A number of societal, scientific, and professional developments have stimulated a major paradigm change in graduate education in nursing. The rapid expansion of knowledge underlying practice; increased complexity of patient care; national concerns about the quality of care and patient safety; shortages of nursing personnel; demands for a higher level of preparation for nurses to design and evaluate best practices; shortages of nursing faculty; and the increasing educational expectations for the preparation of other health professionals have lead to the establishing the standard that by 2015 all advanced practice nursing specialty preparation should be at the doctoral level (American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)). The Nurse Practitioner (NP) is prepared to practice in an expanded role and to provide healthcare to individuals, families, and/or groups in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, homes, hospitals, institutions, offices, industry, schools, community agencies, public and private clinics, and private practice. The NP acts independently and in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to deliver healthcare services by conducting comprehensive health assessments aimed at health promotion and disease prevention. NPs also diagnose and manage common acute illnesses, with referral as appropriate, and manage stable chronic conditions in a variety of settings.
The University of San Francisco, School of Nursing and Health Professions is the first university in the Bay Area to offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), admitting the first students in Fall 2007. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the professional organization for higher education in nursing, has recommended that by 2015 all nursing specialty preparation should occur at the doctoral level.
At USF there are two major pathways to the DNP. For applicants with a BS in Nursing, the BSN-DNP pathway offers advanced education as a clinical nurse leader while simultaneously advancing toward the DNP degree. The students complete the MSN coursework for the first two years of the program before tracking into the doctoral portion for the remaining two years to two and half years. Please contact the School of Nursing and Health Professions for specific schedule information.
The DNP degree appeals to nurses with an MS or a BS degree in Nursing who are interested in a practice-focused doctorate. DNP graduates will be prepared as clinical leaders who will design models of health care delivery, evaluate clinical outcomes, identify and manage health care needs of populations, and use technology and information to transform health care systems. The DNP degree has also been identified as a way to increase the number of doctoral prepared nursing faculty.
The DNP Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
- Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational science to develop and evaluate nursing practice and care delivery models.
- Develop and evaluate effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care, the health care organization, information technology, and research.
- Use analytic methods to design, implement, and evaluate best practice models for patient care and systems of care delivery
- Effectively develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based approaches to advance nursing and health care.
- Demonstrate leadership in the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and international health policy.
- Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies within all healthcare arenas.
- Effectively lead quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.
- Advance the effective use of health care information systems to assure high quality health care outcomes.
- Employ effective communication and collaborative skills in the development and implementation of practice models, health policy, standards of care, and organizational issues.
- Analyze and synthesize epidemiological, biostatical, environmental, cultural elements related to individual, aggregate, and population health.
- Conduct a comprehensive assessment of health and illness parameters in complex situations, incorporating diverse and culturally sensitive approaches in order to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based interventions.
- Develop and sustain therapeutic relationships and partnerships with patients and other professionals to facilitate optimal patient outcomes.
- Analyze the links among practice, organizational, population, fiscal, and policy issues in order to effective education individuals and colleagues.
- Satisfy the course and clinical requirements for specialty certification.
- Advance the mission and core values of the University of San Francisco.
Admission to the program is based on an overall appraisal of the applicant’s ability to undertake doctoral study and of their contributions to the discipline of nursing as evidence by the following:
- Official transcripts from colleges/universities attended where the highest degree was obtained.
- Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Statement of professional goals
- Documentation of RN license
- A completed application form and fee: www.usfca.edu/graduate
- TOEFL scores if needed
Highlights of the School of Nursing and Health Professions
- The first private university nursing program in the State
- Accredited by the California State Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Admission of DNP students occurs on a rolling admission basis for the fall, spring and summer semesters
- The Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions was ranked in the top 40 best nursing programs in the nation by US News and World Report
- Financial Assistance Programs for those who qualify
KT Waxman, DNP Department Chair