Doctorate of Nursing Practice Program

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Doctoral Degrees in Nursing

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.


Stated They Could Apply What They Learned To Their Job
Personal Support
Said American Sentinel Was
The Right Choice
Graduation in 2018

Sources: Biannual Student Survey 2019, Graduation Rates Report 2018

Choose from four Online DNP Program Specializations:

DNP, Professional Leadership Specialization

A custom specialization that enables advanced practice nurses to select the courses that fit their goals (instead of a pre-determined plan). Students choose seven courses from any specialty including education, leadership and informatics.

DNP, Educational Leadership Specialization

Leadership-focused specialization that prepares faculty, program directors and deans to lead nursing education programs. The online DNP Educational Leadership, one of only a few, includes curriculum development, technology and simulation, assessment and more.

DNP, Executive Leadership Specialization

Leadership-focused specialization that equips master’s-educated nurses with the marketable, critical thinking skills they need to immediately step into executive roles in healthcare systems. It is ideal for executives and managers who currently hold or intend to pursue executive leadership positions in healthcare organizations during their careers.

DNP, Informatics Leadership Specialization

One of a select few online programs that enable nurses with informatics experience to combine their passion for nursing with their skills in technology and data. Nurse informaticists often serve as the clinical health IT advisor to the executive leadership team, educating them on application use and change implementation for optimized patient care. Applicants must 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.

“The DNP at American Sentinel has helped me change my practice and understand why I do what I do,” she says. “The university cares about me personally and really does want students to succeed. I’ve enjoyed the capstone, the chance to meet people from all over the country through the residency, and the opportunities that the DNP will bring.”
-Kimberly Metz, DNP, Executive Leadership


“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge that I need as an educational leader,” she says. “I’ve met colleagues from around the country who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Overall, the DNP Educational Leadership was an investment in myself that I’m glad I made.”
-Stephanie Muminovic, DNP, Educational Leadership Student


“I’m very glad I decided to get the DNP at American Sentinel. It’s a great program for someone who works full time and offers the opportunity to connect with other professionals across the country. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the experience.”
-Erin-Joy Bjorge, DNP, Educational Leadership student

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.

Play Video

DNP Graduate Discusses How To Choose The Right School For You

Tammy Martineau, an American Sentinel University alumnus discusses her experience in the DNP, Educational Leadership program. She is a nursing educator who discusses the major areas to consider when choosing a school for your terminal nursing degree.

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.

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 must provide evidence of clinical hours from an MSN or other nursing-specific degree and have the potential to have those hours (maximum 400 hours) applied to the required 1000 prior to the Project course sequence.
Questions about practice experiences? Contact your Admissions Engagement Manager at  or by phone at 866.922.5690 for more details.

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.
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.