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Clinical Concentration

Clinical DNP Post Master's Program Overview

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a Post Masters course of study and terminal degree for Nurse Practitioners (Adult Gerontology-Acute Care, Family, Pediatric, Psychiatric, and Woman’s Health), Certified Nurse Midwives and Clinical Nurse Specialists. The program is designed for licensed, registered nurses with a BSN from an accredited school or university or equivalent and a Master’s Degree as an Advanced Practice Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife or Clinical Nurse Specialist from a nationally accredited program.

The University of New Mexico’s College of Nursing (CON) recognizes a state and national need to prepare leaders for the highest level of professional nursing practice by providing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The curriculum integrates and prepares graduates according to the standards set by both the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) DNP Essentials and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF) Core Competencies. Program outcomes are also consistent with Competencies for the Practice Doctorate in Midwifery (ACNM, 2011)

Curriculum Overview

There are twelve program outcomes expected of the DNP graduate:

1. Demonstrate role competency as a doctorally prepared advanced practice nurse in clinical practice, scholarship, and leadership.
NONPF Core Competencies – Leadership, Independent Practice
AACN Essentials I, II & VIII 
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 5, 9

2. Establish interprofessional collaboration to apply analytic methods to create, adopt and evaluate effective innovations that improve the health of diverse, rural, and underserved individuals and populations.
NONPF Core Competencies – Scientific Foundations, Practice Inquiry Competencies, Health Delivery System Competencies, Independent Practice
AACN Essentials I, II III, VI, VII & VIII
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 2

3. Design and implement evidence based strategies to improve health outcomes .
NONPF Core Competencies – Scientific Foundations, Leadership
AACN Essentials I, III, IV & VI
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 2

4. Provide leadership which engages individuals, systems and communities to develop , implement, and evaluate interventions to reduce health disparities.
NONPF Core Competencies –Quality, Independent practice
AACN Essentials VIII
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 2

5. Facilitate optimal health outcomes through individualized patient centered and culturally sensitive prevention, risk identification and management. 
NONPF Core Competencies – Health Delivery System, Independent Practice
AACN Essentials VII 
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 2, 5

6. Design and apply clinical, system-based, community, political, and policy approaches to reduce health inequities.
NONPF Core Competencies – Policy 
AACN Essentials V 
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 2, 4

7. Provide leadership in formulation, application and analysis of institutional and public policies that impact health.
NONPF Core Competencies - Policy
AACN Essential V
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 4, 8

8. Integrate and evaluate clinical information systems and patient care technologies to further evidence based professional practice.
NONPF Core Competencies – Health Delivery System, Technology and Information Literacy
AACN Essentials II & IV
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 7

9. Apply interprofessional leadership and advocacy skills in the development, implementation, and evaluation of clinical practice models, health policy, and standards of care.
NONPF Core Competencies – Policy, leadership, Practice Inquiry
AACN Essentials V & VIII
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 4, 8

10. Utilize effective management and organizational skills to assume a leadership role in health care delivery, policy, and systems.
NONPF Core Competencies –Health Delivery System, Policy, Leadership
AACN Essentials II, V
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 4

11. Apply professional values and ethical decision making in practice.
NONPF Core Competencies – Ethics
AACN Essential V
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 6

12. Continuously improve the quality of one’s own clinical practice based on knowledge of evolving evidence, professional reflection, and personal accountability.
NONPF Core Competencies –Leadership, Quality, Practice Inquiry
AACN Essential II
ACNM Practice Doctorate in Midwifery Competencies 1, 2, 3

General Statement

The faculty of the University of New Mexico, College of Nursing, is committed to excellence and diversity in its student body. Our admission policy for the baccalaureate, master, and doctoral degree programs is congruent with the mission statement of the College of Nursing and the Health Sciences Center. We believe that diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives among the student body help to insure a dynamic, productive, and positive learning experience. In seeking to achieve diversity, the admissions committees for each degree program may consider a wide range of factors in evaluating applicants for admission. Competency in the English language is required.

Since this college is a publicly funded institution, New Mexico residents are given preference. Geographical distribution from within the state also may be a factor in selecting the entering class as part of our search for diversity. It has been our experience that a large percentage of the applicant pool is qualified to be admitted, and if admitted would succeed in the course of studies. Doctoral programs are capped at a specified number of applicants each year to match resources. Many qualified applicants are regrettably denied admission.

