American Sentinel University is one of the few nursing schools in the U.S. to have a DNP degree program specifically tailored to nurses in top management or executive positions. Here’s what you need to know, at a glance.
The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) has called for more nurses in executive positions and in the boardroom. American Sentinel has developed a program to create more marketable leadership skills and give nurses more educational parity with other healthcare leaders, who often hold an MBA, MPH, or MHA.
- In its landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) calls for “a style of leadership that involves working with others as full partners in a context of mutual respect and collaboration.” It cites studies that show this style of leadership is associated with better patient outcomes, fewer medical errors, and greater staff satisfaction. Yet it recognizes that transforming the current healthcare hierarchy into something more equitable won’t be easy.
- The IOM also notes that: “The nursing profession must produce leaders throughout the healthcare system, from the bedside to the boardroom, who can serve as full partners with other health professionals and be accountable for their own contributions to delivering high-quality care while working collaboratively with leaders from other health professions.”
Why not a Ph.D.?
The two types of terminal degree programs differ in goals and competencies. The PhD prepares nurses for a career in research, while the DNP is practice- and leadership-oriented. Our DNP in executive leadership is designed to strengthen skills in key areas like finance, policy, strategic planning, quality initiatives, etc.
Our program requirements
- The program is open to nurse managers who have a BSN, a master’s degree in any area, a nursing license, and a minimum of one-year full time work experience in a management/leadership role. (This work experience must have occurred within the past five years.)
- Nurses with an MSN can enroll directly in the DNP program.
- Nurses with a master’s degree other than a MSN (such as MBA, MHA, MPH, or Med) can enroll in two different ways:
- By enrolling in our dual program and earning both the MSN and DNP.
- By completing our bridge program before enrolling in the DNP program.
Practice learning experiences
These interactive learning assignments are an important part of our DNP program and allow our students to personalize and customize their education. They are built into the courses and do not add additional work. They include:
- Practice learning: course assignments that allow you to use what you learned in the online classroom out in the real world.
- Precepted experiences: Course assignments that take place in the workplace or other healthcare settings.
- Capstone project: a project you design and implement as an independent study, in a topic of your choosing.
Fast, flexible, and affordable course of study
- The DNP program is only 28 months long and individual classes are eight weeks in length.
- Rolling admission means you can start on the first of any month—you’re not locked into traditional semester calendars.
- Classes are online, designed for working professionals—with the exception of a four-day residency in Aurora, Colorado at the start of the program.
- During the second year of study, a two-day virtual residency requires no travel.
- Most of our students graduate without debt, due to our competitive tuition rates and flexible payment options.