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Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Program

Aims and Assumptions

Yale School of Nursing’s founding dean, Annie W. Goodrich, wrote that nursing combines “the adventure of thought and the adventure of action.”* The post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program, like the Yale Ph.D. and master’s degree programs, is built upon this rich history and tradition of encouraging innovative and progressive thought as a guide for adventurous action and practice. The Yale School of Nursing’s D.N.P. program focuses on aggregates/systems and health care organizations. Nursing practice, within this focus, provides for interventions that influence health care outcomes for individuals and populations, administration of nursing and health care organizations, and the development and implementation of health policy. The curriculum is designed to prepare transformational leaders with the knowledge, skills, and ability to impact health care delivery and health policy essential to ensure patient-centered cultural safety and improve the quality of outcomes for diverse populations within and across health care systems and organizations.

An integrated theme throughout the curriculum is the importance of faculty and students working together to create forums for reflective action(s) essential for translating scientific evidence into guidelines for best practices across health care systems or other organizations. This part-time, three-year program is tailored for midcareer, working, master’s-prepared advanced practice nurses. Specifically, the D.N.P. combines online course work with intensive on-campus experiences. The entire program consists of seven required courses with selected corresponding clinical practica, culminating in a third-year residency and project.

*Annie Warburton Goodrich, The Social and Ethical Significance of Nursing (New York: Macmillan, 1933).

Upon completion of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, the graduate will demonstrate success in the areas of clinical practice, scholarship, and leadership, as follows:

Clinical Practice
  • • Integrate evidence-based nursing and other related sciences (i.e., ethics, philosophy, and historical issues inherent in the development of science; natural and psychosocial science; science of organizational systems) into a frame of reference essential for transforming health care delivery across the spectrum of health systems and other organizations.
  • • Utilize conceptual models and policies to evaluate and refine evidence-based advanced nursing practice that ensures cultural safety and high-quality health care outcomes for diverse populations.
  • • Incorporate informational systems in the design, implementation, and evaluation of cultural safety and high-quality health outcomes for diverse populations across the spectrum of health systems and organizations.
  • • Differentiate and apply pedagogies best responsive to the unique teaching/learning needs and goals of diverse populations including patients, students, and colleagues.
  • • Critically evaluate and integrate evidence-based findings that address clinical challenges, gaps, cultural safety, and high-quality and sustainable health outcomes into practice, health-related programs, and policy or advocacy.
  • • Provide transformational leadership that acts as a catalyst for change from a system-only perspective to a diverse, patient-centered perspective.
  • • Collaborate interprofessionally in order to foster cultural safety and high-quality and sustainable health outcomes for diverse populations across the spectrum of health systems and other organizations.
  • • Advocate for local, state, national, and international policies that are culturally responsive and have the potential to transform the spectrum of health care services from health promotion through palliative care.
  • • Lead interprofessional teams in the development, implementation, and evaluation of information systems (e.g., from EMRs to innovative, patient-centered education).

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Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a master’s degree in nursing or a related field (i.e., M.P.H., M.B.A., M.H.A.) and a current license to practice as a registered nurse in the United States (Connecticut licensure is not required). If the applicant’s bachelor of science degree is not in nursing, the master’s degree must be in nursing. Prior to enrolling, all candidates are required to have taken and passed (or to take and pass) a graduate-level statistics course.

Non-nursing master’s degree applicants are required to have a portfolio review conducted by no fewer than two members of the Yale School of Nursing’s Admissions Committee to determine the number of additional clinical hours that may be required.

A total of 1,000 practicum hours is required for the D.N.P. The D.N.P. program itself provides 697.5 practicum hours (45 in N958a, 90 in N964b, 45 in health policy, 67.5 in leadership, and 450 in a Leadership Immersion Practicum and D.N.P. Project). Those who entered with a master’s degree in nursing generally earned a minimum of 500 clinical hours and would therefore graduate from the D.N.P. program with a total of 1,197.5 hours, exceeding the required number of hours. By portfolio review, clinical hours prior to entry into the D.N.P. program for those with a non-nursing master’s degree will be determined by (1) the number of faculty-supervised hours in a health care management or policy experience, and (2) the number of faculty-supervised hours in a management, policy, or clinically related project or experience. Applicants who completed fewer than the 302. 5 hours needed to meet the required 1,000 hours must fulfill those hours during the first two years of the D.N.P. experience through any one of the following mentored/supervised leadership practica:

  • 1. Teaching assistant hours (1 full term for 1–2 credits, 45–90 hours)
  • 2. Independent study (1 credit equals 45 hours)
  • 3. Development of a clinically based protocol
  • 4. Outcomes evaluation of a clinical problem
  • 5. Mentored practicum.

