Jun 17, 2019  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)

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Director, Doctoral Nursing Education Program
Marilyn Daley, DNP, APRN

Office:  Sylvia Trottier Hall - Room 310

Phone:  603-897-8652
e-mail: mdaley@rivier.edu

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed for advanced practice nurses with a master’s degree or post-master’s certificate who have successfully passed the national nurse practitioner certification exam. The curriculum includes content which enables graduates to conduct complex diagnostic and treatment modalities, utilize informatics to enhance clinical decision-making, and critically evaluate scholarly research.

The DNP is not a research-focused degree, but a clinically-focused degree designed to improve patient outcomes.  The program competencies are supported by the completion of core classes that are designed to help the student exit the program practicing as an expert clinician.  These practitioners are also prepared to be leaders in industry, designed to advocate for targeted change to improve the healthcare environment.  Although this degree is not targeted to develop clinicians that contribute to original research, they will be prepared to interpret quantitative research studies and synthesize the evidence for its relevance to improving patient outcomes.  Specialized emphasis includes: (1) direct care of individual patients. (2) care of patient populations, including community health nursing; and (3) practice that supports patient care.

Graduates of our DNP program will be prepared to become nurse leaders in interdisciplinary health care teams and work to improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality and safety. Our program format offers flexibility to accommodate nurses’ work schedules and family commitments.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Apply advanced clinical judgment and accountability in the design, delivery and evaluation of evidence based care to individuals, families and populations.
  • Demonstrate mastery of professional competencies leading to improved patient safety.
  • Synthesize and utilize the highest level of evidence available in research into the practice arena.
  • Integrate, evaluate and apply new knowledge and technology in advanced practice, administration and education to improve patient outcomes.
  • Provide leadership in collaborative efforts among health professionals and with clients and community partners.
  • Lead in the vision, development, implementation and evaluation of care delivery approaches that ensure ethical stewardship, accountability, quality and patient safety.

General Program Requirements

To satisfy program requirements, each student must meet the following criteria:

  • Maintain a minimum of a “B” in all course work and practicums;
  • Submit a scholarly project to be approved by the DNP faculty committee;
  • Attend all five campus “intensive” visits scheduled during the entire program;
  • Maintain continuous enrollment until the scholarly project is completed;
  • Complete course work and scholarly project leading to final presentation and faculty approval;
  • Complete all program requirements and the scholarly project within eight years from the first semester of enrollment. To continue in the program past eight years requires the student to apply for an extension that includes a timeframe for completion of all requirements, and the expected date of graduation.

Admission Requirements

An applicant for the doctorate must meet the following specific requirements:

Potential candidates should hold a current Master’s Degree from an Accredited School of Nursing, as well as a current APRN license and certificate of National Certification in Advanced Practice Nursing.

Application Procedure

The items below must be submitted by the applicant to the Office of Graduate Admissions, Rivier University, 420 South Main St, Nashua, NH 03060:

The following items should be submitted to the admissions office to be considered for admission to the program:

  • A copy of official transcripts of all post-secondary education.
  • Two (2) recommendation letters in sealed envelopes. One letter must be from a direct supervisor or professional who can address your clinical expertise and leadership potential. The second letter may also be a professional recommendation or else a recent academic instructor who may address your professional strengths as a student.  These letters should be submitted in sealed envelopes, or else emailed directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions via US mail or email with your name (students name) being considered for admission in the subject line.
  • A copy of your unencumbered, active advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license in the state where practicums will be conducted.
  • A statement of purpose (1-2 pages) that gives your reasons for pursuing the DNP and shows how your interests align with one of the eight AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Keep in mind that this exercise may be a springboard to the scholarly project you will develop as part of the DNP.
  • An updated resume or CV.
  • Evidence of a completed graduate level statistics course.
  • Complete all program requirements and te scholarly project within 9.75 years from the first semester of enrollment. To continue in the program past 9.75 years requires the student to apply for an extension that includes a timeframe for completion of all requirements, and the expected date of graduation.
  • Graduate GPA of 3.2 or better on a 4.0 scale. Candidates with less than a 3.2 GPA meeting the above criteria may be considered after interviewing / video chat with Graduate Nursing Faculty.
  • Sign the clinical practicum form

Transfer Credits

At the time of admission, the applicant may transfer up to nine (9) post-graduate credits at the 500 level or above into the doctoral program provided that (a) the transferred credits were earned at an accredited college or university; (b) a grade of “B” or better is earned in all courses for which transfer is requested; and (c) the course(s) were completed within the past 10 years (except Graduate level statistics class -3 years). The applicant identifies the course(s) to be transferred and specifies the ways in which the course(s) are consistent with their doctoral program of study and related to the content or research methods associated with their doctoral study. The program director or divisional dean must review and approve the transfer request.

Doctoral Degree Requirements (39 credits)

The total credit hours required for the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP) will be thirty-nine (39) credits. Graduates of Rivier University who successfully completed the Quality Health Care Improvement Course (NSG 601), Advanced Health Policy (NSG 610) as part of their studies in the master’s degree program will be recognized and awarded these six credits towards the total of thirty-nine credits.


  • Successful completion of a graduate (500 level or above) statistics course.

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