Sep 21, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Nursing, D.N.P. (Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Concentration)

General Program Information

Dr. Lisa Haddad, Ph.D., RN, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs
207 Roy S. Nicks Hall
Box 70629
(423) 439-5626

Dr. Bernita Armstrong, DNP, APN- BC, MN, DNP Program Director
Roy S. Nicks Hall
Box 70629
(423) 439-5892

Dr. Nancy Cameron, DNP, MSN, RN, Graduate Coordinator
209 Roy S. Nicks Hall
Box 70629
(423) 439-4874

Faculty: Bernita Armstrong; Sharon Bigger; Nancy Cameron; Teresa Carnevale; Myra Carew; Kimberly Ferguson; Retha Gentry; Lisa Haddad; Christine Hall; Jean Hemphill; Kim Hudson-Gallogly; Sharon Loury; Ernie Maupin; Sheena Miller; Kristen Montgomery; Christine Mullins; Paige Mullins; Victoria Pope; Judith Rice; Arshak Sargsyan; Terri Schreiner; Candice Short; Holly Wei; Florence Weierbach; Mary Ellen Wright; PiMing Yeh

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program offers a terminal professional degree for those who wish to pursue or further their career as an advanced practice nurse focusing on healthcare needs of specific populations. The College of Nursing currently offers four concentrations within the degree: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

The focus of the Nursing and Healthcare Leadership concentration prepares the advanced nurse for multidimensional leadership within today’s complex healthcare system. Coursework focuses on leadership theory and practices, legal aspects, fiscal and strategic management, quality, and policy.

For application terms and deadlines please refer to the College of Nursing website.

Degree Requirements


FNP concentration: 83 credits/1000 clock hours
ANP/GNP concentration: 85 credits/1000 clock hours
PMHNP concentration: 80 credits/1000 clock hours
Executive Leadership concentration: 77 credits/1000 clock hours


All concentrations: 32 credits/500 clock hours

Specific courses are required of students who plan to take a national certification examination. All students are required to complete a Capstone Project.

PhD to DNP Degree or DNP to PhD Degree

A student holding an earned doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution may qualify for a second doctoral degree and may have a program of study that is up to 15 credit hours shorter depending on coursework taken in the prior doctoral program and approved by the student’s ETSU advisory committee and DNP or PhD Coordinator. All specific program requirements, with the possible exception of elective courses or duplicative courses, must be met for the second degree. Degree requirements that must be met include the candidacy examination and dissertation for the PhD, or the Capstone project for the DNP. In warranted circumstances credit used to satisfy approved ETSU graduate certificate requirements may be applied toward the second doctoral degree. Please consult the PhD and DNP curricula and concentrations for specific program requirements and sample programs of study.

Progression Standards

  1. Students in graduate nursing programs must meet the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies to remain in good standing. An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained.
  2. In addition, a nursing student must achieve a “B” or better in every graduate nursing course. Policies of the School of Graduate Studies for progression will apply.
  3. DNP students who receive less than a “B” in a course will have one opportunity to repeat the course.
  4. If a student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0, she/he will be placed on academic probation the following semester. If the student does not achieve a 3.0 cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of one probationary semester, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Nursing will determine if the student should be dismissed from graduate study or continued on academic probation. No student will be allowed more than two probationary semesters, whether consecutive or cumulative. At the end of a second probationary semester, a student whose cumulative grade point average is still below 3.0 will be dismissed from graduate study.
  5. Students whose performance results in a GPA so far below 3.0 as to make it mathematically impossible to attain an overall GPA of 3.0 after one semester may be subject to dismissal without a probationary term.
  6. An incomplete grade (“I”) indicates that the student was passing the course at the end of the semester, but due to circumstances beyond the student’s control, was unable to complete the course work for which the “I” is assigned. The “I” grade cannot be used to allow a student to do additional work to raise a deficient grade or to repeat a course. An “I” grade must be removed no later than one calendar year from the time the grade is awarded. Students with more than one “I” grade cannot progress in the program.  Time extension requests for removal of an “I” grade must be submitted to and approved by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies before the allotted time expires. An “I” grade not removed under the guidelines in the Graduate Catalog will be converted to an “F.”
  7. DNP students may have grades of “WF” in no more than one semester within an academic year. 
  8. Students who wish to change from part-time to full-time status must submit a written request to the College of Nursing’s Office of Student Services. Request will be approved on an individual basis, taking into consideration the student’s academic performance and available clinical slots.
  9. Students must maintain an unencumbered registered nurse license in all states where they are currently licensed throughout the duration of the graduate program and in the state(s) where they fulfill clinical course requirements. If at any time during enrollment in the graduate program a student’s nursing license becomes encumbered, suspended, or revoked, the student must immediately report this to the Associate Dean Graduate Programs in the College of Nursing. If a student’s registered nurse license is suspended or revoked, or a student fails to report any changes in licensure status to the Associate Dean Graduate Programs, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the graduate program. A student’s ability to continue enrollment in the graduate program with an encumbered license will be reviewed on an individual basis considering the restriction/limitations placed on the student’s practice as a registered nurse by the board of nursing in the state issuing the encumbered license.
  10. Grade Scale: A=93-100; B=84-92; C=75-83; F=less than 75.

