Begin your journey as a nurse leader through Waynesburg University's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. DNP graduates are prepared to serve in positions, such as VP of Patient Care Services, Director of Education and Training, Director of Quality Initiatives, Director of Organizational Development, or Clinical Services Director. As a graduate of the DNP program, you will develop sophisticated skills in the following highly desired areas:

  • Leadership of teams and organizations
  • Strategic planning and resource utilization
  • Critical evaluation and application of current research and best practice protocols
  • Team building and inter-professional collaboration
  • Measurement and analysis of healthcare outcomes
  • Development and management of quality improvement initiatives
  • Quantitative data management
  • Information management and utilization in decision-making

Cohorts begin each fall and meet at the Monroeville center. Each course will meet one weekend every other month in the 15 week semester, with learning activities and assignments to be completed between seminars. This 36 credit (additional credits at the master's level may be required for some students, depending on previous coursework) program is completed on a part-time basis, with degree completion in 3 years (12 credits per year) or 4 years (9 credits per year).

Waynesburg's graduate nursing programs prepare students for further certificates:

 Possible Certificate(s)  Transferable Hours  Eligibility Information

 ANCC Nurse Executive Advanced Exam

 Varies ANCC

 AONE Certified Executive Nursing Practice Exam

 Varies* AONE

*Additional clinical experience and practice hours that are not part of the Waynesburg DNP curriculum may also be required

Contact Information

Teresa Robinette
Phone: (724) 743-7612
Or Text Questions to: (724) 710-9959


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Program Features

• Flexible course scheduling for the student who is balancing personal, professional and educational responsibilities

• 36 credit degree completed within three or four years

• Cohorts start every Fall semester and classes meet one weekend every other month

• Year-round course offerings with scheduled breaks throughout the year

• Face-to-face learning environment that is complimented by an online component easily accessed at your convenience

• Learn relevant theories and practice with immediate implementation within your organization

• Career advisement to meet your short and long term professional goals

• Free academic supportive services in writing, math and computer skills

Admissions Requirements

  • Current USA RN license

  • Official BSN and MSN, or graduate degree in another discipline, transcripts

  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 or greater

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Minimum two recommendation forms

  • Narrative statement of career goals and how the program will enable achievement of those goals.

  • Written letter of support from clinical practice setting

  • Advanced Practice Nurses must provide evidence of national certification or documented 500 hours of clinical practice during their MSN program, completion of coursework in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, advanced health assessment.

  • Portfolio evidence of professional career; applicants without the MSN degree must provide written validation of how they have met the 2011 AACN MSN Essentials

  • Personal Interview

Degree Plans

Three Year Degree Plan (36 credits)

Year 1 Courses (12 credits total)

NUR 608: Interprofessional Collaboration and Team Facilitation

NUR 606: Healthcare Systems Leadership

NUR 665: Healthcare Systems Leadership Seminar and Practicum I (3 credits and 125 hours)

NUR 605: Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Transforming the Practice Environment

Year 2 Courses (12 credits total)

NUR 607:Healthcare Outcomes

NUR 609: Healthcare Quality Initiatives

NUR 666: Healthcare Systems Leadership Seminar and Practicum II (3 credits and 125 hours)

NUR 615: Quantitative Methods for Nursing Leadership

Year 3 Courses (12 credits total)

NUR 616: Healthcare Information Management

NUR 667: Healthcare Systems Leadership Seminar and Practicum III (3 credits and 125 hours)

NUR 617: Principles of Strategic Planning

NUR 699: Capstone Seminar and Practicum (3 credits and 125 hours, plus final defense of change project)

Four Year Degree Plan (36 credits)

Year 1 Courses (9 credits total)

NUR 608: Interprofessional Collaboration and Team Facilitation

NUR 606: Healthcare Systems Leadership

NUR 605: Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Transforming the Practice Environment

Year 2 Courses (9 credits total)

NUR 607:Healthcare Outcomes

NUR 665: Healthcare Systems Leadership Seminar and Practicum I (3 credits and 125 hours)

