynamics related to age, race, and ethnicity. Explores principles of pharmacotherapeutics used by advanced practice nurses, including pharmacodynamics, client assessment, and decision-making processes for appropriate drug use, monitoring, and client education. Includes cost/benefit analysis of pharmacological intervention.

Concentrations

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

NSG 8683 – Primary Health Care Management II

Focuses on knowledge and skills necessary for prevention, diagnosis, and management of acute and chronic illnesses in adolescents, adults, older adults, and their families. Addresses underlying pathophysiologic and psychosocial bases for occurrence and detection with emphasis on management of common acute and chronic illnesses.

NSG 8684 – Advanced Practicum III: Adult

Practicum course that develops the competencies and clinical expertise necessary for nurse practitioner application of prevention and management skills for acute and chronic illnesses in adolescents, adults, older adults, and their families. 180 clinical hours.

NSG 8705 – Introduction to Acute Care Practice, Therapeutics & Diagnostics

NSG 8710 – Acute Care Adult Gerontology Management I

Focuses on competency in advanced pathophysiology, assessment, diagnosis, and management of acute, complex chronic illnesses or injury from the young adult to the frail elderly. Emphasis is placed on evidence-based guidelines, critical thinking, prioritization, and care coordination.

NSG 8712 – Acute Care Adult Gerontology Management II

Focuses on competency in advanced pathophysiology, assessment, diagnosis, and management of acute, critical, and/or complex chronic illnesses or injury from the young adult to the frail elder who may be physiologically unstable and highly vulnerable for complication. Emphasis is placed on collaborative intra and interprofessional relationships to promote optimal outcomes. To include simulated procedures.

NSG 8714 – Acute Care Adult Gerontology Management III

Focuses on competency in advanced pathophysiology, assessment, diagnosis, and management of acute, and critical illnesses or injury in the young adult to the frail elder who is physiologically unstable and technologically dependent with comorbid complication(s). Emphasis is placed on care that is directed to the highest acuity of the disease states encountered in acute and critical settings. Development of comprehensive, collaborative management plans is emphasized including performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

NSG 8715 – Acute Care Adult Gerontology Practicum I

NSG 8717 – Acute Care Adult Gerontology Practicum II

Practicum course that develops advanced competencies and clinical expertise necessary for nurse practitioner application in the management of acute, critical, and/or complex chronic illnesses or injury from the young adult to the frail elder who may be physiologically unstable and highly vulnerable for complication.

NSG 8719 – Acute Care Adult Gerontology Practicum III

Develops superior-level competencies and clinical expertise necessary for nurse practitioner application in the management of acute, and critical illnesses or injury in the young adult to the frail elder who is physiologically unstable and technologically dependent with comorbid complication(s). Emphasis is placed on care that is directed to the highest acuity of the disease states encountered in acute and critical settings. Develops comprehensive, collaborative management plans is emphasized including performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Includes simulated procedures.

NSG 8777 – Topics

Topics in Nursing.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

NSG 8323 – Quality Improvement

Examines the fundamental concepts of quality improvement (QI) and the role QI has on the quality and safety of health care systems and patient outcomes. Explores methods, models, and tools used to evaluate practice variation and minimize risk of harm.

NSG 8679 – PMH for Primary Care

Emphasis on the role of the primary care nurse practitioner in screening, assessing, diagnosing, and managing patients with common, uncomplicated psychiatric disorders, such as mood, anxiety, neurodevelopmental, neurocognitive, and substance use disorders. Collaborate with psychiatry providers in the management of more complex psychiatric disorders. Develops the knowledge and skills necessary to care for primary care patients services experiencing deviations in mental health across the lifespan. Prerequisites: Health Assessment, Pharmacology or equivalent.

NSG 8681 – Primary Healthcare Management I

Focuses on knowledge and skills necessary for prevention and management of common acute and chronic illnesses in infants to young adults. Addresses aspects of assessment, diagnosis, management, and evaluation of outcomes derived from pathophysiologic, psychosocial, spiritual, and developmental data.

