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Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program

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Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program

Enroll in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Health Studies and expand your ability to be a leader in developing innovative practice in a variety of settings while advancing science. 

Focusing on the concepts of strategic organizational leadership, the DNP program educates the professional nurse in the translation of evidence-based practice results into a variety of employment and practice settings. 

The DNP requires successful completion of seven online courses, plus four culminating practicum project courses focused on designing, implementing, and evaluating a quality improvement project, practice innovation, or policy change. There is no on-site residency required for the program, but clinical practice hours are required.

Whether your career goals are to advance to an executive position or to enrich your current practice, the DNP at ATSU will provide you with the foundation necessary to become an influential nursing leader. ATSU’s DNP Program seeks to prepare graduates who are:

  1. Competent leaders in a variety of healthcare organizational systems.
  2. Effective decision-makers through interprofessional collaborations.
  3. Prepared to influence positive healthcare outcomes through evidence-based practice, applying system improvement and innovation.
  4. Engaged leaders who are equipped to influence healthcare policy.

Clinical Practice Hours

The ATSU’s DNP program require's a practice component of direct clinical practice hours. Nationally, it is common for DNP students to find their own clinical sites because they are in the best position to know their own communities and the best fit for them. Think creatively, including healthcare organizations in your community or organizations, that provide healthcare services. What type of healthcare organizations are around you? All practicum experiences require a formal Clinical Affiliation agreement that we will be glad to assist you with in securing.

online flexibility





1.75-2 years

campus requirement

no residency

terminal degree

DNP project

start date


Program essentials

Course list
Admission requirements
Career Advancement
Learning Outcomes
Course Descriptions
Financial Aid
University Catalog

Doctor of Nursing Practice Curriculum Overview

The DNP at A.T. Still University features leading-edge information and experiences contributed by faculty in various advanced practices. The goal of the DNP is to develop a specialty practice that influences healthcare outcomes for clients who range from the individual to a contained population. Benefits of earning the DNP include the acquisition of advanced competencies in leadership, quality improvement, collaborative practice, health policy, information systems and population health within an ethical framework. The clinical focus of the DNP program is that of practice specialization within the discipline. The completion of the DNP Project demonstrates growth in knowledge and skills in nursing leadership and advancement of practice and also provides documentation of the achievement of The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006). 

The purpose of the DNP Project is to develop and design an evidence-based project that focuses on improvement, enhancement, or advancement of practice management, organizational systems, or leadership through a quality improvement perspective. Each course in the curriculum provides the content to assist in the broader understanding of advanced nursing practice, as expressed as strategic organizational leadership.

The DNP Project can be a quality improvement, practice innovation, or policy change. It is an interactive and iterative process, where students identify a particular issue or problem relevant to a healthcare practice site, resulting in a practice-application-oriented product. Students will complete a thorough scholarly review of the literature to gain a better understanding of the selected issue; apply evidence to design, implement and evaluate a quality improvement project, practice innovation, or policy change; and use project findings to offer insights into how to best respond to the selected issue or problem. Findings from projects described above will be disseminated to inform and advance practice, care delivery, health outcomes, or organizational performance.

Career Advancement

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, employment of nurses is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2028.

  • Chief nursing officer or assistant chief nursing officer of a healthcare facility
  • Healthcare insurance or association administrator
  • University administrator or faculty
  • Healthcare consultant
  • Healthcare business owner
  • Health policy director/advisor/consultant
  • Chief operating officer, president, or vice president of a healthcare system

  1. Application:
    • Completed and signed admissions application along with a nonrefundable application fee.
  2. Academic:
    • Meet with the Program Chair to ask any questions.
    • An accredited master of science in nursing degree from a university recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Applicants who received their qualifying degree from a university outside the United States will have to provide a degree equivalency evaluation.*
    • Official transcript from the qualifying degree-granting institution. For students using VA benefits transcripts for all institutions attended are required.
    • Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) at the qualifying degree institution.
    • A current; unencumbered RN license from the state in which the attainment of supervised clinical hours will occur.
    • Clinical hour documentation from the degree granting institution.
    • Some degree programs may require experience or credentialing relevant to the field.
  3. Elements of success:
    • A current resume
    • Completion of an essay
    • English Proficiency **
    • Meet technology requirements***

*Applicants who have graduated from a foreign college or university should submit acceptable evidence of U.S. degree/course equivalency. All course work taken at the foreign institution must be evaluated for American institution equivalence by one of the following services:

The TOEFL is administered by TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6151, USA 609. 771.7100. A.T. Still University’s institutional code is 0339. Please be sure to include this information when you submit your application packet. TOEFL Educational Testing Services P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, 609.771.7100 ***ATSU technology requirements

Learning Outcomes

The DNP Program prepares the graduate to achieve the following program outcomes:

