A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is a practice-focused doctoral program. This is different from a research-focused doctorate which prepares Nurse Educators and Researchers. A DNP degree prepared graduate is prepared to improve health and care outcomes through organizational/systems leadership, quality improvement processes, and translation of evidence into practice, among other ways.
For a DNP degree, there is a practice application-oriented final DNP project required rather than a dissertation, measured according to its contribution to improved outcomes. SVSU's DNP program is designed for busy nurses who work full-time. Each fall and winter semesters only one or two Saturday seminars are required and all other coursework is online. The program can be completed in three years, or longer if coursework is spread out for a lighter load each semester.
The Nurse Practitioner program at SVSU prepares registered nurses to practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). It also serves as an advanced degree for family nurse practitioners to prepare to practice in a complex health care system. Students in the FNP program are awarded a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree at the end of year three. They then have the option to take the FNP certification exam and begin practicing as an FNP.
Students then can continue or return at a later time to finish their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, while continuing to work as an FNP. The FNP program is part-time and offered in a hybrid learning environment, which is a combination of in-class and online instructional modes. A unique feature of the FNP program is the emphasis on rural health care with at least one clinical rotation in a rural health care setting.
A certificate program in nursing education is also available to FNP students, thus qualifying them to teach, in addition to practicing clinically.
Enhanced learning takes place in the new SVSU Health & Human Services building constructed in 2010, providing over 90,000 square feet of state of the art laboratories, simulation areas, high-tech educational rooms and computer facilities.