NSG 8682 – Advanced Practicum I: Pediatrics and Family

Develops the competencies and clinical expertise necessary for nurse practitioner application of prevention and management skills for acute and chronic illnesses in infants to young adults. 180 clinical hours.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP): Adult and Family

NSG 8323 – Quality Improvement

Examines the fundamental concepts of quality improvement (QI) and the role QI has on the quality and safety of health care systems and patient outcomes. Explores methods, models, and tools used to evaluate practice variation and minimize risk of harm.

NSG 8520 – Assessment and Management of Psychiatric Disorders in Adults

Explores the diagnostic criteria and treatment modalities for major categories of psychiatric illness. Articulates and develops the content areas and competencies necessary for entry-level, advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nursing, including psychiatric interviewing, DSM-5 differential diagnosis, and comprehensive psychiatric assessment and holistic management of individual, adult clients with acute and chronic psychiatric disorders and/or common mental health problems.

NSG 8521 – Psychiatric Practicum I: Adults

Develops the competencies and clinical skills necessary for entry-level, advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nursing, including psychiatric interviewing, DSM-5 differential diagnosis, and comprehensive psychiatric assessment and holistic management of individual, adult clients with acute and chronic psychiatric disorders and/or common mental health problems. Develops additional competencies in mental health promotion/ disease prevention and psychoeducation, psychotherapy, and psychopharmacologic treatment. 135 clinical hours.

NSG 8550 – Assessment and Management of Psychiatric Disorders in Children/Adolescents

Explores the diagnostic criteria and treatment modalities for major categories of psychiatric illness related to children and adolescents. Cultivates and develops the content areas and competencies necessary for entry-level, advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nursing, including interviewing psychiatric patients and their families, DSM-5 diagnosis, comprehensive psychiatric assessment, and holistic management of patients and their families.

NSG 8551 – Psychiatric Practicum III: Child/Adolescent

Focuses on the development of skills necessary for holistic management of common psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. Emphasizes psychiatric evaluation using DSM 5 criteria and comprehensive care based on pathophysiologic, psychotherapeutic, spiritual, and developmental data. Includes psychoeducation as well as psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic approaches. Traditional and non-traditional community practice sites are used. 135 clinical hours.

NSG 8590 – PMHNP Transition to Practice

Further develops the role of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) as a holistic, direct provider of primary mental health care to psychiatric clients and their families across the lifespan. Focuses on content and processes necessary for the transition to independent practice including the requisite competencies, licensing and certification as an advanced practice provider, prescriptive authority, and adherence to mental health statutes and the profession’s code of ethics and standards of care.

NSG 8591 – Psychiatric Practicum IV: Practice Transition

Implements the role of psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner as a direct provider of primary mental health care to psychiatric clients and their families across the lifespan. Role components include integration of medical, nursing, and psychiatric interventions into a holistic plan of care; implementation of intervention strategies for at risk populations; and utilization of outcomes research in the delivery of primary mental health care including comprehensive psychiatric assessment, DSM-5 diagnosis, case formulation, medication management, laboratory monitoring, individual and/or group psychotherapy, and overall case management. 180 clinical hours.

NSG 8662 – Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Practice Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing

Introduces theories, concepts, models, ethics, and the practice and professional issues relevant to the psychiatric nurse practitioner’s role in the care of persons/populations at risk for mental illness. Emphasizes the foundations of the discipline, including developmental psychology, therapeutic use of self, cultural competence, and individual and group psychotherapeutic models and interventions drawn from neurobiological, interpersonal, developmental, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and other evidence-based approaches to the care of persons with mental health problems.

