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Below is the required curriculum for Penn Nursing’s Post-Master’s DNP program. 

Year 1:


Introduction to Principles and Methods of Epidemiology

This course provides an introduction to epidemiologic methods and overview of the role of epidemiology in studies of disease etiology and in the planning, delivery and evaluation of health services. The population-based approach to the collection and analysis of health data will be emphasized throughout the course. Through textbook reading, problems sets, class discussion and review of the recent literature, students will become acquainted with the basic designs of epidemiologic studies in theory and in practice. Students will develop the basic skills necessary to use epidemiologic knowledge and methods as the basis for scientific public health practice. Please note, the online version of this course has a synchronous component (live online class sessions). The day/time will be listed in the course register.

The Business of Healthcare: Principles of Finance, Accounting and Economics

In this course, students will focus on the business of health care and the financial competencies needed to manage complex health care organizations. This course integrates the basic principles of accounting, finance, and health care economics with business planning. It is designed to facilitate the student’s knowledge and application of financial principles in the health care setting. Course content includes an overview of the health care landscape, basics of health insurers, introduction to budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, an overview of the financial planning cycle, operating budget development and labor variance analysis. The course culminates with an opportunity for students to apply their skill sets in performing an environmental scan and developing a business case.


Leadership Development in Healthcare

This course provides a conceptual and theoretical framework for examining the concepts of leadership, planned change and power/empowerment within selected environments; namely, health systems, health and public policy arenas, and professional and civil societies. Content focuses on characteristics of personal and professional leadership, places and types of leadership, theories of leadership and planned change processes and specific tools and practical experiences in leadership development.

Principles of Patient Safety & Quality Improvement in Healthcare

This course integrates principles of systems thinking with foundational concepts in patient safety. Utilizing complexity theories, students assess healthcare practices and identify factors that contribute to medical errors and impact patient safety. Lessons learned from the science of safety are utilized in developing strategies to enhance safe system redesign. Students review the significance of inter-professional teamwork and a “just” culture, and the importance of high reliability organizations on safe and high quality healthcare delivery. Through the review of basic tools, and examination of frameworks in healthcare quality improvement, students develop approaches to inform a comprehensive view of systems issues. Various process improvement tools, and evaluation methods are explored in the context of innovative methods for improving healthcare quality.


Healthcare Informatics

This course is designed to introduce the student to fundamental concepts and issues surrounding technology and information management in today’s rapidly changing health care environment. Emphasis will be placed on defining informatics and the models and theories used in its development. To prepare the student to take a leadership role in information system design and selection the class will study the process of information systems analysis, implementation and evaluation involving functional, organizational and human aspects.

Translating Research & Evidence into Practice (DNP Project #1)

This course focuses on the translation of research into practice (TRIP) to achieve sustainable improvements in clinical, patient and systems outcomes. Course content builds on the foundational principles of evidence-based practice (EBP) and the critical scientific appraisal of evidence to guide advanced evidence-based reasoning and decision-making for translation and application to practice.

Year 2:


Data Analytics

This course approaches statistics from an applied as well as theoretical point of view. Focus is given to learning the appropriate application and interpretation of statistical analyses. The course addresses data transformation, effect size and power analysis for determining sample sizes, confidence intervals, and parametric and non-parametric statistical tests including t-tests, analysis of variance, chi square, correlations, multiple and logistic regression and other methods of analyses for continuous and categorical data. Emphasis is placed on conducting statistical analyses using existing software programs.

Translating Evidence into Practice: DNP Project Planning II

This course provides an overview of the concepts, procedures and fundamental processes of project management for Doctor of Nursing Practice students. Principles, tools and techniques of project management within an integrative framework are reviewed and applied to the chosen project. Students develop a proposal for an evidence-based project that addresses a health promotion and community health concern, clinical problem, integration of technology/informatics in care or a policy-related issue. Students will finalize a project management plan. Students will continue to meet with key stakeholders and members within healthcare agency and/or communities of interest where the project is being implemented.


Translating Evidence into Practice III: DNP Project Implementation

This course requires DNP students to implement their project and determine how the results can be used to improve processes and procedures within the healthcare agency or community of interest. Students are expected integrate evidence-based practice paradigm and process principles into the development of a final report and present the findings to each other for peer critique. Barriers from people, places and policies will be addressed and strategies developed to negotiate solutions. Principles of sustainable evidence-based practice change across disciplines and within various healthcare settings will be discussed. Students will assume the role of leader in the interprofessional collaboration, consultation, and partnership with the healthcare organization or communities of interest.


Current Issues In Health and Social Policy

Analysis of key contemporary issues in health and social policy that will provide students with a deeper understanding of the design and structure of the U.S. health care system, the policy initiatives that have shaped it, and the roles of the government, the private sector, and consumers and advocacy groups in setting the policy agenda. Seminars will examine the origins of each issue, the policies enacted and their effects, both intended and unintended, and will propose and debate the merits of alternative policy solutions. The role of health services and policy research in informing the policy debate and directions will be highlighted.

DNP Project IV: Dissemination of Project

This course is designed to assist students in the completion of their DNP project. This final step in the project includes dissemination of evidence and the consideration of factors to promote sustainability. The project report will be finalized and submitted to the agency or community of interest. The project trajectory is evaluated against the originally planned project to identify areas of success, need for improvements and for areas of scope creep. Students will be mentored in creation of professional presentations and manuscript development for publication.

** Per University policy, no work done as an undergraduate, whether done at this institution or at any other, will be counted toward a higher degree.