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Doctor of Nursing Practice: D.N.P.

Doctor of Nursing Practice: D.N.P.

The focus of the Simmons College Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program is Professional Practice Leadership. The program will develop nursing leaders who will improve health care outcomes in clinical practice, research and management. Graduates will have the clinical, organizational and leadership skills to meet the changing demands of the present and future health care system. The DNP is a practice-focused degree analogous to professional doctoral degrees in other disciplines, including Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Medicine, Dentistry and Clinical Psychology. The DNP differs from the PhD in its emphasis on practice and practice-related research.

The Simmons DNP was developed in full compliance with professional standards for the practice doctorate ("Doctoral Essentials") developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

The Simmons DNP is Designed For...

  1. Experienced advanced practice nurses (Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) who have had at least two years (approximately 5000 hours) of advanced practice experience (Post-Master's DNP in Practice Leadership);
  2. Experienced Nurse Managers who have had a minimum of 2 years (approximately 5000 hours) in a managerial or executive role (Post-Master's DNP in Practice Leadership)

The DNP program is offered in a "blended" format. Classes are taught online and students are required to attend two on-campus residencies per semester. Courses are designed to expand practice and to prepare students as leaders in nursing and the health care system. Students are required to complete a practice-based Capstone Project, as well as document DNP-related practice and policy experience in a comprehensive DNP portfolio.

The Simmons College Baccalaureate, Master's and D.N.P  degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).


The Post-Master's DNP program builds on students' clinical experience and educational preparation by enabling  graduates to assume leadership roles in professional practice.  Specifically, the DNP will prepare students to:

  1. Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical and organizational sciences.
  2. Demonstrate leadership in organizations and health care systems to promote safe and efficient care delivery to both individuals and populations.
  3. Conduct practice-based research.
  4. Utilize technology and informatics to improve health care and to implement change in health care systems.
  5. Design, influence and implement health care policies that affect health care financing, practice regulation, access to care, safety, quality, and efficacy of care.
  6. Collaborate with interdisciplinary professionals and teams to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  7. Assume a leadership role in the design of evidence-based interventions that enhance clinical prevention and population health.

Adapted from the AACN Doctoral Essentials (2006)