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King University News :: King University Receives Approval to Implement Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

First DNP Classes at King to Begin Fall 2014


BRISTOL, Tenn., June 3, 2014– King University has been granted approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states, to implement the Doctor of Nursing Practice program beginning with the fall 2014 semester in August. In December 2013, after a thorough examination process, SACSCOC voted to approve King’s application to operate as a Level V institution. This new designation allows King University to offer up to three doctoral degree programs, the first of which will be the Doctor or Nursing Practice. Applications are currently being accepted for the fall start of the DNP program.

“We are excited to offer professional nurses in our region the terminal degree in nursing practice, leading to opportunities in leadership, performance improvement, informatics, advanced practice, and quality initiatives,” said Mona Salyer, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management Graduate Professional Studies Tri-Cities. “The DNP focus is on outcomes improvement in healthcare through the translation of research into practice, and maximizing the impact of the interdisciplinary health care team.”

Currently, there are two types of doctoral degrees in nursing: the PhD, a researched-focused doctorate, and the DNP, the practice-focused doctorate. The DNP has been firmly established as the terminal degree in nursing practice.

Dr. Rhonda Morgan, DNP, MSN, RN, CCNS, CEN, CNRN, APN, associate dean for Graduate Studies Nursing and associate professor for the King University School of Nursing said, “We have full approval to proceed with the implementation of the DNP program. King’s first DNP class is scheduled to graduate in 2016 with the terminal degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice.”

King’s DNP program will be a practice-focused platform, which will contribute to the expansion of knowledge underlying advanced professional nursing practice. This program will place emphasis on essential knowledge development in areas including translation of research into practice, evaluation of interdisciplinary teamwork for performance excellence, and dissemination of new knowledge for outcomes improvement. The program was designed using the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice specified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

“The DNP program was designed by highly experienced nurse educators for nurses in a variety of practice and leadership roles,” Cecelia Lynn Holden, DNP, MEd, MSN, RN, CEN, dean and associate professor for King University’s School of Nursing.  “The part-time, two classes per semester program is ideal for the full-time professional nurse. We are extremely proud of the DNP program and look forward to educating nurses at an advanced level to evaluate and translate research, thus improving health care outcomes for varied populations served.”

“This program is developed specifically for the full-time working professional,” said Morgan. “It is 36 semester hours designed to be completed in two calendar years.”

King’s DNP program will have a blended format curriculum of online and on-site coursework. The students will participate in three face-to-face colloquia at King’s Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville, Tenn. The program consists of 36 prescribed semester credit hours, 1,000 documented post-baccalaureate clinical hours, a culminating translational research project, and demonstration of identified final degree competencies. Some of the courses include Applied Statistics for Evidence-based Practice, Nursing Informatics, Leadership of Complex Systems and Organizations, and Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice.

Morgan commented, “DNP graduates are prepared at the highest level to assume leadership and improvement roles in practice, executive function, and education as practitioners, informaticists, administrators, faculty, case managers, quality and safety officers, infection disease practitioners, policy specialists, and entrepreneurs within the planning, delivery, and evaluation of healthcare outcomes.”

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at King University is open to qualified applicants who hold a master’s degree in Nursing from an accredited school and a current unencumbered license as a registered nurse, including practitioners, educators, nurse specialists, generalists, and administrators.

For more information or to apply for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at King University visit or contact the Office of Admissions at 800.362.0014 or


King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.