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Pursuing a terminal degree in nursing can expand your career and salary opportunities. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) provides opportunities for advanced leadership positions while satisfying your intrinsic motivations to continue to impact individual, population, and systems outcomes through innovative and evidence-based practice initiatives. With a DNP in Strategic Leadership degree, you will be prepared to lead the way in navigating complex healthcare environments, educate fellow nurses and advance interprofessional collaboration and the nursing practice.
Spring Arbor University’s online DNP program offers a curriculum founded on the Christian worldview. This unique approach provides an opportunity to expand your nursing knowledge while thoughtfully applying the perspective of Christ for learning to your mission to help patients and improve healthcare. As a student in the DNP online program, you will:
- Deepen your relationship to your field by exploring major issues in contemporary nursing through a lens of spirituality, grace, and critical inquiry.
- Continue working full-time as you complete your educational journey.
- Enjoy a week off in between classes with our 7-1-7 model (7-week courses, 1-week break)
- Have built-in work-life balance—classes always start on Thursday and assignments are never due on Sunday.
- Work one-on-one with faculty throughout your journey and DNP project.
- Complete your clinical hours with 500 hours built into the program curriculum.
- Graduate prepared for unprecedented independence in your practice and look forward to improved career prospects.
SAU is fully-accredited and recognized by Colleges of Distinction for its engaged students, effective teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.
- Application of Christian worldview to faith and science
- Development of the highest advanced nursing care for quality outcomes across the lifespan
- Application of epidemiology related to health conditions in marginalized communities
- Analyze global problems to gain new insight for improved health outcomes
- Develop quality initiatives through strategic planning
- Apply leadership theory and principles to improve quality of care delivery
- CCNE-accredited online program
- Less than 2 years to complete
- 2 start dates per year
- Virtual Residency takes place a week before program begins
- Program includes practicum work and coursework
- 1,000 practicum hours required; 500 practicum hours embedded
- APRNs may apply up to 500 hours of previously completed practicum work to the DNP’s graduation requirements.
- Non-APRN students will earn the remainder of these hours while completing three practicum courses (one credit hour each)
- Open to APRNs and Non-APRNs
- An MSN program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended
- A 3.0 GPA is calculated from the most recent 60 academic credits. If your GPA is below 3.0 please include an additional document explaining your GPA
- An unrestricted, unencumbered, current nursing license from the state of employment; license must be kept current throughout the program
- Two letters of recommendation
- Completed application
- Brief goal statement essay and video introduction
- Critically analyze the relationship between healthcare legislation, financial regulation, and strategic planning
- Integrate the Christian worldview to develop healthcare policy and evaluation practices for positive health outcomes
The nursing programs at Spring Arbor University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE),* which ensures students, employers and graduate nursing programs that SAU graduates have received an education that meets CCNE’s rigorous standards.
*The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program in nursing at Spring Arbor University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.
Now Accepting Applications
This rewarding program is taught by doctorally-prepared faculty committed to the personal, spiritual, and professional growth of students. Below are a few sample courses in this degree. For a full list, download a brochure.
For a complete listing of courses, download a program guide.
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a graduate degree that provides more advanced clinical skills for bedside care, whereas a DNP, in addition to those skills, is a doctoral program that also prepares nurses with a focus on systems-thinking for higher leadership roles.
While an MBA is a signification addition to an MSN degree, there are some specializations, including most faculty teaching positions as well as medical facilities that prefer and/or require candidates with a DNP. It can depend on the field and/or job you are interested in obtaining.
45% occupational growth rate forecast between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS*
40% increase in DNP programs being offered due to demand from 2010 to 2020**
94% of AACN surveyed DNP graduates were either "extremely satisfied" or "moderately satisfied" with their decision to obtain a DNP Degree**
On average, DNPs in Michigan earn 61% more than those in other states**
As a DNP graduate, there are a variety of job opportunities in leadership, administrative and teaching/instructor positions, and advanced specialization practices. Some specialty fields are now requiring a DNP for entry into practice, as supported by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
The salary for DNP’s vary depending on the specialization of practice or type of leadership position and location. APRNs with DNPs can earn the highest salaries in state, local, and private hospitals. According to nursejournal.org, competitive salaries are offered in other settings as well, including health practitioner offices and private education services, and other facilities offering competitive salaries. Some academic medical facilities prefer to hire DNPs for higher-ranking and supervisory roles (nursejournal.org).
- Physician offices
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
- Academic Medical Centers
- Outpatient Centers
- Home Health Care Services
- Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals
- Education Services in colleges and universities
The annual median salary for any APRN nationwide is $120,680, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
DNPs also tend to earn higher salaries than those with a BSN or MSN degree (nursejournal.org).
The program has 500 hours embedded into the curriculum, so most students who are APRNs will be able to complete their 1,000-hour requirement without additional hours at the bedside. Students who do not enter the program with at least 500 clinical hours from their MSN will complete a practicum course where they will earn hours in a variety of settings of their choice, including with their current employer.
At Spring Arbor University, it is a privilege to provide a Christ-centered nursing education to our students and to participate in their journey. You will grow spiritually, personally and professionally throughout this program and will gain a better understanding of what it means to live out your faith as a nurse.
While the Christian faith provides the foundation for our program, we welcome all students regardless of personal beliefs or religion. All students will benefit from introspection and critical thinking as they consider how to meaningfully care for diverse populations and communities to meet distinct healthcare needs.