NUR 615: Quantitative Methods for Nursing Leadership

Year 3 Courses (9 credits total)

NUR 616: Healthcare Information Management

NUR 666: Healthcare Systems Leadership Seminar and Practicum II (3 credits and 125 hours)

NUR 609: Healthcare Quality Initiatives

Year 4 Courses (9 credits total)

NUR 667: Healthcare Systems Leadership Seminar and Practicum III (3 credits and 125 hours)

NUR 617: Principles of Strategic Planning

NUR 699: Capstone Seminar and Practicum (3 credits and 125 hours, plus final defense of change project)


GRD 999. Graduate Advisement 1 credit

Registration for this course allows for continuous enrollment in a graduate program, and provides the student with ongoing faculty guidance, supervision, and use of University resources as the final program requirements are being implemented and evaluated. This course is generally taken as a continuation of capstone courses. Pass-fail grade.

NUR 605. Evidence-based Practice: Transforming the Practice Environment 3 credits

This course introduces the concepts associated with evidence-based nursing practice models. The steps in implementing evidence-based practice are explored in depth, including the following: selecting a clinical or knowledge question or problem, forming a team, retrieving the evidence from published literature, evaluating the strength of the evidence, critiquing research and practice guidelines, synthesizing the research, examining patient preferences, making evidence-based practice recommendations, deciding to change practice, implementing the practice change, evaluating the outcomes, and diffusing the innovation. Issues related to information management technology will be introduced. Strategies for creating a culture of evidence-based practice, both for individuals and systems, will be identified, and the barriers to evidence-based practice will also be identified. The concept of translation science and tools for applying evidence to practice will be emphasized. The goal of this course is to provide the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to assume a leadership role in transforming healthcare and educational environments.

NUR 606. Healthcare Systems Leadership 3 credits

The purpose of this course is to provide a comprehensive exploration of leadership theories and principles, as well as innovative leadership techniques. Units of content will focus on systems thinking, values and ethics, human resource utilization, legal issues, decision-making, organizational culture and climate, communication skills, succession planning, theories of change and change leadership, creation of learning communities, professional accountability, and leadership within professional nursing organizations. Qualities and behaviors associated with exemplary leadership will be identified. The goal of this course is to develop and refine the leadership skills of the student as he/she works to transform practice and educational environments in order to enhance the quality of nursing and healthcare delivery systems. The student will be expected to use his/her own work environment as a learning laboratory to assess and develop existing leadership structures.

NUR 607. Healthcare Outcomes 3 credits

This course examines concepts related to healthcare outcomes identification, measurement, management, and planning for improved outcomes. Goals for healthcare outcomes and the delivery of healthcare will be identified relative to health promotion, disease prevention, disease management, and the design of innovative healthcare delivery models. Units will focus on principles and concepts associated with epidemiology; healthcare evaluation design; methodologies for outcomes research; use of epidemiological, biostatistical, environmental, geographic, genetic, behavioral, and socioeconomic data to evaluate outcomes of healthcare delivery; processes in program evaluation; use of outcomes data to shape healthcare policy; measurement of cost-effectiveness; and the development of new practice guidelines based on outcomes research. The goal of this course is to provide the knowledge, skills, and tools needed for leadership in healthcare outcomes management and planning.

NUR 608. Interprofessional Collaboration and Team Building 3 credits

This course focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary to provide exemplary leadership of groups and teams, with an emphasis on relationship building and team building. Units of content include effective communication with groups and teams, conflict management and resolution, group process and techniques for effectively leading meetings, the application of adult learning principles, emotional intelligence, characteristics of effective teams, roles and scope of practice of various healthcare professionals, and the creation of a professional practice culture. The student will complete various assessments to determine the effectiveness of practice environment communication, meetings, and groups/teams. Guided facilitation of meetings will be included as a learning experience. The goal of this course is to further enhance the student’s leadership skill development in order to resolve complex clinical situations and improve practice environments so that best practice standards are operationalized.

