The D.N.P. program is strongly positioned to prepare students to improve the quality of health care delivery and patient outcomes. 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. 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. 

The 66-credit hour B.S. to D.N.P. pathway will prepare students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the program to health care settings. Those students who pursue the program’s nurse practitioner concentrations will possess the knowledge and skills to serve as certified nurse practitioners in health care settings. The purpose of the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration is to prepare students with knowledge and skills to provide primary mental health care to individuals, families or populations across the life span in a wide range of settings. The focus of the courses is assessment, diagnosis and management of mental health problems including the promotion of optimal mental health as well as prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Program goals

Students will achieve D.N.P.-level competencies by demonstrating:

  1. Use of quality and safety outcomes to evaluate practice improvement initiatives
  2. Skills in using evidence-based practice to achieve sustainable practice change
  3. Advanced decision-making skills founded in ethics and the highest level of nursing practice
  4. Leadership strategies to influence health policies
  5. 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:

  1. Synthesize knowledge from nursing and other sciences to lead efforts to promote health and improve outcomes of individuals, populations and systems

  2. Demonstrate integration of population health concepts in systems-based care delivery models designed to promote quality, safety and excellence in advanced nursing practice

  3. Lead the development, implementation and evaluation of policy initiatives to improve quality and safety in health care systems
  4. Translate and disseminate evidence-based practices toward improving health care outcomes and reducing disparities
  5. Lead innovative approaches in the application of health information technology that supports delivery and evaluation of patient-centered care

  6. Apply principles of ethical and moral reasoning in advanced practice roles to lead to sustainable change in health care

  7. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical and ethical judgement, systems thinking and accountability in designing, delivering and evaluating evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes

Concentration-specific outcomes for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner

Students who select this concentration will be able to meet the following outcomes:

  1. Perform mental health assessment, diagnosis and management of mental health problems and psychiatric disorders for individuals and families
  2. Synthesize knowledge and theories from advanced practice nursing and related sciences to complete a clinical practicum in psychiatric-mental health care with patients across the lifespan

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.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

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.