Doctor of Nursing Practice


A Higher Level of Nursing Leadership

Alverno College's Doctor of Nursing Practice degree will prepare you to assume leadership roles in complex clinical environments, lead the development of health care policy, translate research into practice and serve as role models, facilitators, consultants and expert clinicians in health care.

In response to market demand and the increasingly complex health care landscape, Alverno launched the Doctor of Nursing degree in January 2017. Throughout the program, you will have access to the expertise and resources you need to take your leadership skills to the next level.

 Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Two tracks
• Leadership (32 credits)
• Direct Care (30 credits)

 DNP Program Highlights 

  • Twelve courses are offered in a flexible hybrid format that blends online and classroom education to develop knowledge and skills in key areas.
  • The cohort model offers year-round classes in manageable, eight-week blocks. Cohort starts are in January.
  • Students can attend full or part time; the program can be completed in 18 months with full time attendance.
  • Advanced outcomes include leadership, interdisciplinary collaboration, evidence-based translation practice, advanced communication and informatics. 

    Clinical Practicum Experience


The overriding purpose of Alverno College DNP clinical practica is to provide situated, in-depth advanced nursing practice knowledge and practice experiences for doctoral students to further develop a systems approach to the health care environment.

Clinical Practicum Hours

The DNP degree requires “a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate as part of a supervised academic program” (AACN, 2006, p.19), and in the Alverno College DNP curriculum, required practicum hours are spread across two courses: DNP 830 Clinical Practicum I and DNP 930 Clinical Practicum II. With sufficiently detailed and accurate documentation, as determined by the DNP program chair prior to admission DNP program direct care track, MSN-prepared NPs, CNSs, CNMs, and CNRAs with evidence of current national board certification who are practicing in their specialty APRN role, may receive transfer credit for up to 600 supervised clinical practicum hours completed during their MSN specialty track education. Students granted transfer credit for 600 practicum hours are required to complete 400 practicum hours in their specialty role in the DNP program; students in the direct care track granted transfer credit for 500 practicum hours are required to complete 500 practicum hours in their specialty role in the DNP program, and so on.

The Clinical Practicum Site and Preceptor

All DNP students are encouraged to identify a potential clinical practicum site and preceptor; however Becca Skidmore, JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing and Health Professions clinical placement coordinator, is available to assist students in this process if necessary. The selected practicum site must be an organization consistent with (a) the practice area for which the student wishes to develop expertise and (b) the focus of the student’s DNPP. Appropriate practicum site examples include a hospital, clinic, health care system, public health agency, parish, long-term care facility, or nonprofit agency. Other site options may be discussed and negotiated with the DNP program chair. Students must comply with all requirements of the practicum site.

All DNP students are encouraged to select a clinical practicum site outside of their current work/department/unit employment setting whenever possible. If the student chooses a practicum site where employed, current employment and practicum and DNPP hours bust be clearly differentiated by the agency involved and the Graduate Nursing Admission and Advancement Committee. DNP practicum and DNPP hours may not run concurrently with the student’s work hours.

The qualified preceptor is knowledgeable in the practice area in which the student wishes to develop expertise. While a DNP is preferred for the preceptor role, examples of persons who may also fulfill this role include: a professional who has a doctoral degree in a discipline other than nursing and/or considerable experience and recognition as an expert in her or his field, an experienced physician, and a nurse holding a high-level administrative position (e.g., Director, Vice President, President, or CEO). The preceptor must have worked in the practicum site for a minimum of one year. The preceptor may not be the immediate supervisor of or a familial relative of the student.

The Practicum Experience

In accordance with AACN (2006) requirements, clinical practica in the Alverno College DNP program are designed to “help students build and assimilate knowledge for advanced specialty practice at a high level of complexity” (p. 19). At the start of each semester, DNP students collaborate with their preceptor to develop outcomes for the clinical practicum experience. While DNP students may complete practicum hours in their place of employment, it is expected that these learning experiences are related to course outcomes, go above and beyond usual job duties, involve synthesis and expansion of knowledge, and provide systematic opportunities for expert feedback and self-reflection. Some examples of learning activities that constitute DNP practicum hours include:
• Time spent researching, designing, implementing, and writing the DNPP (maximum of 100 hours)
• Time spent with an approved preceptor in areas such as health care administration and organizational leadership, health policy development and law, informatics, or nursing education.
• Time spent presenting at educational forums, hospital grand-rounds, regional or national nursing conferences, or in writing/producing manuscripts for publication (with prior approval of the DNP program chair/maximum of 20 hours)
• Time spent working on special projects related to the DNP student’s area of specialization (with prior approval of the DNP program chair/maximum of 20 hours)
• Time spent attending and participating in conferences, classes, and workshops related to the DNP student’s area of specialization or DNPP (with prior approval of the DNP program chair/ maximum of 20 hours)
• Direct patient care experiences: With prior approval of the DNP program chair, students who are actively board certified in an advanced practice nursing role may include up to 50 hours of direct patient care experiences, if the experiences are related to their practice setting, to meet the 8th Essential as defined in The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006). Students who do not hold current board certification in advanced practice nursing may not use time providing direct patient care to meet practicum hour requirements.

  Graduate Nursing Program Leaders


Diane Duffy PhD, RN

Director of Graduate Nursing Program


 Patti Varga


Joann McGrath School of Nursing

and Health Profesionals Dean 

Doctorate of Nursing Practice Program Chair


Contact Janet Stikel at 414-382-6112 or for admissions requirements. 

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