Gannon Announces New Doctoral Degree

DNP bannerPosted: February 10, 2014

The doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree offered by Gannon University's Villa Maria School of Nursing will be offered online exclusively starting in the Fall 2014 Semester.

The degree program, which admitted its first students in the Fall 2013 Semester and will graduate its first students this December, has been offered in a combination of in-classroom and online classes, but the move to an online-only model will allow more nursing professionals to access the program. This is especially true of graduates of Gannon's nurse anesthesia program, who are located across the country.

"I really do believe that the DNP role will be extremely needed and sought-after with the changes in Affordable Care Act and health-care law," said Kathleen Patterson, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the Villa Maria School of Nursing. "The need for advanced practice nurses is huge, and this program will prepare advanced practice nurses at a higher level."

The doctor of nursing practice degree is a 26-credit course of study focused on "immersion" or "experience," as opposed to many doctoral degree programs, which tend to focus on research. The program is offered as a "bridge" program, or "add- on," from the Villa Maria School's existing master of science in nursing (MSN) degree.

Advanced practice registered nurses who hold a master of science degree in nursing and are certified in their specialty may apply.

The DNP can be completed in three academic semesters if taken full time, or in four to six semesters if taken part time.

Earning a doctor of nursing practice degree will be an important step in helping nurses more effectively influence changes in patient safety and develop best practices for hospitals and other clinical settings. Nurses with a DNP degree will be better able to act as advocates for individuals and populations of varying diversity and socioeconomic levels.

Graduates of the program also will be better positioned to make use of existing medical research, technology, large databases and information systems so as to promote health and wellness, prevent disease and improve patient outcomes.

Students interested in the DNP program are invited to attend a virtual Open House on Wednesday, March 12th at 6:30 p.m. Registration and details on the event can be found at or by calling (814) 871-7474.