The College of Nursing Admission Policy shall be subject to periodic review by the faculty and as requested by the Dean. Each admissions committee (i.e., baccalaureate, master, doctoral) operates within guidelines specific to that degree and/or concentration, as follows:

DNP Clinical Concentration Degree Program

The DNP degree at the College of Nursing requires doctoral applicants to have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited school or university or equivalent and a Master’s degree as an Advanced Practice Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife or Clinical Nurse Specialist from a nationally accredited program. Applicants are evaluated for their potential to meet program goals. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA at the master’s level (with a 3.5+ GPA preferred) in order to be considered for admission to the doctoral program.

Applicants to the DNP degree program with less than a 3.0 GPA for their master’s degree must specifically petition the College of Nursing DNP Admissions Committee to review their materials for admission. The petition must accompany the application. It should address the reasons for the low grade point average and provide evidence of potential for academic success at a doctoral level. The DNP Admissions Committee will consider the petition when making admission decisions. Such applicants may be required to complete coursework in a non-degree status prior to consideration for admission to the DNP program.

Applicants to the doctoral program are considered for summer admission only. All required application materials must be received by the application deadline. These include (but are not limited to) the application, registration form, transcripts, three letters of reference, letter of intent, and DNP Project Statement of Purpose. Applicants must agree to sign a commitment to enroll in the program of studies course sequencing and attend the annual DNP residency week held in the summer term of each year.

A screening committee, comprised of at least two members of the DNP Subcommittee, reviews the application materials and interviews each applicant. Specific screening criteria are used in their evaluation. Their recommendations for admissions are taken to the DNP Subcommittee for consideration. The Subcommittee’s recommendation is then forwarded to the Graduate Committee for consideration.

If you are an experienced Advanced Practice Nurse (Adult Gerontology-Acute-Care, Family, Pediatric, Psychiatric, and Woman’s Health), Certified Nurse Midwife or Clinical Nurse Specialist who is interested in applying to this program, please complete the online application ( Applicants must meet admission requirements posted below. For further questions you may contact Jeri Belsher, Advisor for Graduate Programs, or Dr. Joanne Haeffele, Associate Professor, and Clinical DNP Program Director

Admission Guide - Summer 2017

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): Admission Criteria

  • Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited school or university or equivalent.
  • Applicants must have a Master’s degree as an Advanced Practice Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife or Clinical Nurse Specialist from a nationally accredited program.
  • Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in nursing courses at the master’s level.
  • Applicants must possess a current and unencumbered, Registered Nurse and Advanced Practice or Midwifery license from the state in which they will be completing their practicum, and submit these with their applications.
  • Applicants must possess current national certification in their specialty, and a copy must be submitted with the application.
  • Applicants must submit a letter of intent which specifies short and long term professional goals, and a clear statement of how the DNP will advance your clinical nursing practice.
  • Applications must include a current CV/resume.
  • Applications must include a 2-3 page essay that identifies a system or population focus and related health problem area that you intend to address as part of your DNP program of scholarship.
  • Applications must include three professional references from those who know your work well and can comment on your abilities to succeed in doctoral education and an advanced leadership role. At least one must be from an individual who has evaluated your work in the past, such as a professor or supervisor.
  • Applications must include official transcripts from each college or university ever attended.
  • Applicants must agree to sign a commitment to enroll in the program of study with course sequencing, and to attend the annual DNP residency week each year.
  • Applicants must participate in a personal interview (to be arranged by the DNP Program Admissions Committee and may be in person, by phone or via web conference).
  • Once admitted, students must fulfill the UNM Health Sciences Center’s (HSC) and College of Nursing deadlines during the first semester, including, but not limited to, immunization records, urine drug screen, background screenings, life support certifications, Bloodborne Pathogens and HSC HIPAA trainings.

Why do I need a DNP?
You do not need a DNP if you are a certified advanced practice nurse and keep your certification current. However, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has recommended the DNP be the education preparation for advanced practice nurses (NP, CRNA, CNS, and CNM). In addition to the educational preparation of advanced practice nurses, the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice emphasizes the need for further education in regards to leadership, health policy, information systems, and health care delivery systems. These foundations of DNP education supply Advanced Practice Nurses with the highest level of educational preparation in this nursing specialty. How long is the program and is there a set curriculum and project required? The program is a total of six terms, or 2 years beginning in the summer. The curriculum is sequential.

