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School of NursingDNP-Post Masters

Nurse Executive

The online, distance learning DNP Nurse Executive program is designed to prepare nurses to assume administrative and top level nurse executive positions in health care systems. The program is designed to address The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. The Program outcomes reflect the American Organization of Nurse Executive guidelines for nurse executive practice. DNP course content focuses on executive leadership skills, working with vulnerable populations, fiscal and human resource management, quality magnet achievement, emerging technology, and organizational research in clinical issues. Students participate in executive practicums throughout the program in their home area. Nurse Executive graduates will be prepared to serve as leaders, researchers, and expert administrators in transforming lives and the healthcare of the communities they serve.

Full-Time Program Course Schedule
Part-Time Program Course Schedule

"I have become so much more than I ever dreamed of as a result of the DNP program. I have the knowledge and skills needed to make changes in the healthcare system. As a nursing executive, I can lead the change needed to transform care for our citizens. I am a vital part of that change."

- ODU Nurse Executive Graduate

Program Emphasis

The four major areas of emphasis for the DNP program are:

  1. Emerging healthcare technologies
  2. Advanced diagnostic and client care skills
  3. Care of vulnerable populations
  4. Assurance of quality client outcomes with practice based research

The DNP Nurse Executive program places specific emphasis on transformational strategies, executive leadership skills, organizational research, fiscal and human resource management and quality outcomes. The nursing programs at Old Dominion University have an outstanding history in the education of nurses equipped to address the healthcare needs facing our country.

Applicants should have relevant healthcare management experience and be seeking an opportunity to advance to an executive level position. Registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees in nursing may apply to the BS-MSN-DNP Nurse Executive Program.

For curriculum information, please visit the Graduate Catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What would be my commitment in terms of being on campus? Do I have to attend any program activities on campus?

All DNP courses are offered online. Students are also required to participate in DNP immersion weekends held at the beginning of every semester and at the end of the spring semester of graduation. Some DNP immersion weekends are conducted virtually, and some are conducted face-to-face with required on-campus attendance. During the on-campus weekends, students meet with their faculty advisors and peers in the program. While on-campus, students practice formal presentation skills with a progress report of their research projects. The on-campus weekends are held at the Virginia Beach campus.

Are there any prerequisites beside MSN transcripts in order for me to start taking the DNP courses? What experience is needed?

The graduate school admission requirements are described on the website: https://www.odu.edu/admission/graduate. Applicants to the BS-DNP Nurse Executive program should have relevant healthcare management experience and be seeking an opportunity to advance to an executive level position.

Students entering the Advanced Practice DNP program must either have a master's degree (MSN or MS). Those interested in the Nurse Executive DNP program also require a master's degree or if not, can enroll in the BS-DNP program that provides MSN courses to meet the academic requirements. MSN courses with a clinical component will be accepted toward the total clinical hour requirement of 1000 hours to obtain the DNP degree. The DNP program provides 560 clinical hours within the planned curriculum. Students who do not enter as a Nurse Practitioner may need additional clinical hours in addition to the DNP courses. A review of your transcript will be helpful in determining this.

I am planning to take one course per semester. Can I attend part time? How is that going to affect my graduation? Is there a study-plan showing what course to take at what semester for students who want to study like me?

Students may enroll in the DNP program either full-time or part-time. Part-time students typically take two courses per semester (6 credit hours) and the courses are sequential. A curriculum plan outlining the specific courses needed for each program of study is provided upon enrollment. Program completion depends on whether or not you need additional coursework to meet the clinical requirements for a DNP degree (as noted above).

Does ODU help with finding and/or organizing required practicum?

ODU has a list of clinical preceptors who have worked with students in the past and are willing to be assigned students. However, if you have a particular interest in working with someone or in a specific clinical site closer to your home, we can work with you to obtain a clinical agreement with that site. Students may complete their clinical practicum hours within their own work setting, but the activities completed to meet practicum goals and objectives must be different from the student's work role and responsibilities.

What are the differences between various practicum courses as there are a various number of credits associated with them?

There are four clinical practicum courses during which the student works with a nurse administrator to learn about the executive role in healthcare. Students also develop a research project (DNP project) during the practicum courses with the assistance of the clinical preceptor and a faculty advisor. By the end of the program, students will have completed their research, presented at a professional conference, and submitted an article for publication related to the research project. Practicum courses may be taken for 2-5 credits. The credits listed on the curriculum plan are the minimum number of hours for each course. However, students who need additional clinical hours may increase the credits for the practicum to earn more clinical hours. Each credit is equal to 56 clinical hours.

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