American Sentinel University Launches New Doctor of Nursing Practice

American Sentinel University

American Sentinel UniversityAURORA, Colo. – April 19, 2012 – Today’s academic environment has expanded the role of deans and directors of nursing education to go beyond curriculum development to include managing resource planning, designing new education delivery models and mapping program objectives to outcomes assessments, while navigating new laws, regulations and industry trends. But many nurse educators lack the tools needed to be effective in transforming nursing education.

That’s why American Sentinel University has designed the industry’s first online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Educational Leadership degree specifically to foster the advanced practice of leadership in the nursing education setting.

“We are excited to introduce such an innovative degree program that prepares a nurse educator to be a different kind of leader – one who has the skills and knowledge to create and deliver new models of teaching and learning for those in the nursing workforce,” says Catherine Garner, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN, dean, health sciences and nursing at American Sentinel University.

Dr. Garner says the idea for the program came from community college deans who realized they need this kind of terminal degree, but could not get traction from traditional schools.

“Because American Sentinel has taken a stance for innovative, non-traditional learning in the area of nursing education and DNP programs online, many deans came to us with the suggestions of a learner-centered curriculum and technology and simulation in learning,” adds Dr. Garner. “We then suggested additional areas, such as finance and fund development, strategic planning and higher education policy.”

The Carnegie Foundation’s 2010 publication, ‘Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation,’ and the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 report, ‘The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,’ provided much of the DNP Educational Leadership program’s foundational ideas.

American Sentinel’s doctorate in nursing education is intentionally designed to develop the six key competencies most needed by today’s nursing education leaders:

  • leadership
  • finance and fund development
  • new models of curriculum development and delivery -strategic planning -education policy -education research

These competencies vary greatly from those taught in traditional Ph.D. or Ed.D. programs.

“Our program is geared towards educating leaders in nursing education. It is not a research degree like the Ph.D.; rather it is a practice degree for the discipline of nursing. And while an Ed.D. focuses on education, it is not specific to nursing education practitioners, which requires very different nuances,” explains Dr. Garner.

The roles of nursing deans and education directors have expanded significantly over the last several years, and traditional models do not prepare these professionals for leading others, developing long range strategic plans, building alliances and executing joint ventures, or raising money.

“Our DNP gives leaders the tools they need in order to be effective in transforming nursing education,” adds Dr. Garner.

Jennifer Lucy, MEd, BSN, RN, has enrolled in the program’s first cohort starting July 9, 2012.

Lucy had been researching doctorate of nursing programs for a long time, but had never found a program that offered a focus on nursing education that also addressed applicability to practice.

“The Ph.D.’s I found were too research-based and the nursing leadership programs really did not interest me because my passion is the education of our future nurses,” says Lucy. “I believe that as leaders within the field of academic nursing, the faculty in American Sentinel’s DNP Educational Leadership program can guide and nurture me to become a better educator by mentoring me at a high level.”

American Sentinel University’s two-year DNP Educational Leadership leverages a learner-centered program and features just two 10-day residencies, a flexible online learning format, eight-week-long courses with two-week breaks in between and a bridge program for those nurses with non-nursing Master’s degrees.

The 42-credit program is open to nurse educators who have at least three years of nursing education leadership experience and a Master’s degree of any kind. (Nurse educators with a master’s in areas other than nursing will need to take two MSN bridge courses prior to starting this DNP.) No GRE or other placement testing is required. The next cohorts begin on July 9, 2012 and October 22, 2012.

“Busy nurse educators will not only find our program livable and manageable, but fulfilling and enjoyable. Plus, they will acquire specialized leadership credentials, making them all the more valuable in their mission to create and train future generations of nurses,” says Dr. Garner.

For information or to register for American Sentinel University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership program, please visit or call 866.922.5691.

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The university is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission of DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.