Individual plans of study will be developed to include additional hours. These additional credit hours must be completed by the end of the second academic year of the program.

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Application Procedures

The following application materials are required:

  • 1. Online application form
  • 2. Nonrefundable application fee ($100)
  • 3. Current résumé/curriculum vitae
  • 4. Personal statement/essay
  • 5. One official transcript from each college or university attended (Note: Applicants with an international degree transcript must submit a course-by-course evaluation conducted by a credentialing agency such as World Education Services [wes.org] or Educational Credential Evaluators [ece.org]. In addition, a certified English translation must accompany all non-English transcripts.)
  • 6. Three letters of recommendation (clinical, academic, and/or professional)
  • 7. Scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required of all applicants for whom English is a second language. This requirement can be waived if the applicant has completed a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university in the United States or other English-speaking country.
  • 8. Applicants are required to upload an academic writing sample to the online application.

The Graduate Record Examination is not required.

Application information is available online at apply.nursing.yale.edu/apply. More information about the program can be obtained by visiting nursing.yale.edu/admissions; writing to the Office of Admissions, Yale School of Nursing, Yale University West Campus, PO Box 27399, West Haven CT 06516-0974; or calling 203.737.1793.

The application deadline is February 1. All application materials must be received by the YSN Office of Admissions by this date. Applications submitted after February 1 will not be considered for admission in the upcoming fall term.

Applications will be reviewed only after all application materials are received. Incomplete applications are not forwarded to the Admissions Committee for consideration. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are received by the Office of Admissions in a timely manner.

Students are admitted to degree programs without regard to their ability to pay. D.N.P. candidates are eligible for financial aid in the form of loans and scholarships (Diers Scholarships, Jonas Nursing Scholarships). U.S. citizens must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at fafsa.ed.gov. All students wishing to receive financial aid must also complete the School of Nursing Financial Aid Application, available on the School’s website. D.N.P. applicants must complete these applications by March 1, 2018. All financial information and files are kept strictly confidential.

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D.N.P. Project

All students are required to complete a D.N.P. project. All D.N.P. projects must be evidence-based and may take the form of educational projects, clinical guidelines or clinical change projects, safety/quality projects, or policy analyses. In the fall term of the first year, the student will work with the instructor of 957a, Evidence for Doctor of Nursing Practice, to identify a YSN faculty member who will be the student’s D.N.P. project adviser. The student and the D.N.P. project adviser must agree upon their working relationship by March 31 of the student’s first year. The student will implement the evidence-based D.N.P. project in a final-year immersion experience, 998a/b, Leadership Immersion.

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Program Requirements

Requirements for the D.N.P. degree include successful completion of the courses listed in the curriculum template below. The progression to graduation is contingent upon satisfactory completion of all courses, practica, a D.N.P. project, and a public presentation to the YSN community. Students must maintain a High Pass average to qualify for the final year. The D.N.P. program uses the same grading system as the rest of YSN’s programs.

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The following courses, in order, constitute the D.N.P. curriculum:

  • 957a, Evidence for Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • 958a, Evidence for Doctor of Nursing Practice Seminar
  • 955b, Ethical Analysis in Health Care (winter intensive)
  • 963b, Transformational Leadership in Professional Education
  • 964b, Transformational Leadership in Professional Education Practicum
  • 967c, Quality and Safety in Health Care Organizations (summer intensive)
  • 971a, Health Care Policy, Politics, and Process
  • 972a, Health Care Policy, Politics, and Process Practicum
  • 989a, D.N.P. Project Seminar
  • 977b, The Business of Health Care (winter intensive)
  • 981b, Leadership Development
  • 982b, Leadership Development Practicum
  • 989b, D.N.P. Project Seminar
  • 985c, Achieving Population Health Equity (summer intensive)
  • 998a/b, Leadership Immersion (final year)
  • 999a/b, D.N.P. Project: Evidence-based Practice Change (final year)

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