What is a DNP Project?
The DNP Project is a culminating project showing practice excellence and demonstrating leadership, knowledge of population health, evidence-based practice, inquiry, and the integration of the DNP role in a comprehensive health care environment. The project is to be practice-oriented that meets the needs of the DNP’s community of interest. The project is NOT a dissertation, but must exemplify scholarly activity.

Is the program completely online? What campus events are required of applicants/students?
The DNP Clinical Concentration didactic courses are completely online with both synchronous and asynchronous learning utilized. Students are required to come to campus for Integration Residency I and II at the beginning of each year of the program for orientation and ongoing support for curriculum completion and individual projects. It is expected that students come to campus for their DNP Project Proposal Defense (end of year one) and for DNP Project Defense (end of year two). Clinical practice hours may be obtained in your home location. Applicants are invited to campus for interviews but are not required to attend on campus as interviews will be offered via telephone, or if needed through web conferencing.

Can I continue my full-time job while in the program?
Yes. The two-year program is designed for students to remain in their current positions. The time commitment for the program varies by term and year, but the highest number of credits will be six in any one term with the exception of one term which is 7.

What technology requirements are needed?
A high-speed internet connection is essential. Students accepted into the program are required to have a computer, printer, web camera, internet access, Microsoft Office and the capability for downloading videos. In addition, students are required to be proficient in Excel. Specific classes may require additional information technology and programs.

What is the cost?
Information about the cost of both in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees can be found online at the Bursar's Tuition and Fees website:, please note that there is an additional Nursing Tuition Differential for nursing students and can be found just under the Tuition and Fee Schedule . In addition to these costs please estimate $500 per term in additional course fees, HSC Library Fee and Needle stick Insurance Fee. If you have any question, please contact the College of Nursing's Financial Aid Officer, Ana Vigil, or (505) 272-0854.

Is student aid available?
Information regarding Financial Aid resources and more detail of financial assistance is at the following link: In Summary, there are various resources: Federal Student Financial Aid such as student loans is the most common form of assistance; other resources include: National Health Service Corp., State resources such as the New Mexico Health Service corp., UNM Office of Graduate Studies Funding Resources. Please contact Ana Vigil, program coordinator if you have any questions at or (505) 272-0854.

For further questions you may contact Jeri Belsher, Senior Advisor for Graduate Programs, or Dr. Joanne Haeffele, Associate Professor and DNP Clinical Concentration Program Director

NEXus Doctoral Elective Courses

The UNM College of Nursing is part of NEXus (the Nursing Education Exchange), a collaboration among several Western Institute of Nursing (WIN) doctoral programs that offer· graduate courses through distance education. These institutions have entered into an agreement that allows the programs to share seats in courses and transfer credits in those courses across member institutions. Membership in NEXus provides students access to a wide variety of courses. Through NEXus, the institutions have identified courses that are available at a distance and open for enrollment from Academic Collaborator and Affiliate member institutions. Students should discuss plans to enroll in a NEXus course with their advisor before enrolling in the course.  Without the approval of the Committee on Studies, students might not be able to include the course( s) on their Application for Candidacy.

 Financial Considerations

 The current rate for a NEXus course is $775.00/credit hour (subject to change annually). This fee typically covers all associated university fees.  As with all courses, students are responsible for the cost of books and educational materials.

 NEXus courses qualify for financial aid- if you are receiving financial aid and plan on taking a NEXus course please contact Ana Vigil (amvigil@salud.unm. edu) to complete a UNM consortium agreement.

 Students are responsible for meeting the registration and payment deadlines of the institution that is offering the course. In most cases, this will not coincide with UNM's calendar so advanced planning financially and academically is important.

 Academic Considerations

 Policies on the transfer of NEXus courses vary by institution. For example, for UNM students, NEXus courses cannot be substituted for core courses, the substantive area courses, or health policy courses required by the concentration.

 Students enrolled in a NEXus course must meet all course requirements. Students are encouraged to contact the course faculty in advance to ensure that they understand the course requirements (e. g., prerequisite course vacation periods, on-campus requirements, technology requirements, synchronous versus asynchronous discussions, etc. ).

Visit for contact information and registration deadlines and dates.

For assistance in registering for a NEXus course contact Mary Jastrzemski, (505) 272-2684 or