NUR 609. Healthcare Quality Initiatives 3 credits

This course will focus on the role of the nurse executive in quality initiatives. Strategies for creating a culture of quality will be examined, including the application of Six Sigma principles and techniques. Concepts associated with quality management will be explored, including review of quality standards and benchmarks, systems thinking, and the collection of reliable data regarding quality. Units of content will also include the application of statistical methods for data analysis, the process of root cause analysis, the plan-do-check-act cycle, the nature and analysis of sentinel events, the prevention of errors, measuring customer satisfaction, and the process of continuous quality improvement within healthcare and educational institutions. The goal of the course is to provide the scientific knowledge base and practical tools necessary for leadership of healthcare quality initiatives, so that an organizational quality infrastructure can be built.

NUR 615. Quantitative Methods for Nurse Executives 3 credits

This course provides an overview of quantitative methods for applying data in the process of decision-making within a healthcare environment. Units of content include forecasting, the processes of decision-making based on data and decision trees, making choices for location and physical layout design of healthcare services, the processes associated with reengineering and work redesign, the use of data in determining staffing and scheduling decisions, measurement of productivity, making resource allocation and inventory decisions, the use of data in quality initiatives, project management, and capacity planning. The goal of this course is to ensure that the nurse executive makes decisions based on data that has been reliably collected and analyzed, so that efficient and effective decisions can be made that allow the organization to be successful.

NUR 616. Healthcare Information Management and Technology 3 credits

This course provides the student with an opportunity to examine the value of health information management using computer technology. Units of content will explore methods for choosing information and technology systems to support the following aspects of healthcare leadership: information literacy for evidence-based practice, quality improvement and outcomes evaluation, management tasks, educational processes, clinical information systems, clinical decision support systems, electronic medical records, clinical pathways, clinical protocols and guidelines, personal digital assistants, and classification systems for documentation. Standards and principles for selecting and evaluating information systems will be discussed, along with ethical and legal issues. The student will gain practice in extracting data from information systems and data dashboards in order to make decisions, and will participate in institutional evaluation of existing information management systems in his/her own work setting.

NUR 617. Principles of Strategic Planning 3 credits

This course focuses on the process of strategic planning as part of the executive leadership role. Units of content include: the development of a strategic vision, writing a mission and philosophy, SWOT and gap analyses, assessment of the external environment, organizational assessment, internal strengths and limitations, health economics and health finance, forecasting, soliciting consumer input into organizational goals, defining organizational goals, acquisition and allocation of resources, practice innovations and clinical program development, workflow design and redesign, program planning and evaluation, risk anticipation and risk management, marketing principles, and the measurement and analysis of performance. Strategic thinking is encouraged within each unit and each learning activity. The student will be expected to participate in strategic planning sessions in his/her own work environment and to evaluate existing strategic plans. The goal of this course is to ensure that the student is prepared to assume accountability for improving the health outcomes of individuals and aggregates.

NUR 625. Seminar on College Teaching 3 credits

This course is designed to develop and refine knowledge and skills associated with teaching at a college or university. Unit of content focus on the purposes and structure of higher education, the processes of preparing and managing a course, the appropriate selection of teaching strategies to achieve various student learning outcomes, methods for assessing student learning outcomes, and the work of the faculty member beyond teaching responsibilities. Ultimately, this course will assist Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduates to make an effective transition from clinical practice, administration, or teaching in basic nursing programs to teaching in undergraduate and graduate programs within college or university settings, incorporating the DNP commitment to scholarship and nursing practice innovation as they carry out new faculty roles.

NUR 665. Healthcare System Leadership Seminar and Practicum I 3 credits

During the 125 hour practicum activities associated with this course, students will use leadership theories and principles to provide leadership in the changing practice environment in order to improve the outcomes of patient care. Mentorship will be provided by a clinical expert within the practicum setting of the student. Seminar hours are included in this course, to provide the student with the opportunity to participate in a learning community of colleagues and scholars who will serve as consultant. Issues related to implementation of the change project will be explored, with a focus on the application of leadership skills in the process of transforming the practice environment toward a more effective, evidence-based model of care delivery.

