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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Drive the future of healthcare as an advanced nursing leader!

The mission of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Ethical Leadership is to provide a high quality educational experience to advanced nursing leaders who will drive the future of healthcare. We empower our students to embody caring and authentic leadership in the pursuit of academic excellence that will prepare them for interprofessional practice. To achieve this end, we inspire broader vision to refine critical thinking, espouse ethical decision making, and integrate evidence-based practice to achieve positive health outcomes in our global community.

The goal of the Doctor of Nursing Practice in Ethical Leadership is to prepare nurse leaders to work at the highest level of their specialty practice and serve as ethical leadership champions within their healthcare organization.

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DNP Format

The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Ethical Leadership is designed for the working practitioner. The 30 credit hour online curriculum is challenging, rigorous, and highly stimulating. Participants will complete the program as a cohort (a group moving together through the program). The two-year program, extending over five semesters, is a sequential course of study and includes an Advanced Nursing Project. Learners will attend two on-campus immersions during each August of the two years. If a student is unable to progress with the cohort, he or she will be allowed to resume coursework with the next available cohort.


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DNP Aggregate Outcomes

Upon completion of the program and based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) DNP Essentials, graduates will be able to:

1. Synthesize science-based theories and concepts from nursing and other disciplines to assess, evaluate, and integrate health care phenomena to impact positive patient outcomes at the individual, group, community or global level.

2. Integrate clinical change through organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking to achieve excellence in nursing practice.

3. Integrate advanced knowledge of nursing theories, methods of inquiry, humanities, and related sciences to translate best evidence for application to improve practice.

4. Advance the effective use of health care information systems to ensure high-quality outcomes with the generation of data-driven decisions in nursing care.

5. Advocate for social justice and health equity by evaluating, developing, and implementing policy to impact health care delivery at all levels.

6. Engage interprofessional collaborative initiatives to examine complex systems and develop effective methods to create positive change for improving patient and population health outcomes.

7. Translate knowledge into practice to improve patient outcomes and synthesize best practice for improving the nation’s health.

8. Engage in experiential learning and research to promote advanced level of nursing practice grounded in ethical and moral decision making.



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DNP Admission

All admission documents must be received no later than 23:59 on April 1. Interviews will begin after April 1. McKendree University carefully assesses the DNP program applicants on the basis of evidence provided in all application materials. To be admitted to the DNP program, an applicant must meet these requirements:

1. Hold an unencumbered RN license.

2. Submit a completed McKendree University application form.

3. Submit all official college and university transcripts including a transcript from a nationally accredited nursing program showing completion of a master’s degree in nursing (or a BSN with a MHA or MBA) with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

4. Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae documenting two years of full-time work experience in a leadership or faculty role in nursing education at a two- or four-year college or university, hospital, or health care organization within the past five years OR minimum of two years full-time work.

5. Participate in an on-campus individual interview.

6. Submit a two- to three-page essay (APA formatted) identifying:

A. rationale for seeking the DNP

B. description of how the DNP will foster your ethical leadership practice

C. identification of a potential area of interest for the Advanced Nursing Project (project proposal for the DNP)

7. Submit three letters of reference addressing professional performance.

8. Experience in a nurse executive or a management leadership role within the last five years.

9. Submit proof of completion of a graduate-level statistics course with a grade of “B” or higher within the last five years. Students’ academic coursework will be evaluated on an individual basis for completion of this requirement.

10. Submit proof completion of a graduate-level epidemiology course with a grade of “B” or higher within the last five year. Students’ academic coursework will be evaluated on an individual basis for completion of this requirement.



DNP Acceptance

DNP applicants will be notified within 30 days of completion of the interview regarding their admission status.


DNP Curriculum

All DNP courses are online. An annual, on-campus, week-long immersion experience is mandatory. As the time varies each year, notification of the dates for the week-long campus immersion will be sent out upon admission and at the beginning of the spring semester in January. Inability to attend this annual immersion will result in dismissal from the program. Students must be able to navigate the Internet and use various applications to complete assignments.


