Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Creighton University's College of Nursing offers a program of study in nursing leading to the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with specialty tracks in Advanced Practice Nursing (Nurse Practitioner), and Nursing Administration & Leadership (NAL). The DNP program provides graduate education in a learning environment where ethical leadership, creative problem resolution, service to diverse populations, interprofessional collaboration, and commitment to performance excellence are hallmarks within the Health Sciences schools as well as the Center for Health Policy and Ethics, Heider College of Business, and the graduate program in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. DNP students will complete core, role support, and specialty courses in advanced practice nursing or nursing administration and leadership. The program's emphasis is on preparing local, regional, national, and international nurse leaders who use their expertise in providing quality care in increasingly complex environments.

There are two pathways to the DNP.

BSN - DNP Option

A post-baccalaureate option exists for students who have successfully completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a college or university accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education on Nursing (ACEN) and meet the prerequisite admission requirements as set forth by the College of Nursing. The number of credit hours for the post-baccalaureate to doctoral degree ranges from 68-75 credit hours. Degree requirements for graduation are commensurate with the student’s chosen role option and Creighton University's completion requirements for a doctoral degree. Full and part-time plans of study are available for all tracks. 

Post Graduate - DNP Option

The Post-Graduate to DNP option is designed for current APRN nurses, as well as those with an MSN in Nursing Administration, who graduated from a college or university accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education on Nursing (ACEN), the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Applicants who are MSN prepared, but are not currently an APRN or have an MSN in Administration, will need to complete a BSN to DNP curriculum in order to complete all required course content for a Nurse Practitioner track.

The number of credit hours for the post-graduate to doctoral degree ranges from 27-40 credit hours. A change in certification will result in additional degree requirements. Degree requirements for graduation are commensurate with the student’s chosen role option. The full and part-time plans of study are available for all tracks. 

DNP Program Outcomes

The DNP program is designed to prepare nurses who:

  1. Integrate nursing science with theories and knowledge from interdisciplinary sciences to advance the health of people and quality of advanced nursing practice.
  2. Adapt organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking.
  3. Translate, evaluate, and disseminate evidence in to practice.
  4. Select, use, and evaluate information technology systems to monitor and improve healthcare outcomes.
  5. Engage in policy analysis, formulation, implementation, and advocacy activities to improve healthcare locally, regionally, nationally, and /or globally.
  6. Lead interprofessional teams in the evaluation of complex issues to create change in healthcare delivery systems and health care outcomes.
  7. Evaluate appropriate methods and models in partnership with families, individuals, groups, communities, and providers to improve health, prevent disease, and address gaps in population-based health care.
  8. Formulate a professional practice model using advanced and specialized knowledge and skills in the specialty role.
  9. Formulate a professional framework integrating reflective practice that facilitates ethical reasoning, cultural humility, and advocacy anchored in social justice.  

BSN - DNP Tracks

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner - manages the care of individuals in acute care settings. Graduates who complete the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP program meet eligibility for national certification through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
  • Family Nurse Practitioner  - manages care throughout the lifespan of individuals and families. Graduates who complete the Family NP program meet eligibility for national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP).
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner - manages care for newborns in all levels of neonatal intensive care units. Graduates who complete the Neonatal NP program meet eligibility for national certification through the National Certification Corporation (NCC).
  • Pediatric Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Dual) - manages the care of pediatric patients across the entire continuum of health from wellness to critical care. Graduates who complete the Pediatric Dual track NP program are eligible to take the primary and acute care national certification exams through the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board (PNCB).
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner - manages care throughout the lifespan of diverse populations and can practice within both acute and primary care settings. Graduates who complete Psychiatric Mental Health NP Program meet eligibility for national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
  • Nursing Administration & Leadership - prepares nurses as innovative and collaborative leaders in diverse health care settings, corporations and consulting firms, improving the quality of healthcare.

The Doctor of Nursing Program at Creighton University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (www.ccneaccreditation.org).

DNP Admission Requirements

Admission into the DNP Program is based on academic acceptance by the College of Nursing. Academic acceptance is based on meeting the following requirements:

Post-Baccalaureate Applicants

  1. A completed application form with a $50 non-refundable fee

  2. A Bachelor of Science degree with a major in nursing from a college or university accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)  

  3. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, or a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00

  4. An official transcript of all previous academic work at the collegiate level. Applicants must assume the responsibility of requesting the registrar of each institution previously attended to mail or electronically send an official transcript directly to Creighton University Enrollment Services Department.

  5. Three recommendations from persons able to evaluate the applicant’s current and potential competency in advanced nursing practice, academic potential, leadership skills, and potential for leadership in the profession. One reference should come from a nursing employer or supervisor. 

