Doctoral Degree Program in Nursing Practice Earns Full National Accreditation

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Eastern Kentucky University has earned full national accreditation.

The program was granted a full, five-year accreditation as a new program by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Accreditation by the CCNE, an autonomous accrediting agency of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Kentucky Board of Nursing) indicates that Eastern’s DNP program “meets high standards of quality and integrity” in doctoral nursing education, according to Dr. Mary DeLetter, program coordinator.

“This accreditation is seen by students, graduates and employers as a mark of quality,” DeLetter continued, “indicating … rigorous standards in the development, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum and student outcomes, based on the AACN’s Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Thus, our graduates received the highest standard of educational programming to prepare them for a variety of leadership positions in health care organizations.”

EKU’s Board of Regents, Kentucky Board of Nursing and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education approved the program in 2010 in anticipation of expanded roles for advanced level practitioners. DNP programs, separate and distinct from research doctoral programs, are practice-focused with an emphasis on the use of research and other evidence to improve nursing practice and patient care.

The first students enrolled in the 2 ½-year program in June 2011. To date, seven students have graduated and two are nearing completion. Thirty-nine students are progressing through the 36- to 39-credit-hour program, which emphasizes organizational leadership and evidence-based nursing practice.

The fully online program does not require campus visits; ample interaction between students and faculty occurs through online video conferencing and via telephone and e-mail.

“One of the most frequent affirmations we get from our distance learning students is their satisfaction with the high level of student engagement of our faculty,” DeLetter said.

The program is expected to have a significant impact on the quality of health care in the region, state and nation. Data indicates that most EKU nursing graduates remain in Kentucky to practice, many in rural, underserved areas. With the expansion of the program to a fully online format, students are now enrolled from across the Commonwealth and multiple states.

For more information about the program, visit or contact DeLetter at or 859-622-1966 or Assistant Online Coordinator Will Aaron at or 859-622-7837.

Published on December 03, 2013

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