Curriculum

The academically rigorous curriculum for the DNP program prepares nurses to meet the challenges presented in today’s changing landscape of health care. The DNP program focuses on pioneering research, theory, and policy and enables students to directly apply what they learn in the classroom to advance their nursing practice to the highest professional level.

Post-MSN to DNP Program

The Post-MSN to DNP curriculum is designed for advanced practice nurses who have earned their Master of Science in Nursing. Our program develops leaders in the field who improve health care outcomes through clinical practice, research, and management. The curriculum focuses strongly on Professional Practice Leadership.

Students in the program stay up-to-date on the ever-changing dynamics of nursing practice. In addition, students explore ethics and the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences. Read course descriptions.

Program Requirements

Students complete 30 course credits and a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours. Clinical hours completed during the students’ Master of Science in Nursing degree programs count toward the total minimum 1,000 clinical hours required.

Students complete the program on a part-time basis over a period of seven terms, with each term lasting 14 weeks. View the course schedule.

DNP Project

Doctoral education, whether research- or practice-based, culminates in a final project intended to demonstrate students’ synthesis of course material, research, and clinical learning.

Students in a practice-based Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program complete a final, research-based deliverable designed to demonstrate mastery of an advanced nursing practice specialty by improving practice or patient outcomes.

As the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) elaborates in The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, the final product of a DNP program can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Practice portfolios, including documentation of outcomes, scholarship, and the final practice synthesis
  • A practice change initiative, such as a pilot study, program evaluation, quality improvement project, evaluation of a new practice model, consulting project, or integrated critical literature review
  • Manuscripts submitted for publication
  • A systematic review
  • A research utilization project
  • A practice topic dissemination
  • Substantive involvement in a larger practice endeavor

As a student in the online Post-MSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with Nursing@Simmons, you will develop your DNP project over the course of three terms in the DNP Project Seminar.

Reviewed and evaluated by an academic committee, the DNP project measures your development as a skillful leader in the nursing field. As you develop your project, your learnings can be directly applied to your clinical work. Your project will help lay the groundwork for your future practice and scholarship.

Simmons alumni have completed the following projects:

  • Survivorship Care Plans: Exploring Lymphoma Patients
  • Perceptions of Clinical Nurses About Professional Development
  • Outpatient Diuretic Therapy for Patients With Congestive Heart Failure
  • Nurse Leaders: Levels of Resilience
  • Problem-Solving Styles of Nurse Managers
  • Adherence to a Fall Prevention Program in an Academic Medical Center
  • Improving Exercise in a Rural New England Free Clinic

DNP Symposium

After the final term of the Post-MSN to DNP program, students participate in the Doctoral Symposium for Emerging Nurse Leaders. At the symposium, students present the clinically relevant project they conducted as a final requirement to complete their DNP degrees. This allows students to share their work in an official capacity with their peers, faculty, and leaders in health care and academia. By presenting their work to this audience, students participate in a formal scholarly activity. After presenting at the symposium, they will work toward submitting their projects for scholarly publication.

The symposium also offers professional development and career guidance through skills workshops, networking opportunities and social events, and a featured speaker or panel of experts.

Learn more about the DNP project and the DNP symposium from our program director.