Doctor of Nursing Practice Professional Leadership Specialization

Our ACEN-accredited Doctor of Nursing Practice, professional leadership specialization is designed to foster the advanced practice of nursing within a complex health system. The program is open to nurses who have a minimum of one year of fulltime work experience in one of the following areas: Faculty role, hospital management/leadership, Advanced Practice Nurse (NP), Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

The DNP specialization is targeted toward nurses who are looking for education in a variety of courses that will allow them to take managerial or entrepreneurial roles in healthcare systems or smaller clinical settings. The program allows nurses to take courses that fit their career goals (instead of a pre-determined path which many DNP programs require).

Relevant Curriculum

Graduates of the DNP, professional leadership specialization will be able to:

  • Appraise the needs of complex organizations as they go through strategic decision-making and change implementation.
  • Critique roles of leaders and collaborators in planning, providing, and evaluating healthcare.
  • Generate strategic plans for organizational change by utilizing theoretical knowledge, meaningful, data and evidence-based practice to while being culturally and ethnically sensitive
  • Utilize evidence-based data and analytic methods to develop, implement and evaluate best practices to advance health care.
  • Engage in complex, evidence-based advanced nursing practice and evaluate innovative approaches to care delivery for individuals, communities and populations.
  • Work within interdisciplinary teams to effectively, promote health, enhance patient outcomes and improve health care delivery systems.

Flexible and Fast Program

  • Program is only 28 months long with rolling admission
  • Year one: four–day  residency, we pay for your stay; year two: two-day virtual residency
  • Schooling is 100% online except for residency in Aurora, CO

Affordable Tuition So You Can Earn Your DNP, Debt-Free

DNP Professional Leadership Course Highlights

The DNP Professional Leadership Specialization is uniquely structured so nurses take six courses from the core curriculum, but can then choose the seven specialization courses that best fit their career and educational goals.

  • Leadership: Setting the Example (N700PE): Sets the pace of the doctoral program and is focused on executive and educational leadership in a dynamic healthcare environment. Students explore contemporary leadership theories in the context of their own leadership styles, taking into account organizational culture, current health policies and governance complexities. This course includes 30 hours of practice experience activities.
  • Health Services Research (N725PE): Builds upon the foundational knowledge required to review and conduct research. Topics include problem and purpose proposals, significance of studies, background information, literature reviews, various study methods and designs, and implications for the profession. Students will develop a plan for research in their area of practice, applying useful knowledge that can be applied in the student’s current role. This course includes 30 hours of practice experiences.
  • Strategic Leadership and Planning (N761PE): This course focuses on organizational leadership and strategic planning theories to provide leadership and direction for the growth and success of a diverse health care organization, or academic institution. Topics include change management, strategy formulation, leadership development, and exploring the fundamentals of strategic planning through evaluation and implementation. This course includes 90 hours of practice experience activities.

View the entire DNP Professional Leadership curriculum

Practice Experiences: A More Active Way to Learn

The online nursing doctoral program in nursing educational leadership program at American Sentinel University contain practice experiences. This is done to meet the accreditor requirement that RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN or DNP programs include practice experiences in the curricula to enable students to achieve the required educational competencies (AACN White Paper, Oct. 2012; DNP Essentials for Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, 2006; ACEN 2013 Standards). These practice experiences have specific objectives, expected outcomes and competencies. Practice experiences are an opportunity to get away from traditional reading and writing assignments; instead these assignments are replaced with more active assignments.

Practice experiences are not like the clinical experiences you completed to obtain your degree as a registered nurse. Practice experiences do not involve hands-on patient care. They are designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply the concepts and knowledge you learn in the nursing courses.

See DNP Practice Experiences for more information.

Why Choose American Sentinel Over Other Schools?


  • DNP classes are online and designed for working professionals, giving you the convenience and control to participate in classes around your busy schedule.
  • Classes are only eight weeks in length.

Personal Support

  • MySentinel® Student Support is our distinctive personal approach to helping students succeed. As a DNP student, you will work exclusively with our fantastic student success advisors, Adam and Jessica, who will help guide you through graduation.


  • Our competitive tuition rates, various payment options and DNP Travel Assistance Program allow most of our students to graduate debt-free

A Track Record of Proven Student Success

  • We have educated students at some of the top healthcare organizations in the country: Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Health System, Johns Hopkins University, Kindred Healthcare, and the list goes on. These students along with thousands more have achieved personal goals, and new positions with their DNP, educational leadership specialization from American Sentinel University.

In-person Residency

  • Meet faculty and peers that will become your support team through graduation and beyond. We invite you to learn more about the DNP Residency.

AACN’s position statement calls for educating APRNs and other nurses seeking top leadership/organizational roles in DNP programs.

Are You Eligible?

The program is open to nurses who have a minimum of one year of fulltime work experience in one of the following areas (within the last 5 years):  Faculty role, hospital management/leadership, Advanced Practice Nurse (NP), Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), an active and unencumbered RN license  and an MSN from a regionally or nationally accredited institution.

DNP Professional Leadership Program Takeaways

What You’ll Get

  • Real-world solutions for your organization’s challenges
  • Connections to peers at leading organizations around the country
  • A deeper understanding of educating the next generation of nurses
  • A professional headshot

What You’ll Learn

  • How to leverage your advanced nursing experience with specialized education to manage practices and lead healthcare professionals.
  • The ability to adapt to all settings in the ever-changing healthcare industry

Program’s Mission

The mission of the DNP program is to prepare highly qualified nurse leaders and nurse educators to serve in competitive healthcare and higher education settings.