Fairfield University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a clinically focused degree that prepares graduates to evaluate and apply existing evidence to improve practice outcomes. Taught as a cohort program, students are educated in the fundamental skills necessary to make a difference in healthcare: population-level healthcare, organizational systems, leadership, business management, clinical scholarship, information technology, and policy-making. With this knowledge, DNP Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner graduates are prepared for leadership roles as well as for advanced practice psychiatric nurse roles in a variety of settings.
Come meet our deans and faculty to learn more about our graduate programs.
Dear Prospective Student,
The decision to pursue a doctoral degree is an exciting step in your career. At Fairfield, we offer a rigorous program with a personalized approach to education. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Fairfield University allows you to select or build on a specialized clinical focus as a family or psychiatric nurse practitioner, and to investigate a practice concern that intrigues you.
In choosing to earn a DNP, you'll be on the cutting edge of the profession. In 2004 members of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the DNP as the preferred degree for APRN practice. The AACN membership expressed their commitment to moving the current level of preparation necessary for APRNs from the master's degree to the doctoral level by the year 2015. Why is this necessary?
A DNP education offers APRNs:
As a DNP student at Fairfield's Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, you'll be encouraged to achieve the highest level of advanced clinical nursing practice possible through course work, seminars, and tutorials as well as clinical experiences, immersion opportunities, and a scholarly DNP Project. As with all education at Fairfield, yours will be rigorous, experiential, and inspirational. You'll be expected to develop a broad and thorough understanding of the:
Feel free to explore the possibilities of a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Fairfield University on our website. Please contact me by e-mail or the Track Coordinator to clarify any questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you about your educational and career goals soon.
Dr. Joyce Shea, DNSc, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track Coordinator
Kathleen Wheeler, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN
Phone: (203) 254-4000, ext/ 2708
Upon completion of the Fairfield University DNP program, graduates will possess the following competencies:
DNP graduates will be prepared to be practice leaders in a variety of roles, including:
Visit our online catalog for more information.
Foundation Core Courses
DNP Core Courses
Advanced Practice Core Courses
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (29 credits)
* A total of 1,000 practicum/immersion hours are required for the DNP.
Family Nurse Practitioner - Rolling admission until April 1
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Across the Lifespan - Rolling admission until July 1
Nurse Anesthesia Program - Rolling admission until September 1
There are 3 tracks available in the BSN-DNP program: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Anesthesia. Admission procedures vary by program. Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admission Committee.
BSN applicants for the DNP at Fairfield must hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher overall and in the nursing major. RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree will be considered on an individual basis and may be required to complete select prerequisites to be eligible for admission to the DNP program; however, RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree are not eligible for the Nurse Anesthesia track.
All DNP programs except Nurse Anesthesia
Students seeking admission must complete the following procedure. Submit:
Students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report. A TOEFL composite score of 550 for the paper test, 213 for the computer-based, or 80 on the Internet-based test (IBT) is strongly recommended for admission. Fairfield's ETS code is 3390.
Applicants who meet the above criteria will be invited in for an Admission interview.
For additional information, contact Office of Graduate Admission at Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824-5195; telephone: (203) 254-4184.
Measles and Rubella Immunization
Connecticut Law requires that students born after December 31, 1956 provide proof of immunization or titre for measles and rubella. This proof must be provided prior to course registration to the University Health Center.
At Fairfield, our dedicated faculty play a critical role in our student’s personal and moral development as healthcare providers. Meet the faculty and staff at The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies.
What is the DNP?
The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a practice-focused doctorate comparable to advanced clinical degrees in other health disciplines such as Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). The degree represents the highest academic preparation for nursing practice, focusing on expanded scientific knowledge related to providing comprehensive direct care across all settings. Grounded in clinical practice, the DNP moves the focus of advanced practice nursing from the level of the individual patient to the population level by using a cross-population perspective to assess, manage, and evaluate common problems.
Why a DNP?
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), safe nursing practice in today's increasingly complex health care system requires improved translation of scientific evidence into practice. With a DNP, you'll be able to assume a leadership role in an increasingly complex healthcare system during this critical era of healthcare reform.
The future of nursing rides on the DNP, and the shift in the industry is occurring right now. Members of AACN voted in 2004 to support advanced practice nursing at the doctoral level. This means that the DNP is the preferred degree for students wishing to be a nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), nurse midwife (CNM), or nurse anesthetist (CRNA); it will soon be required in some areas of advanced practice such as nurse anesthesia. For more information on the DNP, visit AACN.
What is the difference between the DNP and the MSN?
The DNP is the preferred degree for advanced practice nursing (AACN, 2004). While programs are still available at the master's level, the DNP is expected to become the standard in the nursing practice.
What is the difference between the PhD and the DNP?
The primary difference between the two is that a PhD is research-focused and the DNP is practice-focused. The PhD is specifically designed to teach students how to conduct original investigation that advances the knowledge of a discipline. In contrast, a DNP is comparable to clinical doctorates in other health disciplines such as pharmacy, physical therapy, and medicine. DNP students focus on advanced practice areas of specialization, acquiring a population perspective in addressing common patient problems within a specialty. DNP students complete a DNP Project that applies existing knowledge to address a clinical problem. The DNP Project results in a publishable paper that demonstrates the effectiveness of a clinical innovation on patient outcomes.
Why a DNP at Fairfield?
Fairfield University offers:
Which advanced practice roles do we offer for BSN-DNP students?
Who develops the specific competencies for nurse practitioners graduate education?
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is responsible for developing the nurse practitioner competencies. This is true for both MSN and DNP preparation.
Where can a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner work and with what ages of patients?
Upon completing the program at Fairfield University, a certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner can work with clients across the lifespan and in all clinical settings including acute care, community clinic, Federally Qualified Health Centers, corrections facilities, academic health centers, and private practice.
Can I transfer graduate credits? If so, how many?
Students can transfer up to 6 core credits if the courses are similar. Evaluation of transfer credits are approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.
If I am a BSN, how long will it take for me to become a DNP, and how much will it cost?
BSNs who pursue the DNP on a full-time basis will take 3 years; 4 years if they do so part-time. The approximate cost is $70-75,000 for the program, depending on the tuition rate per credit which could change slightly over the course of those years.
Can DNP students be part-time?
Yes, many of our students attend school part-time while working full-time; we have both full-time and part-time curricular plans available.
What are the admission requirements for the DNP?
View the Fairfield's Egan School of Nursing graduate admission requirements.
Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to apply?
The GRE exam is not required for the Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthesia Tracks; however, for BSN applicants that have earned a GPA below 3.0., or MSN applicants that have earned a GPA below 3.2, GRE scores may strengthen your application by demonstrating your ability to achieve the academic standards required at the doctoral level.
If I am already a FNP, how can I become certified as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?
The Egan School has developed a special program allowing certified Family Nurse Practitioners to complete all required didactic and clinical coursework as well as DNP coursework as full-time students in 2 years and as part-time students in 3 years.
Who can I call if I have more questions about the DNP for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners program?
Call or email Dr. Kate Wheeler, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2708 for more information.