Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP program at Holy Family University aligns with AACN’s Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice—providing nurses with the skills and tools to impact systems of care to improve patient outcomes and enhance quality of care.

The blended class format offers students flexibility while maintaining a close relationship to faculty members. The small class size, progression as a cohort, and faculty members who live the mission of Holy Family University are just a few of the features that make the Holy Family University DNP program unique.

The program is designed with three entry points: Post-APRN to DNP, MSN to DNP, and BSN to DNP. It is possible, regardless of entry point, that students can continue in their current positions while going to school. In some cases, the DNP scholarly project can be done at the students’ place of employment.

Family Nurse Practitioner

Holy Family University’s program focuses on developing Family Nurse Practitioners. Family Nurse Practitioners are the most sought after advanced practice nurses. The ever-increasing focus on primary health care in the U.S. means the possibilities for long-range success as an FNP are expanding each year.

Entry Points

The APRN–DNP entry point will launch in Fall 2017. This program is designed for advanced practice nurses who want to earn their doctorate to advance in their career. The evening-only, blended learning, cohort program is designed to be completed in just 21 months.

The MSN–DNP entry point will launch in Spring 2018. This program is designed for any MSN nurse who wants to become a family nurse practitioner at the doctoral level, and students will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam in this specialty. The program is designed to be completed in as few as 2 ½ years.

Students will engage in simulation and hands-on activities, in addition to developing the knowledge and skills required to provide nursing care to persons of all ages in primary care settings. The blended delivery program will be delivered in class once per week in the evenings and online.

The BSN–DNP entry point will launch in Fall 2018. This program is designed for any BSN nurse who wants to become a family nurse practitioner at the doctoral level. At program completion, typically just under 4 years, students will have earned both an MSN and DNP and be eligible to sit for the national FNP certification exam.

Students will engage in simulation and hands-on activities, in addition to developing the knowledge and skills required to provide nursing care to persons of all ages in primary care settings. The blended delivery program will be delivered in class once per week in the evenings and online.

DNP Program Objectives

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program will:

  • Provide a doctoral nursing curriculum that is designed to address current and future global health care needs and issues in a variety of health care settings.
  • Prepare graduates for positions of leadership in advanced nursing practice.
  • Provide a foundation for certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

DNP Program Outcomes

At the completion of the program, the Holy Family University DNP graduate will be able to:

  1. Synthesize nursing and multidisciplinary theories of practice to develop new practice approaches.
  2. Demonstrate organizational and systems leadership skills and behaviors that emphasize practice, ongoing improvement of health outcomes, and ensure patient safety.
  3. Disseminate new knowledge to improve healthcare outcomes.
  4. Implement programs using information technology for quality improvement and evaluation of healthcare outcomes.
  5. Design, influence and implement healthcare policies that frame healthcare financing, practice regulation, access, safety, quality, and efficacy.
  6. Provide effective team leadership, play a central role in establishing interprofessional teams, participate in the work of the team, and assume leadership of the team when appropriate.
  7. Engage in leadership to integrate and institutionalize evidence-based clinical prevention and population health services for individuals, aggregates, and populations.
  8. Design, implement, and evaluate therapeutic interventions based on nursing science and other sciences, as appropriate to the area of specialization.

DNP Scholarly Project

The DNP Project is designed for students to demonstrate mastery in knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to the program outcomes. The project will demonstrate synthesis of the students’ work and lay the groundwork for future scholarship. The work may take a number of forms. The use of evidence to improve either practice or patient outcomes is the hallmark of a well-executed DNP project.

The competed DNP project produces a tangible and deliverable academic product that is derived from the practice immersion experience and is reviewed and evaluated by a DNP Project Team. Dissemination of the project outcomes is essential and should be targeted to appropriate audiences to ensure impact.

Clinical Requirements

Clinical experiences will meet the requirements for Family Nurse Practitioner certification and AACN recommendations for scholarly work toward the Doctor of Nursing Practice. The number of clinical hours required will total just over 1,000. Credit for hours previously dedicated to nurse practitioner preparation will be awarded, as applicable.


Each track for the DNP (post-APRN-DNP, MSN-DNP, or BSN-DNP) will have different requirements and sequences that students will need to meet for their degree completion.

  • NURS 601 | Theoretical Basis for Nursing
  • NURS 606 | Professional Ethics
  • NURS 607 | Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • NURS 610 | Advanced Pathophysiology
  • NURS 612 | Advanced Physical Assessment
  • NURS 614 | Health Policy, Organization and Financing
  • NURS 615 | Quality Improvement and Safety in Health Care
  • NURS 616 | Genetics and Genomics
  • NURS 617 | Informatics
  • NURS 701 | Research for Evidence Based Practice III
  • NURS 702 | Biostatistics for Health Care Professionals
  • NURS 703 | Leadership, Economic and Legal Issues
  • NURS 704 | Advanced Pharmacology for Prescribers
  • NURS 705 | Advanced Physical Assessment Lab
  • NURS 801 | Advanced Practice Role for the DNP
  • NURS 802 | DNP Scholarly Project I
  • NURS 803 | DNP Scholarly Project II
  • NURS 804 | Advanced Nursing Practice I: Common Acute Illness
  • NURS 805 | Common Acute Illness Practicum I
  • NURS 806 | Common Acute Illness Practicum II
  • NURS 807 | Advanced Nursing Practice II: Acute/Chronic Illness
  • NURS 808 | Acute/Chronic Illness Practicum I
  • NURS 809 | Acute Chronic Illness Practicum II
  • NURS 810 | Advanced Nursing Practice III: Complex Chronic Illness
  • NURS 811 | Complex Chronic Illness Practicum I
  • NURS 812 | Complex Chronic Illness Practicum II
  • NURS 901 | DNP Clinical Residency I
  • NURS 902 | DNP Clinical Residency II
  • NURS 903 | DNP Scholarly Project Continuation


Holy Family University is pursuing CCNE accreditation of the DNP program in accordance with CCNE guidelines. The university is also pursuing approval from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing for the Family & Nurse Practioner role.

Admission Criteria

To be considered for acceptance into the DNP program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of the Holy Family University Graduate Application form
  • Unencumbered license as a registered professional nurse; certification as a CRNP, for those entering the CRNP-DNP track with evidence of advanced nursing practice hours completed.
  • Graduation from a CCNE-accredited or ACEN-accredited BSN program
  • Official transcripts of all previous college work. Undergraduate transcripts must include nursing research, statistics, nursing leadership, and community health nursing coursework.
  • Current resume or CV
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. A competitive candidate would have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 and 1-year experience providing direct nursing care.
  • No undergraduate nursing course grade < C
  • Three letters of recommendation from an academic, professional, and clinical source. One of these letters of recommendation must be from an advanced practice nurse.
  • Personal interview
  • A one-page writing sample drafted at the time of the personal interview. In this sample, the candidate will be asked to write on the topic of professional goals and a health care issue that could serve as the inspiration for a future DNP project.

English language proficiency: If English is not your first language, or if English is not the primary language spoken in your home, submission of results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language is required. Applicants must achieve the minimum score (22) in all sections (writing, speaking, reading, listening). Results should be sent directly to Holy Family University.

Financial Aid Note: Please know that, since the DNP is a new professional doctoral program, Holy Family University is awaiting final approval from various agencies in order to disburse financial aid for the program. While the University does not anticipate any issues with these approvals to disburse funds for the DNP program, timing of that approval, for the Fall 2017 semester, is out of Holy Family University's control and could cause the University to be delayed in disbursement or unable to disburse funds until the Spring 2018 semester.