DNP Clinical Practicum

Clinical practicum experience offers students the opportunity to develop and synthesize the knowledge and skills required to demonstrate doctoral-level competency in a specialized nursing practice area. The clinical practicum requirement for the DNP program meets the AACN requirement of 1,000 hours. Depending upon the documented clinical hours from the student’s master’s education, up to 500 hours may be awarded to meet the clinical practicum requirements. All DNP students will complete a minimum of 500 clinical practicum hours. The clinical practicum hours include those required to complete the Advanced Nursing Project.


Graduation Cap

DNP Advanced Nursing Project Overview

The DNP Advanced Nursing Project is the culminating scholarly experience that demonstrates a synthesis of the DNP student’s coursework and mastery of the advanced specialty within nursing practice laying the groundwork for the student’s future scholarship and practice. The DNP Advanced Nursing Project focuses on translating and integrating the principles of evidence-based practice using the systems approach to improve healthcare outcomes at the practice, patient, or health system level. The student will identify, develop, implement, and evaluate the Advanced Scholarly Project under the guidance of a graduate nursing faculty member. The focus of the project is to use evidence to improve clinical outcomes or to resolve gaps between evidence and implementation in clinical practice and health policy.

The project is conceptualized early within the DNP program, and the Advanced Nursing Project is completed in the last four semesters of the program. The Advanced Nursing Project is supported by the practicum experience and is reviewed, approved, and evaluated by the project team. The Advanced Nursing Project will have a significant, evidence-based contribution to the practice of nursing and existing field of nursing knowledge.


DNP Courses

NSG 700 - Ethical, Legal, & Social Justice in Leadership (2 credit hours)

NSG 710 - Quality, Safety Improvement, and Risk Management with Information Technology (2 credit hours)

NSG 720 - Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice and Research Translation (3 credit hours)

NSG 730 - Applied Organizational Analysis in Systems (3 credit hours)

NSG 740 - Advanced Financial Management of Healthcare Resources (3 credit hours)

NSG 750 - Strategic Leadership, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)

NSG 760 - Leading Change by Transforming Policy & Systems (3 credit hours)

NSG 770 - Population-Focused System Improvement and Design (3 credit hours)

NSG 790 - Advanced Nursing Project I (1 credit hour)

NSG 791 - Advanced Nursing Project II (2 credit hours)

NSG 792 - Advanced Nursing Project III (5 credit hours)

Total Credits = 30 hours

The Advanced Nursing Project is a total of 8 credit hours. The Advanced Nursing Project will commence in the first year of the doctoral program and continue through the second year. Advanced Nursing Project I will encompass the project overview and team selection. Advanced Nursing Project II includes Topic Selection, Methodology and Literature Review. Advanced Nursing Project III involves Implementation and Evaluation.



CCNE Accredited SealAccreditation

The doctoral degree program in nursing at McKendree University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (



Meet the Faculty


Photo of Janice AlbersJanice Albers, D.N.P., R.N., APHN-BC, CLC

Assistant Professor of Nursing

Photo of Richelle Rennegarbe, Ph.D., R.N., CENPRichelle Rennegarbe, Ph.D., R.N., CENP

Director of Graduate Nursing Programs
Professor of Nursing
(618) 537-2148


Photo of Helene SeibertHelene Seibert, Ph.D., R.N.

Assistant Professor of Nursing


Photo of Kelli WhittingtonKelli D. Whittington, Ph.D., R.N., CNE

Chair, Division of Nursing
Assistant Professor of Nursing

Photo of Janice WiegmannJanice Wiegmann, Ph.D., R.N.

Professor of Nursing




Student Services

Photo of Carol FairlieCarol Fairlie

Student Services Specialist
121 Merrill Street, Lebanon, Illinois
(618) 537-6507
(800) BEARCAT, ext. 6507


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