  • Integrate science and nursing-based theories and data-based concepts to develop, critically appraise, and translate scholarship into practice. (DNP Essential I)
  • Articulate organizational theories and systems thinking to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, and safety outcomes in healthcare. (DNP Essential II)
  • Correlate analytical methods and evidence to improve practice and the practice environment for the individual, aggregate and population. (DNP Essential III)
  • Apply knowledge of patient care technology to improve healthcare outcomes. (DNP Essential IV)
  • Demonstrate leadership in the assessment, implementation and evaluation of health policy that addresses the underserved population through ethical and equitable advocacy. (DNP Essential V)
  • Lead and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams using communication, consultative, and leadership skills to improve quality and safety in health care. (DNP Essential VI)
  • Analyze epidemiological data to synthesize concepts related to health promotion, socioeconomic dimensions of health, and population health to address the underserved population. (DNP Essential VII)
  • Provide leadership in the assessment, implementation and evaluation of healthcare deliverables within a quality improvement framework, addressing a variety of clinical situations that require advanced critical thinking. (DNP Essential VIII)
  • Strategic Organizational Leadership
    3 credit hours+

  • Nursing Inquiry, Evidence-Based Practice, and Change
    3 credits+

  • Healthcare Economics and Financial Management
    3 credits+

  • Health Policy, Law, and Advocacy
    3 credits+

  • Quality Improvement and Performance Excellence
    3 credits+

  • Population Health: Program Development and Evaluation
    3 credits+

  • Clinical and Theoretical Applications
    3 credits+

  • DNP Project Design
    3 credits+

  • DNP Project Implementation
    3 credits+

  • DNP Project Evaluation
    3 credits+


Review tuition and fees for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Please note tuition and fees are subject to change.

Financial Aid

Federal financial aid is available for qualifying students. For more information visit Enrollment Services or contact them at 660.626.2019 or by email at

Diane Drexler, DNP, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE
Diane Drexler, DNP, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE
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Dr. Drexler received a doctor of nursing practice and master of business administration degree from Arizona State University. She also holds a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She is a current Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow Alumnae (2007-10), and was selected to attend the Johnson & Johnson Wharton Fellows Nurse Executive Leadership Program in 2006.

Dr. Drexler has more than 30 years’ experience in nursing leadership in acute care and outpatient settings. She is a strong proponent of Shared Leadership and has a passion for developing emerging leaders. Her current position is at Community Memorial Health System in Ventura County, California as the Vice President of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer. Community Memorial Health System is a community-owned, not-for-profit organization consisting of two hospitals and 20+ community clinics including family-practice, urgent care, a residency program, and several specialties.

Helen Ewing, DHSc, MN, BN, RN
Helen Ewing, DHSc, MN, BN, RN
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Dr. Helen Ewing received her doctor of health science degree from Nova Southeastern University specializing in international healthcare; proposing a model for the delivery of primary healthcare in rural India. She also holds diplomas in nursing and business management and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from University of Calgary, specializing in management and quality improvement.

Dr. Ewing has over 35 years’ experience in healthcare and has spent the past 30 years in health profession education, academic administration, and healthcare leadership. Her experiences range from various leadership, academic, and clinical roles in Canada and the United States to working in resource-poor countries (Liberia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and India).

Dr. Ewing’s research interests include issues affecting global health, quality of life of nurses, healthcare leadership, promoting evidence-based healthcare, online education, and academic integrity. Dr. Ewing has a passion for quality, student-centered education and advancing healthcare professions locally and internationally.

Clair Lunt, DHSc, MEd, MN, RN
Clair Lunt, DHSc, MEd, MN, RN
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Dr. Clair Lunt received her doctor of health sciences degree from ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies. She also holds a master of education (in higher education) and a master of nursing (in critical care) from Queensland University of Technology.

Dr. Lunt has more than 25 years in nursing practice and is currently working as the director of nursing informatics at a major hospital system in New York. She is involved in professional organizations serving on various committees, is a published author, and a journal reviewer for an international informatics journal.

Claudia Mitchell, PhD, RN
Claudia Mitchell, PhD, RN
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Dr. Claudia Mitchell is a registered nurse who holds a Ph.D. in Education, Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration and has more than two decades of experience spanning both clinical practice and academia. She presently serves as a consultant for both healthcare and academic organizations. Recently, she served as the Assistant Provost for Health Professions, where she provided executive leadership for both the department of healthcare and the department of nursing. In addition to her academic role, she has worked in a wide variety of clinical practice settings, the majority of which have been in post-acute care, specifically long-term care. Claudia has extensive experience in administrative roles such as director of nursing services and has served as a multi-state nurse consultant to post-acute care facilities in the areas of professional development, quality improvement, reimbursement, and compliance. She has had the distinct privilege of providing executive leadership in opening new two new long-term care facilities and has launched new academic programs.

Dr. Jan Olson, MSN, DNP
Dr. Jan Olson, MSN, DNP
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Dr. Jan Olson is a seasoned population health nurse, subject matter expert, and academician with 20 years of clinical experience. She obtained a Master of Science (MSN) in Nursing Education in 2017 and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2020 from Grand Canyon University. She is also nationally board certified in school nursing.

