Doctorate of Nursing Practice Program

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Online DNP Program

American Sentinel University offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice program for nurse leaders and educators seeking a practice-focused degree that will help them gain the credibility, management skills, credentials and industry knowledge they need in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment. Our DNP degree program features the flexibility of online learning, experienced faculty with significant nursing leadership and educational experience, and a nationwide representation of students to learn and grow with.

 

Choose from four Online DNP Program Specializations:

DNP, Professional Leadership Specialization

Designed to foster the advanced practice of nursing leadership within a complex, highly computerized health system. The program is open to nurses who have an MSN and a minimum of one year of full-time work experience in one of the following areas: Faculty, hospital management/leadership, Advanced Practice Nurse (NP), Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

DNP, Educational Leadership Specialization

For nurses holding an MSN, an unencumbered RN license and that have a minimum of one year of full-time work experience in a leadership or faculty role in nursing education at a two- to four-year college/university or hospital/healthcare organization within the past five years.

DNP, Executive Leadership Specialization

For nursing managers who hold a master’s degree, BSN and an unencumbered RN license and have a minimum of one year of full-time work experience in a nursing executive or management/leadership role within the last five years.

DNP, Informatics Leadership Specialization

For nursing managers who hold a master’s degree, BSN and an unencumbered RN license and have a minimum of one year of full-time work experience in an informatics or technology-based nursing leadership role within the last five years.

DNP, executive leadership or informatics leadership specializations
Nurses in these specializations are not required to have/earn an MSN, so we offer three enrollment options:

  1. Nurses that have a master’s in another discipline (e.g. MBA, MHA, MPH, or MEd) and want to earn an MSN and DNP
  2. Nurses that have a master’s in another discipline but do not want to earn an MSN, just a DNP (see the Bridge Program below)

DNP Residency

Cohort – Collaboration – Caring

If these words appeal to you, then our DNP program may be the best choice for you. Like many universities, we work hard to combine relevant curriculum with the needs of our students. We are, after all, a faculty of nurses who have been where you are.

Since the inception of our Doctor of Nursing Practice program, we take the pulse of our students frequently. Is the curriculum current? Does the course timing fit a busy nurse’s schedule? Do the residencies provide a unique and beneficial experience?

The residency question is especially significant, knowing some universities have eliminated them from their DNP program.

My MSN was completely online, but I wanted to have more of a connection with the university and my fellow peers. I also desired a smooth transition and believed the residency would assist with this.

Being able to spend time with the faculty during the residency to discuss and work through a topic of interest was appealing to me.

Meeting faculty and colleagues face-to-face cannot be substituted with an online experience. It was invaluable to talk one-on-one with faculty and leadership. The opportunity to collaborate was important.

You can’t replace the in-person benefits of meeting, greeting and collaborating with the professors who are instrumental in the degree process, as well as my cohorts.

The camaraderie is so important. I chose a DNP program with a residency for that reason.

We listened. We understand that the in-person residencies are very valuable to the student experience, but also can pose challenges. So we have made the year-one residency four days in the Aurora location, and the year-two residency virtual. And we cover the cost of your hotel while you are in Aurora.

We invite you to ask as many questions as you can think up. We’re here to help you make the best decision for earning your DNP, even if you don’t choose us.

What’s it like to be DNP student?

How do you get back into the mindset of being a student after being out of school for a long time?

How do you juggle school with work and family?

What’s it like to be a student in American Sentinel University’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice Executive Leadership program?

Here’s an actual chat session between a prospective student (a vice president of nursing services/chief nursing officer for a regional medical center) and American Sentinel DNP graduate (Eddie Beard, a senior vice president/chief nursing officer).

I enrolled in the first DNP cohort after an exhaustive search through cadres of online DNP programs. I work full time as a senior VP/CNO in North Carolina. I had been out of school for 20 years. Once I made the decision to do it, I’ve loved every minute of it. The program is great and all the staff and faculty have been fantastic. I have the same challenges of a full life and schedule, but I’ve found it doable.

The online courses require a weekly forum discussion. I do the reading (it’s manageable—40-60 pages from a text) on Thursday or Friday. On Saturday, I draft my responses to the questions posed by the professor for the weekly forum. I post them sometime on Sunday. The rest of the week, I respond to what others are posting on the forum. Our cohort got to know each other really well during the residency, so we communicate well with each other. It’s definitely doable.

