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Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

About the Program

Established in 2009, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program was developed in response to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing. The position statement supported moving the preparation of advanced practice nurses from the master's degree level to the doctoral level by the year 2015. The DNP program prepares Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to transform clinical practice as expert clinicians and leaders with a special focus on rural and underserved populations. In addition to delivering evidence-based direct patient care at an advanced practice level to individuals across the lifespan in primary care settings, graduates of the DNP program will learn skills needed to produce and implement valuable evidence to guide practice and are prepared to work collaboratively with rural communities in an effort to reduce health disparities.

We feature collaboration and placement with over 200 established  partnerships in a variety of local and regional  clinical settings. Our clinical preceptors are engaged, caring healthcare professionals who provide an invaluable piece of our students’ clinical education.

DNP Pathways

Pathway 1: Bachelor's to DNP

This pathway is for registered nurses (RNs) with a bachelor's degree. This option offers:

  • Annual Fall admission
  • 78 total course credits for the Family Nurse Practitioner (Total course credits vary based on specialization)
  • Face-to-face method accompanied by online and hybrid delivery

This pathway gives you the option to specialize as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

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Pathway 2: Master's to DNP

Master's to DNP option 1*

This option is for registered nurses with a master's degree in nursing with CNP, CRNA, CNS, or CNM focus from an NLNAC or CCNE accredited program. This option offers:

  • Annual fall admission
  • 31-36 course credits
  • Executive delivery model in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, includes online components
  • Designed for part-time study (including summers)

Required coursework and other program details can be found on the curriculum plan. Interested applicants are advised to contact the graduate nursing department to discuss options.

Master's to DNP option 2**

This option is for registered nurses with a master's degree in nursing (non-clinical focus) from a NLNAC or CCNE accredited program. This option offers:

Annual fall admission 69 course credits Executive delivery model in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, includes online components Designed for part-time study (including summers)

Required coursework and other program details can be found on the curriculum plan. Interested applicants are advised to contact the graduate nursing department to discuss options. We offer a 3 year curriculum plan and a 4 year curriculum plan for the master's to DNP option 2.

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Program Outcomes

  • To prepare graduates as clinicians and leaders with a special focus on rural and underserved populations.
  • To prepare graduates to deliver evidence-based direct patient care to individuals across the lifespan in primary care settings.
  • To prepare graduates to produce and implement scientific evidence to guide practice.
  • To prepare graduates to work collaboratively with frontier, urban, and rural communities in an effort to reduce health disparities.

Student Outcomes

At the completion of the program, the graduate will successfully demonstrate the following student learning outcomes: 
  • Integrate theoretical and scientific underpinnings of nursing and other disciplines to address emerging healthcare and practice issues.
  • Engage in health policy at all levels to influence healthcare delivery concerns, such as health disparities, cultural sensitivity, ethics, access to care, health finance, and quality of care.
  • Demonstrate leadership at the organizational and/or systems level to address health outcomes of individuals and populations though evidence-based initiatives.
  • Utilize advanced nursing knowledge and information systems/technology related to clinical prevention and health promotion to address gaps in healthcare.
  • Collaborate with the interprofessional team in the translation, implementation, analysis, and dissemination of evidence-based practice to improve healthcare outcomes. 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Specialization specific Student Learning Outcomes:
    • BS-DNP-Family Nurse Practitioner: Employ evidence-based practice and advanced clinical judgment to comprehensively assess, design, and deliver care for individuals across the lifespan.
    • BS-DNP/Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Employ evidence-based practice and advanced clinical judgment to comprehensively assess, design, and deliver care for pediatric individuals.
    • BS-DNP/Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: Employ evidence-based practice and advanced clinical judgment to comprehensively assess, design, and deliver care for neonates.
    • BS-DNP/Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: Employ evidence-based practice and advanced clinical judgment to comprehensively assess, design, and deliver mental health care for individuals across the lifespan.
    • Post Master’s DNP: Employ evidence-based practice and advanced clinical judgment to comprehensively assess, design, and deliver care for individuals or populations.

Are you ready?

Apply now