The student is referred to the Graduate Catalog for more detailed progression information.

Nursing D.N.P.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) is designed to produce leaders in nursing and health care practice. Specific objectives for the program are to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and values to:

  1. Integrate specialized knowledge, theories, and research from nursing science and related disciplines for application to nursing practice;
  2. Assume leadership roles as advanced clinicians, nurse educators, and/or administrators;
  3. Demonstrate accountability in nursing practice according to accepted standards of patient care and safety;
  4. Use information technology to translate research findings into evidence-based practice at the individual and health system levels;
  5. Affect desired change by developing and implementing policies at different levels of the health care system and with different constituencies;
  6. Provide multidisciplinary leadership through analysis of critical indicators within health care systems to provide optimal client care and safety; and
  7. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in planning and delivery of health management.

Program Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the DNP program must fulfill all the requirements for admission to both the Graduate College and the College of Nursing.

There are different levels of admission depending upon prior credentials of applicants and whether or not they hold a BSN, MSN, or a masters in another discipline. Additional requirements for admission to the DNP Program include:

   1. BSN-DNP applicants:

a. A bachelor’s degree in nursing is required;

b. For international applicants, a bachelor’s degree in nursing or equivalency (for BSN-DNP applicants), from a nationally accredited nursing program or comparably recognized non-U.S. institution, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale.
c.  BSN and a Masters in a non-nursing field (MBA, MPH, MHA, MMCH, etc.) or MSN in a non-nursing administration or equivalent concentration

NOTE: Students with a masters in a content area other than nursing will start with a BSN-DNP program plan but may be granted a reduction in coursework in the following areas: Leadership, Finance, Quality Improvement, clinical hours, and other content areas based on a transcript review. Coursework must be at the graduate level.

  2. MSN-DNP applicants

          a. completed MS in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in nursing administration or equivalent

  1. Unencumbered licensure as a Registered Nurse in the United States and eligibility for licensure in Tennessee or equivalency for international students;
  2. Three professional letters of recommendation;
  3. All applicants will participate in an interview;
  4. All applicants will be required to complete a personal statement with the application addressing why you want to go to graduate school and why this program would be a good fit with your career goals. The personal statement must also address the following questions: What current trend(s) in healthcare do you find the most concerning or compelling? What in your education and/or professional practice has prepared you to address the identified trend(s)? How do you think you will be able to impact the trend(s) you identified, in your new role when you have completed your graduate study? Use at least two scholarly references and write the essay in American Psychological Association (APA) format. The writing must be your own work; and
  5. A current resume or vita.

The completed application form and fee, transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work, personal statement, documentation of nursing licensure in the United States, MSN certification (where applicable), letters of recommendation and resume or vita must be submitted to the Graduate College. International students must also forward the additionally required documentation to the Graduate College.

Factors given consideration in the admission decision include: previous grade point average (GPA), clarity of the applicant’s selected problem as stated in the personal statement and during the interview, writing ability, professional work experience and achievements, professional honors and awards, interest in rural and underserved population groups, and quality of references/recommendations.

Criminal Background Checks

To progress clinically, students will be required to complete a Criminal Background Check at his or her own expense from a specified vendor. Unfavorable results may result in a student’s inability to continue in clinical courses; review of the contents of the background check and the determination for eligibility for participation at a clinical site will be conducted by affiliated clinical agencies. Although the College of Nursing does not receive the contents of the background check, documentation of completion is kept with the student’s Clinical Course Health Requirement file.

Requirements for Completion of Degree

Students in the D.N.P. program must comply with all policies of the ETSU School of Graduate Studies regarding retention, progression, and graduation. In addition, before entrance into clinical courses, students must

  • be licensed or authorized to practice in Tennessee or a compact state,
  • demonstrate evidence of professional malpractice insurance in the amount of $1,000,000/$3,000,000 coverage (as a nurse practitioner student),
  • have current CPR certification and knowledge of universal precautions,
  • comply with the clinical requirements of the College of Nursing, and
  • complete a criminal background check per College of Nursing policy.

A student may be asked to present evidence of physical or mental health at any time during the nursing program, and continuance in the program may be contingent upon this evidence. Additionally, students are required to provide their own transportation to clinical sites.

BSN-DNP Degree Requirements: 77 credits

Core Requirements 23 credits
Concentration 42 credits
DNP Project 12 credits
TOTAL 77 credits

MSN-DNP Degree Requirements: 32 credits

Core Requirements 11 credits
Concentration 9 credits
DNP Project 12 credits
TOTAL 32 credits

Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Concentration (MSN-BSN): 9 credits