Elmhurst U. Introduces its First Doctoral Program

October 18, 2021 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Elmhurst University is stepping into new territory this year with the launch of its first doctoral program.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program was approved by the Higher Learning Commission in October and will begin in Fall Term 2022.

“We’re thrilled to provide the very first doctoral-level program at the University,” said Diane Salvador, professor of nursing and executive director of the Department of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Nursing is always at the forefront of change and innovation, and this is an example of how nursing at Elmhurst can lead such initiatives.”

“As Elmhurst University celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and the nursing program celebrates its 50th, the launch of our first doctoral program is not only exciting but historic,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “It’s a fitting tribute to the stellar work of our Department of Nursing and Health Sciences, and will lead to better health care and patient outcomes.”

The DNP program was developed partly in response to the growing importance of a doctoral degree in the nursing profession. “It’s quickly becoming the expectation that nurses in advanced practice or advanced roles will have a DNP,” Salvador said. “We need to be able to provide that level of education for our practitioners.”

Designed for working nurses with master’s degrees, the program is offered entirely online in a part-time format. Students will move through their courses as a cohort, developing a supportive community of study partners and colleagues.

The program is oriented toward doctoral-level practice rather than research. As part of their experience, students will identify a current issue in health care, work throughout the program to develop a solution, and graduate with a tangible portfolio showcasing the implementation of their project.

The program focuses on systems leadership, giving students the tools to create change across an entire health care system or population of patients.

“A DNP from Elmhurst University gives students the tools to have an even greater impact on how people experience health care in this country,” said Becky Hulett, assistant professor of nursing and director of the doctoral program.

The new program builds on Elmhurst’s 50-year legacy as a leader in nursing education.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the University’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs among the best in the nation, and Elmhurst’s online master’s entry in nursing practice (MENP) program is the first of its kind in the United States.


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