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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing
 

Doctor of Nursing Practice-Public Health Nursing (DNP-PHN)

Advanced Public Health Nursing Degree – Program Overview


DNP-PHN
CU’s College of Nursing (CON), together with the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH), offers two advanced public health degree options:

  • The doctor of nursing practice/master's of public health (DNP/MPH) dual degree and
  • The doctor of nursing practice – public health nursing (DNP-PHN) degree 

What’s the difference?

Students earn a DNP in both programs and both degrees are interdisciplinary. The DNP-PHN program leads to a doctor of nursing practice with a public health focus. The DNP/MPH option leads to both a DNP and a Masters in Public Health because the curriculum has more depth in public health. There are also different prerequisites for each program.

  • See “Pathways” to find out which program is ideal for you.

About the DNP-PHN

The DNP-PHN program prepares students for nursing leadership roles in public and community health settings, with particular emphasis on prevention and management of populations with multiple chronic conditions.

Scholars take concurrent courses in the University of Colorado’s CON and in the Colorado School of Public Health. Electives allow students to tailor studies to their interests.

The DNP-PHN degree is ideal for:

  • Nurses who have a BSN and MPH.

  • Nurses who have a BSN and MS in public or community health nursing.

  • Nurses who have a BSN and current ANCC certification as an Advanced Public Health Nurse (APHN-BC) (requirements may viewed here.)

Have a BSN only or a BSN and MS in a nursing specialty other than public/community health nursing? Consider the DNP/MPH degree.

 

There are four pathways to the Doctorate of Nursing Practice that specializes in public health. The pathways are differentiated by the applicant’s professional preparation:

  1. For applicants who hold a master’s degree in public health nursing or community health nursing, admission to either the DNP-Public Health Nursing program or the DNP/MPH dual degree program is appropriate. Participants in the dual degree program acquire greater depth of knowledge in public health science than those in the DNP-PHN, as reflected in comparison of the two curricula. (compare with DNP/MPH)
  2. For applicants with a BS in nursing and a master of public health (MPH), the DNP-Public Health Nursing program offers doctoral preparation in public health nursing. Additional course work and/or clinical practicum hours beyond those described in the DNP-PHN curriculum may be required.
  3. For applicants who are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in a clinical nursing specialty (other than public/community health nursing), the DNP/MPH dual degree is the appropriate program. Additional course work and/or clinical practicum hours in advanced public health nursing may be required for those without graduate nursing education in PHN. View the DNP/MPH page for more information.
  4. For applicants whose highest degree in nursing is a BS, and who do not have an MPH, the DNP/MPH dual degree is the appropriate program. Additional clinical practicum hours beyond those described in the dual degree curriculum may be required. View the DNP/MPH page for more information.

Nationwide, award of the DNP requires 1,000 post-baccalaureate academically-supervised clinical practicum hours as defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Your transcript will be evaluated to determine the coursework and number of credits/courses in Public Health/Practicum attained prior to entry in the program.

​Course Number and Name* ​Credits
REQUIRED NURSING COURSES:

NUDO 6052 Context of Practice, Population and Patient Management​

​6

NUDO 6054 Multiple Chronic Conditions: Interprofessional Public Health Strategies​

​4

​NURS 6282 Foundations of Health Care Informatics

​3

NUDO 6055 Applied Evidence-Based Practice​

​3

​NUDO 7018 Clinical Evaluation Proposal

​2

​NUDO 8010 Leadership Role Residency

​4

​NUDO 8018 DNP Capstone Clinical Evaluation Project

​4
Subtotal Required Nursing Courses 26
REQUIRED PUBLIC HEALTH COURSES:

​BIOS 6601 Applied Biostatistics I

​3

​HSMP 6603 Health Systems and Management

​3

​HSMP 6605 Health Care Policy

​3

​CBHS 6610 Social Behavioral Factors in Health

​3

​EPID 6630 Epidemiology

​3
Subtotal Required Public Health Courses 15
ELECTIVE:

​Elective in Multiple Chronic Conditions

​2
Subtotal Multiple Chronic Conditions Electives 2
TOTAL 43**

* All didactic courses are offered online.

** Nationwide, award of the DNP requires 1,000 post-baccalaureate academically-supervised clinical practicum hours. Clinical hours earned in a previous master’s degree in a clinical nursing field will be credited towards the 1,000 hour requirement. Students who do not hold a master’s degree in nursing and/or cannot document 500 post-baccalaureate clinical practicum hours will be required to supplement their DNP program by enrolling in additional (1-12) credits of advanced public health nursing practicum, as determined by analysis of individual transcripts.

 

For full course descriptions, view this PDF.


As a part of the DNP Capstone series of courses, all DNP-PHN and DNP/MPH students are required to complete practicum credit hours in public/community health settings. Practicum experiences for out-of-state students must be negotiated among course instructors, students, and their program advisors to best fit the learning needs and professional goals of the student. For Colorado students, the majority of current practice sites are in local and state, community-based agencies, including public health departments. Many of the sites serve the most vulnerable populations in Colorado. 

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2006) requires of DNPs a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised academic post-baccalaureate practice. CU’s DNP curriculum provides 540 of the 1,000 practicum hours in public/community health settings, with the first 500 hours generally completed in master’s level nursing education. Applicants’ transcripts will be evaluated to determine the coursework and number of credits/courses in Public Health and practicum experiences attained prior to entry in the program. Additional clinical practicum hours beyond those described in the dual degree curriculum may be required to address any gaps.​​


Students work with a nationally and internationally recognized faculty from both CU’s College of Nursing, which is ranked in the top 10 online nursing programs nationwide,* and the Colorado School of Public Health.

