Doctor of Nursing Practice


USF and Nurses of the Future

In a meaningful way, the health our country is truly in the hands of nurses. With a shortage of primary care providers and grave shortages in nursing faculty, advanced practice and advanced role nurses and nurse practitioners affecting nursing education and the healthcare of the nation, nurses will become increasingly responsible for primary health care practice.

The University of St. Francis Leach College of Nursing is taking a leadership role in advancing evidence-based graduate nursing education, advanced nursing practice, and health care delivery. When started in 2009, USF’s DNP program was one of only 120 in the nation and the fourth program established in the State of Illinois.

Professional, Flexible, Online

The DNP degree will prepare graduates to provide the most advanced level of health care for populations based on evidence-based scientific, medical and nursing research and practice guidelines.

As a graduate of USF’s DNP program, you will be a doctorally-prepared advanced practice or advanced role nurse of the highest caliber, fully prepared to practice in health care settings that serve our must vulnerable citizens, including the poor, elderly, working families, the marginalized and the uninsured. An additional education concentration is available to prepare you to educate tomorrow’s nurses.

The DNP program is a natural outgrowth of the university’s highly acclaimed graduate nursing programs that have sustained a 100 percent pass rate on certification exams over the past three years. USF’s DNP, MSN and BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The college’s diversity and social justice issues in a global society course is recognized by the trans-cultural nursing society as a program of study leading to certification in trans-cultural nursing.

DNP Program Learning Outcomes

DNP_first class

Learning outcomes of the program are to prepare advanced practice or advanced role nurses who:

  • Synthesize theoretical, scientific and contemporary clinical knowledge for the assessment and management of both health and illness states
  • Demonstrate personal, collegial and collaborative approaches which enhance effectiveness of patient care
  • Interpret and individualize therapies through activities of advocacy, modeling and tutoring
  • Advance the profession and enhance direct care and management
  • Oversee and direct the delivery of healthcare services within an integrated system of health care
  • Monitor own individual practice and engage in interdisciplinary peer and systems review
  • Provide competent patient-centered healthcare with respect to cultural and spiritual beliefs of patients from diverse cultures
  • Advance competencies for increasingly complex practice, faculty and leadership roles


Accessible programming

The DNP program is delivered online. Due to State Board of Nursing requirements and a shortage of clinical placement sites, students who wish to enroll in the MSN Education, FNP, or DNP programs must reside in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico or Wisconsin. To find out if this program is available in your area, click here to access our “Your Right to Know” page, then click “Program Availability by State” under Academics. Applications for admission are accepted either through Nursing’s Centralized Application System (CAS) or directly on the USF website. If you have questions or need further clarification, please contact the office of admissions at 800-735-7500.

Once you’re here, be ready to learn the newest and latest treatment protocols. DNP nursing faculty members, many of them identified as EdgeRunners, by the American Academy of Nursing, bring cutting edge technology and practice to your learning experience.

The DNP student will provide and direct health care to populations, promote the public’s health, manage vulnerable populations who experience health disparities, manage and direct provider services, and influence health care policy. The elderly, patients with chronic physical and mental illnesses, families at-risk, and women and children in violence shelters are proposed emphases of study, but students may specialize in vulnerable populations they plan to work with upon graduation.

You’ll drill deeply into your particular areas of interest by conducting your own evidence-based practice improvement initiative, using principles of appreciative inquiry, which applies Franciscan ideals of respect and non-intrusion.