Building on the strength of the Magnet-designated VCU Health System and the School of Nursing’s Langston Center for Quality, Safety and Innovation, this program is strongly positioned to prepare students to improve the quality of health care delivery and patient outcomes. The Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” noted that nurses have a critical role in transforming today’s increasingly complex health care system and called for increased education to provide nurses with key knowledge and skills to expand their influence. In order to meet this charge, graduates of the D.N.P. program at VCU will be prepared to improve health care delivery by critically appraising scientific evidence to inform practice, sharing clinical expertise in collaborative and dynamic environments, leading interprofessional teams, providing systems leadership for sustainable best practices in clinical settings and influencing health policy.
Further, graduates of VCU’s School of Nursing D.N.P. program will be prepared to engage in evidence-based, clinically focused scholarship. With support from the Langston Center, students will design, implement and evaluate innovative projects that advance quality and safety science.
Designed to accommodate master’s-prepared nurses already established in advanced practice registered nurse or nurse executive positions, the D.N.P. program is planned as a post-master’s degree requiring completion of a minimum of 39 credits. While the traditional plan of study follows an eight-semester format, an accelerated option is also available. The program will employ an online format with students coming to campus three times per year.
The D.N.P. offers is a solution-focused program designed to prepare nurses to lead interprofessional efforts to develop patient quality and safety innovations, influence policy change in the transformation of health care systems and ensure ethical stewardship in practice. The program seeks to foster and broaden inquiry that sparks new insights as students make connections across disciplines to improve health care and its delivery. Building on the university’s mission to improve human health, VCU D.N.P. graduates will translate evidence that leads to sustainable practice change for improved patient quality and safety outcomes.
Students will achieve D.N.P.-level competencies by demonstrating:
- Use of quality and safety outcomes to evaluate practice improvement initiatives
- Skills in using evidence-based practice to achieve sustainable practice change
- Advanced decision-making skills founded in ethics and the highest level of nursing practice
- Leadership strategies to influence health policies
- Interprofessional collaboration in health care systems
Student learning outcomes
At the completion of the D.N.P. program, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Demonstrate strategic management skills in systems-based care delivery models and approaches designed to promote quality, safety and excellence in nursing practice
Assume a leadership role in the development, implementation and evaluation of health policies that improve quality and safety in health care systems
Translate and disseminate evidence-based practices to improve health care outcomes and reduce disparities
Integrate professional intra- and interdisciplinary best practices to create collaborative sustainable practice change
Integrate knowledge of specialized nursing practice with knowledge from other sciences as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice
Lead efforts to preserve, promote and improve the health of specialty populations
Use health information technology to promote best practices in health care systems
Ensure fiscal accountability when planning practice initiatives that will improve the quality of care delivery
Demonstrate advanced levels of ethical and moral judgment and decision-making
VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs
The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.
It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.
Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.
Degree candidacy requirements
A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.
Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.
Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.
VCU School of Nursing Student Policy and Information handbooks are located on the school’s website.
Our international and non-native English-speaking students bring different perspectives and new thinking to our nursing programs. To ensure that all incoming student are prepared for the school’s academic rigor, all international applicants and non-native English speaking applicants without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university must provide additional information with their applications according to the English language proficiency guidelines on the program admission tab.