Developing a DNP Focus Area

While many DNP programs provide a general overview of doctoral advanced nursing practice, some choose a focus area in either health policy, informatics, or executive leadership. Included below are four sample curricula, each with a different focus. Importantly, every curriculum regardless of DNP focus area includes courses on the topic of leadership, ethics, evidence-based practice, translational research, organizational theory, inter-professional collaboration, health policy, informatics, data analysis, and the DNP project.

Sample Curricula

General DNP Curriculum

The general DNP curriculum provides a holistic overview of all aspects of the DNP Essentials. These courses meet the AACN requirements and offer students an overview of contemporary issues in health care.

  • Leadership for Practice
  • Ethical Considerations in Modern Health Care
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Translational Research
  • Organizational Theory & Behavior
  • Health Outcomes Management & Inter-professional Collaboration
  • Health Policy
  • Information Technology and Management
  • Applied Epidemiology and Data Analysis
  • DNP Project

Health Policy Focus Curriculum

This DNP focus meets all the requirements of the AACN Essentials while allowing students to specialize in modern health policy.

  • Reflective Leadership & Values in Political Advocacy
  • Health Care Ethics & the Law
  • Evidence-based Practice
  • Translational Research
  • Organizational Theory and Political Behavior
  • Communication & Collaboration in Health Policy Making
  • Introduction of Health Policy
  • American Government
  • Analysis of Political Data
  • Health Care Quality & Performance Measurement
  • Epidemiology & Population Health
  • Health Care Informatics
  • DNP Project

Informatics Focus Curriculum

The informatics specialty focus provides DNP graduates expert knowledge on health information and management systems while still aligning with the AACN Essentials.

  • Health Innovation and Leadership
  • Technology & Ethics in Health Care
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Translational Research
  • Consumer Health Informatics
  • Applied Health Care Databases
  • Statistics & Epidemiology in Nursing
  • Knowledge Representation and Interoperability
  • System Analysis and Design
  • Interdisciplinary Healthcare Informatics
  • Clinical Decision Support
  • User Interface Design and Usability in Healthcare
  • Health Policy Leadership
  • Population Health Informatics
  • DNP Project

Executive Leadership Focus Curriculum

The executive leadership DNP focus prepares advanced practice nurses to serve as healthcare administrators and enact organization wide quality improvement initiatives. The courses in this curriculum meet the foundational requirements of the AACN in their DNP Essentials.

  • Leadership in Nursing Administration
  • Contemporary Ethics in Executive Leadership
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Translational Research
  • Human Resource Management in Health Organizations
  • Organizational Theory and Nursing Administration
  • Health Care Organizations and Law
  • Strategic Planning & Systems Management for Health Care Organizations
  • Introduction to Project Management
  • Health Care Policy
  • Health Care Informatics
  • Strategic Fiscal Management
  • DNP Project

Written by Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP;

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