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Dr. of Nursing Practitioner


Program Information

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Colby-Sawyer's online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed for nurses that already have a master’s degree in nursing and is intended to provide essential skills and the highest level of nursing expertise for work in a clinical setting or professional leadership role.

The DNP program focuses on the improvement of patient safety and quality of care through instruction in organizational/systems leadership, quality improvement processes and the transformation of evidence into practice. The degree prepares graduates for career advancement in healthcare leadership, advanced clinical care or health policy, and offers a path to a career as a nurse executive, clinical educator or clinical scientist.

The curriculum consists of asynchronous courses that are delivered in an online format in 8- and 15-week blocks. The DNP curriculum includes five core courses and three DNP Scholarly Project courses (8 courses; 28 credits) and can be completed in a 20-month or 32-month course of study. Courses are facilitated by doctorally prepared research- and practice-focused faculty that are actively engaged in professional and clinical work.

The required DNP Scholarly Project is designed to address complex issues that affect patients, healthcare organizations and systems. Over three clinical practicum semesters, the DNP student will develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate a sustainable, evidence-based project designed to improve patient safety and quality of care.

By the end of the program, students are required to successfully finish all DNP coursework, complete 1,000 documented, advanced-practice clinical hours, present their DNP project and produce a publishable scholarly paper. Students may apply up to 500* hours earned during their master’s program toward the 1,000 required practicum hours.

*If a student completed fewer than 500 clinical hours during their master’s program, the student must enroll in the DNP Clinical Practicum Elective (DNP 605) under the guidance of the DNP program coordinator. The DNP Clinical Practicum Elective (DNP 605) is a 2-credit course that allows the student to complete up to 500 clinical practicum hours, if needed.

DNP Clinical Practicum Elective (2 credits)

This course provides students pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree the opportunity to complete additional clinical and professional hours as necessary to meet program requirements. In this self-designed practicum, students will build their scholarly foundation for achievement of the DNP essentials. Objectives are developed with DNP faculty and tailored specifically to individual student needs. Students may complete up to 250 practicum hours in this course and may repeat this course one time.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Colby-Sawyer College is pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Applying for accreditation does not guarantee that accreditation will be granted.