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2016-2017 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.


The Kirkhof College of Nursing offers a program of graduate study leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree. The D.N.P. program prepares nurse leaders who will contribute to the nursing profession and improve the health of society with an emphasis on either advanced clinical primary care or health systems leadership. 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.

The KCON DNP graduate will be prepared to:

  1. Provide advanced and complex care within an area of specialization in nursing that is scientifically and evidence-based and incorporates the science of nursing and other disciplines to optimize the functioning of human beings and 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 scholarship for evidence-based practice and active leadership in local and national professional groups.

Admission to Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The D.N.P. program is designed for both postbaccalaureate in nursing (B.S.N.) and post-master's degree entry. If a post B.S.N. applicant, the B.S.N. program must have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA). Applicants who have not yet graduated with a B.S.N. must anticipate that they will do so before enrolling.

  1. Complete the GVSU graduate application available at specifying the D.N.P. option
  2. Select one of two program emphases: advanced practice primary care (child/adolescent or adult/older adult) or health systems leadership
  3. Submit transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework (if applicable)
  4. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all undergraduate coursework
  5. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all graduate coursework (if applicable)
  6. Submit a written goal statement describing professional and educational goals.
  7. Submit a current curriculum vitae/resume.
  8. Submit a scholarly writing exercise, using the guidelines in the online application.
  9. Participate in an interview process with KCON faculty.
  10. International student applicants must meet TOEFL requirements for GVSU.

Full admission is contingent on successful completion of the following:

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

A new class will begin the D.N.P. program each fall semester. 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 B.S.N. students pursuing an advanced practice primary care 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 M.S.N. students who do not hold a current national primary care 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 health systems leadership track will be eligible for and encouraged to sit for national certification as a nurse executive.

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