Announcing a New Online Doctorate of Nursing in Educational Leadership

In keeping with our reputation as an innovator in online nursing education, American Sentinel has launched a brand new doctoral degree program. We are proud to announce the industry’s very first online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Educational Leadership. And we’re excited to say that we’ve already begun enrolling students for our first cohort, which begins July 9.

Why does the world need another terminal nursing degree? The simple answer is to fill an existing gap. But because simple answers rarely satisfy curious minds, here’s a little more background on how we came to create this DNP Educational Leadership program.

A direct response to a need for leadership in nursing education

The entire health care industry is facing a period of great change. Both the Institute of Medicine and the Carnegie Foundation have studied this issue as it relates to the future of nursing, and both concluded that nurses must achieve higher levels of education in order to meet the demands of a changing health care system. Much has been written about how to reach the goal of a more educated nursing workforce – if you do a Google search on the phrase “transforming nursing education,” you’ll get hundreds of results. So nursing educators are now faced with a dilemma: just as the competencies needed to practice nursing have expanded, so have the competencies needed to effectively educate highly skilled nurses.

How do deans, department chairs, assistant deans, or associate deans of nursing schools gain the skills they need to lead and transform nursing education? The options are not ideal. A Ph.D. prepares nurses with research-based eduation, while most traditional DNP programs have focused on advanced practice skills. An Ed.D. (doctor of education) degree might have been appropriate for a dean of nursing 50 years ago, but today it’s far too general, with no focus at all on the unique needs of nursing education.

This is where American Sentinel comes into the picture. Our DNP Educational Leadership was inspired, in part, by community college deans who realized they need this kind of terminal degree, but could not find a suitable program.

Introducing the industry’s first DNP Educational Leadership

American Sentinel’s 42-credit program is enrolling two cohorts this year: July 9 (application deadline is May 30) and October 1 (application deadline is August 6).

The program is open to anyone with at least three years of nursing education leadership experience and a master’s degree of any kind (MPH, MBA, MSN, etc.) A special bridge program will accommodate nurses who have master’s degrees in a non-nursing field. The DNP program features just two 10-day residencies, a flexible online learning format, and courses that run for just eight weeks with two-week breaks in between.

“My philosophy for nursing education is that it must be relevant to the student and applicable to practice,” said July cohort enrollee Jenny Lucy, MEd, BSN, RN. “As I reviewed the components of American Sentinel’s DNP Educational Leadership, I recognized the applicability of each curriculum unit to my practice, and I decided to enroll. I think the residency is a valuable asset that not only incorporates an orientation to the program, but also enables us to build relationships with the other students and faculty members.”

The bottom line is this: Our program prepares a nurse educator to be a different kind of leader – one who has the skills and knowledge to create and deliver new models of teaching and learning. It has been designed to develop the six key competencies needed by leaders in nursing education today – competencies that are much more specific to nursing education than anything taught in Ph.D. or Ed.D. programs. They are:

  • Leadership
  • Finance, fund development, and grants
  • New models of curriculum development and delivery
  • Education policy
  • Education research
  • Strategic planning

And, as always with American Sentinel, the core course work has been designed to build skills that can be applied immediately in the workplace. Plus, in our DNP Capstone projects, students design their own projects and custom tailor them to personal and professional goals. A faculty mentor guides each student through the research required for these projects.

For more information or to register for American Sentinel University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership program visit

American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including a doctorate of nursing practice in executive leadership,  RN to BSN program and RN to MSN programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in areas like infection control and case management.