NSG 8678 – Psychopharmacology

Focuses on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmaco-therapeutics of psychotropic medications used across the lifespan. Develops an evidence-based foundation for selecting psychopharmacological agent(s) as related to individual patient factors. Investigates the art of prescribing through emphasis on practical issues such as starting, stopping, and cross-tapering medications; monitoring medications and their potential adverse effects; and providing the psychoeducation necessary for successful pharmacological management. Builds a foundation for safe, successful, collaborative, prescriptive practice for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners.

Career Outlook

As healthcare costs continue to increase, DNPs and other advanced-level nurses are able to transform practice by implementing innovative strategies that improve health care systems and patient outcomes while reducing cost (Institute of Medicine, 2011). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that all types of advanced practice registered nurses will see an increase in employment, of up to 45% within the next 10 years.

Accreditation and Exams

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and post-graduate APRN certificate program at The College of St. Scholastica are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

CCNE Accredited logo

Board approved

The College of St. Scholastica’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and APRN Certificate programs are approved as advanced practice nursing programs by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Certification Exam

After completion of the DNP degree or Post-Master’s Certificate, students are eligible to take the national certification examination in their Nurse Practitioner population focus of Family/Individual across the Lifespan, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, or Psychiatric Mental Health. Further Information about the certification exams is available at the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board websites.

Admission Information

Visit our admissions page for information about transcripts, online application, international admissions and financing.

Application Deadlines

Applications for the May 2022 cohort open in NursingCAS on Aug. 12. Priority deadline: Dec. 15, final deadline: Feb. 15.

Eligibility

  • A 4-year nursing degree from an accredited program conferred prior to the start of the program
    Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • Current, unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse in the state in which clinicals will occur
  • For new baccalaureate graduates, admission will be conditional pending licensure by the end of the summer semester
  • Applicants to the PMHNP track must have previous psychiatric nursing experience.

Requirements

In NursingCAS youts will be required to choose your desired track and campus to attend. Applicants who designate more than one track (ex. FNP & PMHNP) will not be considered for admission. Applicants may apply for more than one campus location but may only select one track for consideration.

Please carefully review all the instructions prior to beginning your application. No items should be sent directly to CSS.

Transcripts

  1. All official transcripts
  2. If you have previously attended CSS you must request your transcripts to be sent to Nursing CAS. Please contact One Stop Student Services.
  3. No high school transcripts are required.

Online Application

The following requirements will be required in the online NursingCAS application. Please carefully review all the instructions prior to beginning your application. No items should be sent directly to CSS.

Visit www.nursingcas.liaisoncas.org/apply and select Summer 2021 for your term. Then click APPLY.

A complete Nursing CAS application includes:

  1. All official transcripts
    • If you have previously attended CSS you must request your transcripts to be sent to Nursing CAS. Please contact One Stop Student Services.
    • No high school transcripts are required.
  2. Essay upload
    The Four Essay Questions should be answered in two to three paragraphs and are as follows:

    • The College of St. Scholastica is founded on Benedictine values. Describe the connection between the Benedictine Values and the DNP role.
    • Provide a brief example of a professional ethical challenge you faced in your clinical practice and how you addressed it.
    • Plagiarism has become a concern in academics in the last several decades with the advent of easily accessible internet resources. Discuss your understanding of what constitutes plagiarism, what is acceptable fair use, and how plagiarism can be an issue for the DNP.
    • Group work and working in interprofessional teams are common for the DNP/ APRN student and professional DNP/APRNs. Provide an example of how you work in a team. Discuss your strengths and weaknesses in the team setting.
  3. Resume

Graduate Assistantships

Based on need in the undergraduate program, we offer graduate assistantships mostly in clinical and skills lab/simulation settings. These opportunities are available in the Twin Cities area, St. Cloud, and Duluth. There are approximately 25+ positions each year. Interested students would have to apply for the positions and would be chosen based on need and fit for the position. The positions are competitively compensated and students can opt for tuition reduction.

Meet Our Faculty

Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators

Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who bring their deep experience to online and on-campus classrooms. Our values of community, respect, stewardship and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.