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University Communications

January 12, 2010

La Salle University Announces
Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Zane Wolf

Zane Robinson Wolf, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Dean of La Salle’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences

La Salle University announces a new Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to begin in August 2010. It is designed as a post-master’s degree for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) with national certification. Applications are currently being accepted. The early admission deadline for receipt of materials is February 26, 2010 while regular admissions application materials must be submitted by April 1, 2010.

"The DNP program provides advanced practice registered nurses the education and opportunity to achieve clinical and leadership positions in various health care and community settings," said Zane Robinson Wolf, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Dean of La Salle’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Currently, APRNs, including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists, are typically prepared in master’s degree programs. "The DNP is an important add-on to the expertise acquired through master’s degree studies, said Patti Zuzelo, Ed.D., MSN, R.N., ACNS-BC, Director of La Salle’s DNP program. "The curriculum provides APRNs with the opportunities to increase their expertise in areas such as ethical decision-making and moral conflict resolution, safety science, and alternative or integrative therapies."

The need for a DNP program is a result of the decision made by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to change the current level of preparation necessary for advanced practice nurses from the master’s degree to the doctorate-level by the year 2015. "The changing demands and complexity of our nation’s healthcare system requires nurses have the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible," said Wolf.
The DNP degree is not a research doctoral program. Its emphasis is on nursing practice. "This degree supports further development of evidence-based, clinical practice expertise by providing additional breadth and depth in the leadership necessary for contributing to the best practices and outcomes that the public has come to expect from APRNs," said Zuzelo.

La Salle’s DNP program emphasizes the needs of urban populations while also addressing the health care needs of the larger metropolitan region. "The curriculum is responsive to the new expectations and opportunities associated with national and state health care reforms," said Zuzelo. "Throughout the DNP program, students will be planning, implementing, and evaluating a clinical capstone project that is relevant, scholarly, and ready for publication."

Doctoral students will progress through the program in a cohort format with most classes scheduled at La Salle’s Bucks County Center in Newtown and some courses offered at La Salle’s main campus. Students will typically enroll in two courses a semester and will take approximately two-and-a-half years to complete. For additional information about La Salle’s DNP program visit