Starting and Operating an Educational and Executive Leadership DNP Program: From A to Z

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 4:15 PM

Elaine Foster, PhD, MSN
Karen R. Whitham, EdD, RN, CNE
Nursing Department, American Sentinel University, Aurora, CO, USA

The focus of this presentation is to share the journey of a rapidly growing DNP program with specializations in the areas of Executive Leadership, Educational Leadership and Informatics Leadership. We will outline our journey over the past few years, including the challenges we faced and the solutions that we developed to deal with the various issues.

The shortage of doctoral prepared nurses has prompted the development of creative and innovative ways of delivering practice focused education to busy nursing executives and educational leaders. The development of an online program with a heavy emphasis on implementation science is designed to meet the real needs of nurse leaders in today’s changing healthcare environment. Throughout the program, the focus is for the student to utilize real life problems in their work environment as the focus of their assignment and projects. Utilizing best practice models, feedback from the doctoral students and input from the Professional Advisory Board, has led to the incorporation of the Program Learning Outcomes into the workplace setting. This has been accomplished through innovative practice learning experiences and relevant capstone projects that meet the learning needs of the students while providing support and solutions for real issues within the student’s work environment.

The rapid growth of the program has prompted creative ways to assist students in their educational journey and in the development of their DNP projects. This presentation will focus on the life-cycle of a DNP student in the three specialization tracks. We will share with the audience an example of our DNP Project rooms and the process whereby students move through the project, including all the checkpoints that they must meet before their proposal and final defense. We will also discuss how DNP Project Chairs are assigned, how chairing calculates towards their teaching load and how a proposal and final project defense are conducted via an online university.