I described the forum participation above. That’s every week as you roll through the course. There’s also a major paper (18-20 pages) and a PowerPoint presentation of that paper. If you can’t get it done within the eight weeks, there’s an opportunity for you to “buy” a few more weeks.

Our group of seven in my cohort is really close. (Note: the second cohort started in January with 17 students.) We bonded during the residency. The faculty are really great. They treat you like adult learners, and there is lots of respect. I’ve been thrilled with my experience so far.

There is some downtime, but not a lot. The days are long because we do the cohort over 10 days (working through the weekend) so we didn’t have to be gone the full 2 weeks from work. We started around 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. and went to 5:00 p.m. most days. The days are broken into different activities so you’re not in lectures the whole time. It really flew by. Some nights there are homework assignments that you have to work on for class the next day.

*Current residency is four days.

Just do it. It’s been great, and for me that’s saying a lot. I’ve wanted to do this for years, but just couldn’t bring myself go back to school. I’m so happy I did it, though. One thing—you really need to be computer literate. If you’re afraid of Excel, PowerPoint, Word, etc. and rely on an assistant to churn stuff out for you, then I’d start skill-building now if you intend to pursue this.

DNP Practice Experiences

To be at the forefront of nursing education, we not only strive to meet accreditors’ guidelines, but we also work to meet the needs of our nursing students. Practice Experiences are an important part of our DNP program. These experiences are built into the courses and do not add additional work. Instead, they offer more interactive learning assignments.

TYPES OF PRACTICE EXPERIENCES (PEs)

  • PRACTICE LEARNING EXPERIENCES (PLE): Course assignments that allow you to use what you learned in the online classroom out in the real world
  • PRECEPTED PRACTICE EXPERIENCES (PPE): Course assignments that take place in the workplace or other healthcare settings.
  • CAPSTONE HOURS (CH): Practice experience hours in the DNP program that are earned during scholarly work on your capstone project
  • Students are required to secure availability and access/permission to an acceptable location/site to fulfill the practice experience and DNP project requirements of the program.
  • Program applicants who provide evidence of clinical hours from an MSN or other nursing-specific degree have the potential to have a percentage of those hours (maximum 400 hours) applied to the required 1000 prior to the Project course sequence

For more detailed information, please see the DNP Practice Experiences Quick Start Guide and the Nursing Practice Experience Guide.

Here’s what one DNP student had to say about her experience:

The practice experiences in the DNP program provide the students with great flexibility and the opportunity to personalize each experience. I also appreciate the layout; having hours designated in each course and having suggested activities provided but not required. This allows autonomy for the students and lets each student streamline the experience to best meet their needs.
TAMMY STEFEK
DNP, Educational Leadership Specialization

Bridge Courses and Practicum Workroom

Three Bridge Courses and a total of 400 hours of Practice Experiences must be completed prior to the student enrolling in the DNP program.

Bridge Courses (include 90 hours of Practice Experiences)

Practicum Workrooms

Practicum Workrooms will be offered every eight weeks. Students need to enroll in a Practicum Workroom when they enroll in their first bridge course. Students are encouraged to enroll in a Practicum Workroom each eight weeks until they complete all the designated competencies in the Practicum Workroom.

In the 8-week Practicum Workrooms, students have a list of four to five competencies that must be met while completing 310 practice hours. The Practicum Workrooms are self-paced. Students need to complete the first competency regarding role transition before starting the remainder of the competencies. Once the first competency has been met, students may use practice hours to work on one or more of the remaining competencies.

To complete the practice hours, students will engage in activities to complete the designated competencies. Students determine the number of practice hours that they are able to complete to meet one or more designated competencies during an 8-week Practicum Workroom. Enrollment in the Practicum Workroom to complete a total of 400 practice experience hours is required for entry into the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Students must request approval of practice experience activities and location for their practice experiences with the Practicum Coordinators before starting to complete the practice hours. The Practicum Coordinators approve activities for practice experience hours requested by students and monitor completion of the practice experience hours and achievement of competencies.

Students demonstrate achievement of competencies through reflective journaling during completion of the practice experience hours. The Practicum Coordinators review the students’ journaling and the documentation of the practice hours. Grading for the Practicum Workroom competencies are pass/fail.