Renowned for mentoring and expertise in research, scholarship, and service, our faculty teaches nursing founded on empirical research and evidence-based practice.

Lead faculty have made significant contributions to public health, interprofessional education, disabilities and chronic conditions, parish nursing, and pediatric, adolescent, and adult health.

Lead faculty:

Project Director, Marilyn Krajicek, EdD, RN, FAAN

Scott Harpin, PhD, MPH, RN, PHCNS-BC

Kathy Shaw, DNP, RN, CDE

Marilyn Stember, PhD, RN, FAAN

Learn more about lead faculty’s clinical and research interests.


*U.S. News and World Report, 2014​


How is the DNP with a Public Health focus different from the traditional (general) DNP program?
The DNP-PHN and DNP/MPH dual degree programs combine coursework from CON and the CSPH, making it one of the first interdisciplinary programs of its kind in the U.S. Coursework in our traditional DNP program is primarily within the College of Nursing, with a focus on advanced clinical practice. Also, the DNP/MPH and DNP-PHN programs include an option for students to conduct program evaluation capstones, in lieu of quality improvement projects.

Does the program offer distance learning? 
Yes. All didactic courses are available online. Practicum courses may be arranged locally in consultation with CU program advisors, course instructors, and local preceptors. There are four on-campus classroom sessions when the student begins the capstone series (NUDO 6052).

Do I need to be an APRN to apply for either of these programs?
No, you need not hold a certification in an APN specialty area to apply for these options. Please refer to the Pathways tab for more information.

Will I be an APRN upon completion of one of these programs?
No, but dual degree graduates are prepared to sit for certification in Public Health through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

How long does it take to complete the DNP-PHN or DNP/MPH program? And what are the credit requirements of each?
Timing depends on whether you choose full- or part-time status, and how many credit hours you take at a time. Please refer to the sample plans of study for credits required and estimated timeframes for completion of the DNP-PHN and DNP/MPH programs as a full- or part-time student. Full-time status at the University of Colorado is a minimum of 5 credits per semester. Students may opt to take a heavier course load than is depicted in the sample full- and part-time program plans to complete the program more rapidly.

See sample plans of study.

Are there both part-time and full-time options available?
Yes, please refer to DNP-PHN part-time and full-time and DNP/MPH part-time and full-time sample plans.

Do I need to be a Colorado resident to apply?
No. We consider applicants from inside and outside Colorado. Out-of-state tuition applies to those who are not Colorado residents; however, residents of 15 other states may qualify for in-state tuition through the WICHE program.

How many graduates have job offers when the graduate? What types of jobs do graduates typically get?
Our program is too new to have statistics on the hire rates for graduates. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in leadership positions in: public health programs; program development, implementation and evaluation; quality improvement; systems consultation; advocacy through policy development and analysis; and care coordination for multiple chronic conditions.

When are applications due?
Applications to the College of Nursing for either the DNP-PHN or the DNP/MPH program are due Feb 15 for fall semester of the same year, and July 1 for spring semester of the following year.

Can I take classes before I am formally admitted?
Yes. Please email Dr. Judy Campbell for advice on enrolling with non-degree/professional development status.

How do I apply?
Complete a CU College of Nursing application to the DNP program by February 15 (fall admission) or July 1 (spring admission the following year). Identify interest in the DNP-PHN and/or DNP/MPH in the first sentence of the required essay.

CSPH requires recent GRE scores for admission to the MPH program; this requirement may be waived for individuals with a master’s degree from an accredited university. CON and CSPH staff work together to review applications and ensure a seamless process for dual degree applicants. (GRE scores are not required for application to the DNP-PHN program.)

Do I need to submit GRE scores as part of my application?
That depends on whether you apply to the DNP/MPH or DNP-PHN program. GRE scores are not required for admission to the DNP-PHN program. The CSPH does require official GRE scores for applicants to the dual degree program (DNP/MPH). If the applicant holds a graduate level degree from an accredited U.S. institution, the GRE requirement may be waived. The CPSH does not currently have a minimum score requirement. The average scores of the accepted applicants for a recent semester were: 153.5 Quantitative and 155.8 Verbal. The MCAT, DAT, LSAT, PCAT or GMAT may be substituted for the GRE.

Why should I consider a nursing program at the Anschutz Medical Campus?
Although both the DNP-PHN and DNP/MPH dual degree programs are available online, students may elect to take coursework onsite at the Anschutz Medical Campus, which is located in Aurora, Colorado, adjacent to Denver.  The campus is home to several health profession education institutions, including the CU College of Nursing, and is the CU site of the collaborative Colorado School of Public Health. The campus offers many new facilities with state-of-the-art technology and is home to two (soon to be three) Magnet Hospitals. Prospective students are invited to explore the campus website.

What is the DNP Capstone Series?  
The DNP Capstone Series is a sequence of four courses that focus student efforts on a final project as the culmination of the DNP education. In the series, the student identifies, develops, and implements a project that addresses a systems-level practice or patient issue.

·         NUDO 6052 Context of Practice, Population and Patient Management

·         NUDO 7018 Clinical Evaluation Proposal

·         NUDO 8010 Leadership Role Residency and

·         NUDO 8018 DNP Capstone Clinical Evaluation Project​