2019-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 22, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing DNP, (Nursing Education Specialization)

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Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

College of Health Sciences
Degree: Doctor of Nursing Practice
Director of Graduate Nursing Programs, Pamela Dwyer, DNP


Darlene Kuchinski-Donnelly, Assistant Professor, BSN, MSN, and Post-Master’s Certificate Misericordia University; Ph.D. Widener University

Pamela Dwyer, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN, MSN Misericordia University, DNP Wilkes University

Brenda Hage, Professor of Nursing, BSN State University of New York at Albany; MSN College Misericordia, PhD Virginia Commonwealth University; DNP Chatham University

Annette Weiss, Associate Professor of Nursing, BSN The Pennsylvania State University, MSN University of Hartford; PhD Duquesne University

Mission/Vision of the Nursing Department

The Graduate Nursing Department strives to continuously evolve and improve to prepare competent advanced practice clinicians in order to best serve our community of interest. Graduate faculty members do their utmost to “foster intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and respect for persons in an environment where all are welcome”. The high level of graduate nursing academics challenges students to think critically and to look for new solutions to societal and health care problems.  As outlined in the mission statement of the College of Health Sciences and Education, students in our MSN programs collaborate as multi-disciplinary members of interprofessional teams and they are also prepared to function as independent practitioners. Teaching students ethical approaches to deal with complex health care issues and ethical dilemmas is a significant part of the MSN program. The need for life-long learning and maintaining clinical currency and competency are stressed throughout the MSN programs and they are also part of state licensure and national board certification requirements. Students are encouraged to see issues through a global lens and to view themselves as members of a global society requiring their engagement and concern. The proposed MSN curricular revisions and new program tracks are consistent with these aims.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Philosophy

The Doctor of Nursing Practice at Misericordia University is designed to combine theory, practice and inquiry to produce the highest level of mastery in advanced practice nurses to meet the nation and world’s increasingly complex health care needs. Accomplishing this mission requires connecting leadership skills, forward thinking clinical expertise and evidence based practice knowledge to formulate quality health care initiatives for improved health care outcomes in a variety of settings. Graduates will be prepared to make a business case for evidence based practice change. Program outcomes are grounded in the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006).The rigorous expectations of the curriculum of this post-graduate degree program are supported by foundations in population health, quality improvement and organizational system management, leadership, ethics, health care policy, informatics and technology, and utilization of data analysis that informs decision-making. Five hundred (500) post-graduate practice hours provide the student with patient and population focused care opportunities for mastery of the doctor of nursing practice role.

As change agents, Misericordia DNP graduate will be prepared to collaborate with teams of inter-professional colleagues, care for culturally diverse and/or vulnerable populations, and assume the role of a transformational leader in the increasingly complex health care systems across the globe.

DNP Program outcomes:

  1. Influence the scientific underpinnings of advanced clinical nursing practice through strategic decision-making and change implementation.
  2. Apply organizational and system leadership skills to affect systematic changes in thinking and development of high quality improvement activities to improve health care outcomes.
  3. Utilize analytic methods to critically appraise evidence based literature and other data to improve health care outcomes for diverse populations.
  4. Integrate current information systems and technologies to promote effective methods of care to improve the transformation of health care.
  5. Develop health care policies that facilitate advocacy for equitable health care and social justice to vulnerable and diverse populations.
  6. Collaborate with inter-professional team members to enhance prevention and health promotion of patient and population health.
  7. Synthesize the concepts of community, environment, culture, and socioeconomic dimensions of health into advanced practice for improvement of the nation’s health.
  8. Model advanced level of clinical judgment, systems thinking and accountability in designing, implementing and evaluating evidence based care to improve health care outcomes.

Admission Criteria

  1. Official transcripts of all previous college work, including graduate and undergraduate.
  2. Completion of an online application form.
  3. Master of Science in Nursing degree from a CCNE or NLN accredited institution.
  4. Copy of unencumbered license as a registered professional nurse and license to practice as an advanced practice nurse (CNM, CRNA, CNS, or CRNP).
  5. Copy of current national board certification as an Advanced Practice Nurse.
  6. Minimum of 3.0 GPA from graduate degree program or post-master’s certificate program for MSN to DNP program applicants, 3.25 GPA from BSN program for BSN to DNP program applicants.
  7. Two letters of reference (one from current or most recent employer, one from former graduate faculty member).
  8. A 500 word typed statement of personal and professional goals.
  9. English language proficiency- if English is not your first language, or if English is not the primary language spoken in your home, you must submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The following are the minimum score requirements: Internet based TOEFL exam (iBT): The Internet based TOEFL exam has four subsections, with a grading scale for each section from 1 to 30 (30 being the highest score). Misericordia University will look closely at the score for each section rather than the total score. Applicants must attain the minimum scores for ALL sections in order to be considered for admission to the DNP program. The minimum scores for each section are as follows:
      Writing: 22
      Speaking: 22
      Reading: 22
      Listening: 22
      Students should indicate on the registration form that they wish their test results be sent directly to Misericordia University. The TOEFL code for Misericordia University is 2087.

Curriculum Information

The curricular options currently offered by the nursing department include:

  • MSN to DNP: The MSN to DNP program requires 27 credit hours of study and 500 practice hours. This program is designed for master’s prepared, advanced practice nurses (APN). Students receive credit for 500 practice hours after verification of national APN board certification and APN licensure. Completion of an additional 500 practice hours is required during the program for a total of 1000 hours. The MSN to DNP curriculum is completed part-time over two years and five semesters. Graduates of the MSN to DNP program earn the DNP degree upon successful completion of degree requirements of the ninth semester, in the summer of year three. MSN to DNP program students interested in future roles as nursing faculty members also have the option to complete a nine-credit, specialization in nursing education.
  • BSN to DNP Program: The BSN to DNP program allows for seamless transition from the BSN level and requires 68 credit hours of study and 1000 clinical and practice hours. This track allows graduate nursing students in the Family Nurse Practitioner track to take DNP course concurrently. The curriculum can be completed part-time over three years or nine semesters. Graduates of the BSN to DNP program earn the MSN after completion of MSN degree requirements at the end of the eighth semester of year three. MSN graduates are eligible to sit for national board certification as Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs). BSN to DNP program students complete one final, additional semester to complete DNP program requirements and program graduates earn the DNP degree upon the successful completion of the ninth semester, in the summer of year three. MSN courses are delivered predominantly online. All MSN and BSN to DNP students are required to attend two on campus intensives before their first clinical rotation of the first year and again one year later in the second year.  MSN clinical courses require students to allocate on average, an additional day per week for clinical rotations. DNP coursework is delivered in an asynchronous, online format. Occasional synchronous chat may be required for specific course assignments at the discretion of the DNP program faculty.

Program Scheduling

All DNP coursework is completed in a part-time online format. Selected courses may be offered in an accelerated format. All DNP courses are asynchronous. Occasional synchronous chat may be required for specific course assignments at the discretion of the DNP program faculty.


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