NUR 666. Healthcare System Leadership Seminar & Practicum II 3 credits

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with opportunities to refine leadership skills related to outcomes measurement and quality initiatives within a clinical practice environment. Using the knowledge and skills gained in the prerequisite courses and concurrent course, the student will lead a quality initiative based on the analysis of outcomes data. In the 125 hours of practicum experience, the student will form a quality improvement team and collaborate with members of the healthcare disciplines on a project designed to achieve positive healthcare outcomes. The student will be expected to formulate practice guidelines and clinical protocols using best available evidence. In the seminar hours associated with this course, the student will consult with his/her peers to examine system leadership issues, implementation issues, collaboration issues, and team facilitation issues in order to maximize the outcomes of the projects.

NUR 667. Healthcare System Leadership Seminar & Practicum III 3 credits

This course provides the student with the opportunity to analyze the role of the nurse executive, through 125 guided hours of practicum experience with a seasoned preceptor at the system level in the work environment which best matches the student’s initial career goals following completion of the DNP curriculum. Learning experiences will focus on the following: processes associated with budget and finance, strategies for managing and developing human resources, healthcare policy, legal and ethical issues, program and patient care delivery design and implementation, utilization of information systems, meeting facilitation at the organizational or system level, application of analytical skills in decision-making, communication and relationship building, interprofessional collaboration, succession planning, and strategic planning. During this practicum, the student will design a change project that will have system impact resulting in organizational change and immediate improvement in the quality of healthcare and nursing. This change project, aimed at clinical translation and direct application to practice, will be presented to the student’s capstone project committee for review and approval prior to implementation. Asynchronous discussion will focus on identity development related to the nurse executive role. The students in the course will serve as consultative peers in exploration of issues and strategies for developing skills as a nurse executive. Prerequisites: NUR 605, 606, 607, 608, and 609.

NUR 668. Clinical Residency 3 credits

The clinical residency experience will provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate expertise in practice and will be individualized for students based on their prior education and experience. Residency experiences will be designed to help students build and assimilate knowledge for advanced specialty practice at a high level of complexity. In depth work with experts from nursing and other disciplines will be incorporated to provide opportunities for meaningful student engagement within practice environments. This residency is designed to provide an opportunity for doctoral students enrolled in the program to fulfill the practice experience requirements specified in the DNP curriculum. The curriculum is based on the DNP Essentials developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2006) which outline competencies expected of DNP graduates and designate a minimum of 1000 hours of post-baccalaureate practice. These hours can be accumulated over the life of the program but the practice requirement must be fulfilled prior to implementation of the capstone project. Students who have had supervised practice requirements as part of a clinical MSN program will have already accumulated a portion of these required hours prior to entering the DNP program. Pass-fail grade.

NUR 699. Capstone Project 3-4 credits

This capstone course provides the student with the opportunity to synthesize previous learning in the implementation and evaluation of a system level change designed to immediately improve healthcare outcomes. During the 125 hours associated with this course (166 hours for 4 credit capstone project), the student will conduct a change project based on principles of science and evidence-based practice, healthcare quality, and systems leadership. Successful completion of this final practicum will require the student to present the results of the change project to his/her capstone project committee for their review and approval of the cumulative scholarly work. It is expected that this project will demonstrate the measurement and evaluation of outcomes resulting from the organizational change. Discussions with the capstone committee will focus on the sophisticated leadership skills required of the nurse executive, including the highest level of analytic thinking and problem-solving skills. Prerequisites: Completion of 33 DNP credits (32 DNP credits for 4 credit capstone project) and all clinical residencies. Pass-fail grade.

Meet the Directors

DNP Staff

Kimberly Stephens

Co-Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program - Assistant Professor of Nursing

Administration DNP GAPS Nursing
Kimberly Whiteman

Co-Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program - Associate Professor of Nursing

DNP GAPS Nursing


The baccalaureate degree in nursing, the master's degree in nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice at Waynesburg University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791.