  6. A current, active unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license to practice in the U.S.

  7. A current resume/curriculum vitae that provides evidence of leadership or service experiences

  8. A personal statement

  9. Successful completion of an undergraduate statistics course

  10. Successful completion of an undergraduate physical assessment course and corresponding practicum

Post-Graduate Applicants

  1. A completed application form with a $50 non-refundable fee

  2. A Master of Science degree with a major in nursing from a college or university accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education on Nursing (ACEN), the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). 

  3. A cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale

  4. An official transcript of all previous academic work at the collegiate level. Applicants request that the registrar of each institution previously attended to mail or electronically send an official transcript directly to the Creighton University Enrollment Services Department.

  5. Three recommendations from persons able to evaluate the applicant’s current and potential competency in advanced nursing practice at the doctoral level, academic potential, leadership skills, and potential for leadership in the profession. One reference should come from a nursing employer or supervisor.

  6. A current active unencumbered registered nursing (RN) license and, if applicable, a current and active unencumbered license to practice as an advanced practice nurse in the United States

  7. Evidence of current national certification as an advanced practice nurse, if applicable

  8. A current resume/curriculum vitae that provides evidence of leadership, practice, and service experiences, such as a holding a management position

  9. A personal statement 

  10. Verification of the clinical/practicum hours completed in the applicant's master’s/certificate program in one of the following ways:

    1. The clinical/practicum courses in the master's program are clearly identified on the transcript. 

    2. Syllabi for the clinical/practicum courses are submitted and the clinical/practicum hours are identified.

    3. A letter from an official from the institution, on official institution letterhead, where the master's degree was granted verifying the specific number of clinical/practicum hours.

English proficiency requirement

English Language Proficiency is an important part of the application process for those whose first language is not English. The College of Nursing has the discretion to determine individual standards for how this requirement will be met using one or more of the following:

  • English Language exam scores. All applicants who have obtained a degree outside of the United States must present a TOEFL score of at least 100 or an IELTS score of at least 7. Scores over 2 years old will not be accepted. Students must ask the ETS (the testing agency) to send original scores to Creighton University (Institutional Code 6121).
  • Completion of an undergraduate degree from one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guam, Ireland, Jamaica, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Scotland, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, and Virgin Islands.

The College of Nursing reserves the right to require students to re-take the exam. It is also at the discretion of the College of Nursing as to whether a TOEFL score is required of applicants who have earned a college degree from a university in the United States or another approved country.

Conditions of Enrollment

Upon academic acceptance into the College of Nursing, students must meet certain conditions of enrollment:

  1. Current immunizations consistent with Creighton University and/or clinical agency guidelines.

  2. Verification of a physical examination to provide evidence that the student is free from contagious disease and not a health hazard to patients in various settings.

  3. Background investigations and results consistent with Creighton University and/or clinical agency guidelines. 

  4. Drug screen and results consistent with Creighton University and/or clinical agency guidelines. 

  5. Completion of certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) for the "Healthcare Professional" from the American Heart Association (AHA). This course includes instruction of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and content for care of adults, children, and infants.

  6. A current, active unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license or an active APRN license (if applicable) to practice in the U.S.

  7. Validation of ability to meet the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor requirements (Safety and Technical Standards)

  8. A minimum of 2000 hours of employment in a direct care setting prior to enrollment in the first practicum course  

    1. A minimum of 2000 hours of direct care in pediatrics prior to enrolling in first practicum course for those entering the pediatric track

    2. A minimum of 2000 hours of direct care in the psychiatric mental health area prior to enrolling in the first practicum course for those entering the psychiatric mental health track

    3. A minimum of 4000 hours of employment in the care of critically ill newborns/infants prior to enrollment in the first practicum course in the neonatal track

DNP Degree Requirements

The post-baccalaureate and post-graduate options leading to the DNP include a sequence of courses in three (3) major areas: core courses, role core and/or support courses, and advanced specialty role courses. Core courses include learning experiences in statistics, data analysis, research process and utilization, evidence-based practice, ethics, policy, and care management as well as negotiation and conflict resolution. Role core and/or support courses provide students with a foundation in advanced health assessment across the lifespan and diagnostics, advanced pharmacology across the lifespan, advanced pathophysiology across the lifespan as well as advanced concepts in finance and health care and conflict resolution. Specialty and role courses provide students both theory and practicum opportunities in the student’s specialized track. The degree requirements in each area are commensurate with the track and whether the student is enrolled in the post-baccalaureate or post-graduate degree option.

Both post-baccalaureate and post-graduate students in the DNP program are required to complete a scholarly project demonstrating synthesis of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired in the core, role support, and role specialty courses. The project requires that students collaborate with scholars from nursing and other disciplines to design, manage, and evaluate clinical practices and organizational systems. The types of scholarly projects include: quality improvement projects, program development and evaluation, evaluation of new practice models, guidelines, or innovation, and/or participating in faculty research.

BSN - DNP Track Options

Post-Graduate - DNP Option

Dual Degree Options