Creating Courses for Your Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are accredited through the Commision on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Each potential DNP program undergoes a peer review process spearheaded by the CCNE designed to protect the public’s health and support the continued growth of nursing collegiate education (CCNE). To ensure a smooth accreditation process, future DNP programs should review the Accreditation Standards and Professional Nursing Guidelines published and updated frequently by the CCNE. Future DNP programs may also benefit from perusing already successful programs using the Find Accredited Programs page on the CCNE website.

Thoughtfully designed curriculum and strategic course progression helps to ensure CCNE accreditation. The AACN DNP Essentials provide the backbone of curricular competencies that the CCNE expects of programs conferring the DNP degree. Importantly, the CCNE does not require a separate course for each of the eight essentials. Course sequence should be flexible for students completing the program at different speeds (i.e. part time or full time); however, courses should build upon each other in complexity and independent practice. Also, future programs should define individual course objectives that specifically meet one or more AACN DNP Essentials to facilitate a smooth CCNE accreditation.

For example, future programs may wish to create a chart that lists each course with its corresponding course objectives and AACN DNP Essentials.

Course Objectives AACN DNP Essentials
Health Care Informatics
  1. Analyze how information and technology may improve and globally transform health services.
  2. Evaluate how information technology supports the improvement of health care outcomes.
  3. Analyze health care technology culture and mandates in the US, including development, access and protections.
  4. Examine the ethical and legal considerations for application of information technologies and systems to health care.
  5. Correlate the leadership role of the DNP in the design, execution, and evaluation of information technology.
II:  Organization and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking

III: Clinical Scholarship and Analytic Methods for Evidence-based Practice

IV: Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology

VI: Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

VIII: Advanced Practice Nursing

Health Policy & Ethics
  1. Compare and contrast the influence of professional organizations, health insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical industry on health care policy and economics.
  2. Analyze health policy from historical, ethical, legal, and political perspectives.
  3. Utilize evidence to inform health policy development.
  4. Compare and assess the United States health care system with health care systems in other countries.
  5. Understand the impact of networking, health education, and advocacy on health policy.
  6. Analyze health care policy at the local, state, national, and international levels.
II: Organization and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement/Systems Thinking

IV: Designing Systems

V: Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care

VI: Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient/Population Outcomes

Translational Research
  1. Analyze new knowledge and evidence based practice to deliver high quality health care, for individuals and aggregates.
  2. Demonstrate advancement of clinical practice that contributes to quality, safety, and improved health outcomes.
  3. Synthesize seminal theoretical, ethical, and legal concepts into health care delivery practices.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in the application and evaluation of information technologies to meet the complex demands of health care.
  5. Exemplify qualities required to assume leadership positions within the health care system, political arena, academic centers, and professional organizations.
I. Scientific Underpinnings for Practice

II. Organization and Systems Leadership for QI/Systems Thinking

III. Clinical Scholarship and Analytic Methods for EBP

VI. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient/Population Outcomes

VII. Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health

VIII. Advanced Nursing Practice

Written by Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP;

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