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2012-2013 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Doctor of Nursing Practice - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Kirkhof College of Nursing section in this catalog.

Associate Dean: Scott. Professors: Bostrom, Coviak, Grinstead, McCurren, Scott; Associate Professors: Bambini, Barry, Beel-Bates, Brintnall, Davis, Jensen, Leder, Mupepi, Schafer, Schoofs, Van Doren; Assistant Professors: Conrad, Harrington, Houghton-Rahrig, Mlynarczyk, Reick, Ryan, Vandenbosch, Washburn, Winter; Affiliate Faculty: Bollman, Bayus, Carlson, Chillag, Cooper, Cunningham, Damstra, Fenbert, Hooper, Jarchow, Leigh, Sanchez, Shaw, Stockdale; Visiting Assistant Professor: Abood, Pattison, Sheehan, Weisbeck, Wallace.


The Kirkhof College of Nursing offers a program of graduate study leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The DNP program prepares nurse leaders who will contribute to the nursing profession and improve the health of society with an emphasis on either advanced clinical or administrative practice. The changing demands of this nation's complex health care environment require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practical expertise to assure high quality patient outcomes.

Graduates will be prepared to:

  1. Provide advanced and complex care within an area of specialization in nursing that is scientifically and evidence-based; incorporating the science of nursing and other disciplines to optimize the functioning of individuals, their families, and communities.
  2. Use organizational and systems leadership, information technology, interprofessional collaboration, and policy advocacy to improve and transform health care.
  3. Contribute to the practice of nursing through clinical expertise, clinical scholarship for evidence-based practice, and active leadership in local, regional, and national professional groups.

Admission to Doctorate in Nursing Practice

The DNP program is designed for both post-baccalaureate in nursing (BSN) and post-master's degree in nursing (MSN) entry. If a post-BSN applicant, the BSN program must have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or National League for Nursing (NLN). If a post-MSN applicant, both the BSN and MSN programs must have been accredited by CCNE or NLN. Official transcripts must verify completion of BSN and/or MSN program(s) in nursing.

  1. Complete the GVSU graduate application available at specifying the DNP option.
  2. Select one of two program emphases: advanced practice (child/adolescent or adult/older adult) or nursing administration and health care systems.
  3. Submit transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  4. Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all undergraduate coursework for a BSN to DNP applicant.
  5. Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all graduate coursework for a MSN to DNP applicant.
  6. Submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE scores). In general, scores on the GRE for successful applicants are 153 and higher for the verbal sale, 144 and higher for the quantitative scale, and a score of 4.0 for analytical writing. For students who completed the GRE before August 2011, preferred scores remain 500 and above for both verbal and quantitative scales, and 4.0 for analytical writing. Students who completed the GRE prior to the analytical writing assessment and whose scholarly writing assessment samples are deemed inadequate will be required to retake the GRE.
  7. The GRE requirement will be waived for post-BSN applicants who have an undergraduate nursing GPA of 3.3 or higher and for post-MSN applicants who have a graduate GPA of 3.3 or higher.
  8. Prepare a written goal statement describing professional and educational goals.
  9. Submit a current curriculum vitae/resume.
  10. Participate in an interview process and scholarly writing exercise as requested.
  11. International student applicants must meet TOEFL requirements for GVSU.

Full admission is contingent on successful completion of the following:

  1. Current licensure to practice nursing in Michigan.
  2. A required criminal background check and drug screen.
  3. Health record documentation and immunization requirements.

An admission cohort will begin the DNP curriculum each fall semester. For consideration for admission, the application and supplemental materials must be received by February 1 of the calendar year in which the student desires entry.

Advanced Practice Certification

Post-BSN students pursuing an advanced practice emphasis must complete the didactic and clinical courses in a selected population (child/adolescent or adult/older adult) which will qualify them to sit for national primary care specialty certification (pediatrics, adult health, gerontology). Post-MSN students who do not hold a current national advanced practice certification in a clinical specialty must complete the didactic and clinical courses that will qualify them to sit for national primary care specialty certification in a selected population (pediatrics, adult health, gerontology).

Nurse Executive Certification

Students completing the nursing administration and healthcare systems track will be eligible for and encouraged to sit for national certification as a nurse executive.

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.