DNP Post Master’s Evaluation of Prior Learning

Background

The Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner curriculum was developed according to guidelines set out by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). The AACN The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) set competencies that all DNP prepared graduates must achieve. Nurses with previous graduate level coursework are able to apply previous graduate level coursework toward the PLU DNP program. The The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) provides guidelines for determining how a post-MSN student meets the DNP end of program competencies.

“Post-master’s programs should be designed based on the DNP candidate’s prior education, experience, and choice of specialization. Even though competencies for the DNP build and expand upon those attained through master’s study, post-master’s and post-baccalaureate students must achieve the same end-of-program competencies….The task force recommends that accrediting bodies should ensure that post-master’s DNP programs have mechanisms in place to validate that students acquire all DNP end-of-program competencies. DNP programs, particularly post-master’s options, should be efficient and manageable with regard to the number of credit hours required, and avoid the development of unnecessarily long, duplicative, and/or protracted programs of study.” (2006, pg. 17).

The PLU School of Nursing conducts a Gap Analysis of the student’s previous coursework and/or prior experience that may be applied to the PLU DNP degree. All Post-Master’s students require 1000 hours of clinical experience post-BSN, therefore a record of clinical hours from previous graduate educational programs will be submitted.

Some post-MSN students may have extensive clinical and practice experience that may meet the objectives of some of the required coursework, therefore a process to evaluate the coursework is required.

Process for Evaluating Prior Learning
  1. All formal, transcripted coursework will be evaluated to determine if the coursework meets the course objectives for the PLU similar course. If the outside course is determined to be closely matched to the PLU course, the student may apply to transfer the course to PLU and credit it to the DNP degree requirements.
  2. If the student has strong evidence of meeting all the objectives of a course via clinical or professional experience, they may develop a portfolio demonstrating achievement of the course outcomes. If the portfolio demonstrates achievement of the course outcomes and competencies, the course requirement may be waived. Waived course(s) will appear on the student’s Academic Program Contract (APC), identified as “waived via portfolio.”
  3. If a course objectives are partially met, the student will need to enroll in an Independent Study (NURS 591) course to complete activities required to fulfill the objective(s).
Portfolio Evidence

When developing the portfolio of evidence to demonstrate achievement of course outcomes, it is the responsibility of the student to build a substantive file of evidence. The portfolio must include the student’s CV and academic transcript.

Evidence may include:

  • Projects completed. Must include the final report of completion of the project that includes goals, outcome desired, outcome achieved and current status of project if available.
  • Policy work. Provide a copy of a professional or healthcare related policy developed and implemented at the systems level.
  • Continuing Education: Extensive continuing education (15 contact hours) specific to a course objective may be used. Portfolio must include CE certificates of completion.
  • Written description of the student’s practice experience.
  • Evidence of expertise in an area (ie teaching classes, conference presentations, national certification).
  • Other activities that demonstrate expertise in practice and/or healthcare leadership.
  • Publications.

CIC approval, 9/2015
SNO approval, 9/2015