Dr. Olson has practice expertise in communicable disease epidemiology, behavioral health, pediatric chronic disease, and leadership. She is regarded as a local and national expert in School Health. Dr. Olson has an academic background as an Associate Professor of Practice, Content Developer, Nursing Strategic Programming Coordinator, and a Curriculum Director serving in nursing programs, nursing professional organizations, and academic organizations including Linfield College, Concordia St. Paul University, Oregon School Nurses Association, and EBSCO Industries.

Dr. Olson's areas of special interest include health disparities, vulnerable populations, adverse childhood experiences and health outcomes. Dr. Olson is the president of the Oregon School Nurses Association, a member of the National Association of School Nurses and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor society for Nurses, respectively.

Lisa St. Pierre, MSN, DNP
Lisa St. Pierre, MSN, DNP
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Dr. St. Pierre completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in 2010 from Chatham University, and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Nova Southeastern University in 2008.

Dr. St. Pierre brings years of experience in nursing education and specializes in teaching methods for online, blended, and face-to-face classes. She also has extensive experience in curriculum and course development, leadership, learning outcomes, program evaluation, faculty development, and accreditation.

Dr. St. Pierre states, “My top priority is to ensure the best outcomes for students by upholding academic rigor while demonstrating compassion and kindness.” With more than 25 years in the field, she has made significant contributions through research, leadership, and curriculum creation. She enjoys reading, cooking, spending time on the water, and spending time with friends and family.

Marisa Hastie, EdD, MS, ACSM-EP, PN-1, FACSM
Marisa Hastie, EdD, MS, ACSM-EP, PN-1, FACSM
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Marisa Hastie, EdD, MS, ACSM-EP, PN-1, FACSM LinkedIn

Marisa Hastie, EdD, MS, ACSM-EP, PN-1, FACSM is the Dean of the College of Graduate Health Studies at AT Still University. Dr. Hastie received her doctor of education from George Fox University (2013), her master of science in exercise and sport science with an emphasis in biomechanics from the University of Oregon (2003), and her bachelor of science in exercise science from Gonzaga University (2001). She is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is a certified Exercise Physiologist.

Prior to joining ATSU, she was a Professor of Exercise Science and Program Chair for the Exercise Science Program at Lasell University (Newton, MA). Dr. Hastie also served as the Faculty Fellow for the Fuss Center for Research on Intergenerational Education and Aging and received the deWitt Excellence in Educational Leadership Award from Lasell University. Dr. Hastie served as Faculty Chair of the University’s governance system.

Dr. Hastie has served in several leadership roles at the regional and national level of the ACSM, which include her current roles on the Professional Education Committee at the national level and as the President-Elect for the New England chapter. Her research interests have included exploring the connection between lifelong physical activity and long-term health outcomes, the relationship between exercise training and cognition, and the effects of discrimination experiences on health-related coping behaviors.

Dr. Hastie has extensive experience in online program development, teaching, and assessment. She developed an online Master of Science in Nutrition for Human Performance program and has 18 years of experience in both synchronous and asynchronous teaching formats. She became an educator because she strongly believes in the development of the whole student as a crucial responsibility of higher education institutions.

Nicole Webb, DNP, FNP-BC
Nicole Webb, DNP, FNP-BC
Program Chair
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A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS) has welcomed Nicole “Nic” Webb, DNP, FNP-BC, as the new chair of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Dr. Webb began her role on July 17. Prior to coming to ATSU, Dr. Webb most recently served as program chair of the University of Central Missouri’s (UCM) School of Nursing and associate dean of UCM’s College of Health Science and Technology. She received a master’s of nursing with a concentration in the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track in 2006 from the University of South Alabama, and later received her DNP degree in 2010 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Throughout her career, Dr. Webb has developed a wealth of experience in teaching, leadership, and accreditation. She is a member of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the Missouri Nurses Organization (MONA), and also serves as a Board Member and Public representative for the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). “As nursing continues to evolve, I remain current in my practice so that I may join in the educational journey of our students. I am grateful to serve in the role as educator and mentor to our present and future nurse leaders,” Dr. Webb said.

University Catalog

University Catalog Program guide

Review the University Catalog to learn more about the program and university. Read detailed course descriptions and obtain answers to many of your questions regarding application and tuition.

A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

230 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500,
Chicago, IL 60604

Phone: 800.621.7440 | Fax: 312.263.7462

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Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Faculty

The ATSU faculty and staff are dedicated to the success of each health professions degree student. Our online nursing degrees offer challenging, interprofessional educational experiences that enables intellectual and practice advancement.

All ATSU nursing faculty hold doctoral degrees, bringing their diverse academic and professional backgrounds in nursing practice, leadership, and management to the online classroom and other nursing learning experiences. Their academic areas of expertise include executive administration, health policy and advocacy, community and rural health, advanced nursing practice, child and adolescent health, mental health, public and community health, palliative and end-of-life care, health information systems, and nursing research and education, among many others. ATSU’s graduate nursing faculty enjoy online teaching and are committed to providing innovative instructional opportunities and experiences.


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For additional information contact an Enrollment Counselor:
877.626.5577 or

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Not sure if the DNP is right for you?

ATSU-CGHS offers a variety of doctoral programs that meet your professionals needs and career goals.