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Become a Nurse Leader

Distinguish yourself as a DNP nurse leader. Influence health care systems at an executive level, direct and inform decision-making, and transform models of care. We develop health care executives and leaders that create change throughout the Intermountain West.


The DNP degree furthers the student's focus on the leadership role. Particular emphasis is placed on translational methods in evidence-based practice that drive innovation in health care organizations and systems. The Post MS-DNP is designed for Masters prepared nurses to obtain the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in one of two pathways:

  • Direct Care for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN)
  • Organizational Leadership (non-APRNs, i.e., for nurse administrators, and APRNs)

As a doctoral student in the Post-MS to DNP track you will:

  • Develop skills to influence public policy through participation in professional organizations and health policy activities at the local, national, and global level
  • Affect change and partner with health systems across the Intermountain West (Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico)
  • Take courses in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and health systems leadership and management
  • Complete the program in as few as five semesters
  • Have options for full-time and part-time programs of study
  • Experience courses in online and in an executive format


Direct Care Pathway (for APRNs)

  • Identify trends in practice to improve patient outcomes
  • Analyze and apply evidence to make improvements in patient care populations
  • Identify potential system changes to improve care for patient populations
  • Facilitate quality improvement projects to improve patient care
  • Understand finance and business principles for clinical providers

Organizational Leadership Pathway (for APRNs/non-APRNs)

  • Summarize critical processes used in program planning
  • Apply organizational and systems leadership skills to eliminate health disparities and promote patient safety
  • Project the impact of regulatory, government, and policy change on health care finance, reimburse, and delivery
  • Analyze and predict strategies to positively influence system outcomes.
  • Identify need for program development based on regulatory mandates, market demands, and system-level outcomes

"The knowledge I gained during the MS to DNP Organizational Leadership DNP program helped me to develop systems-level thinking, which is ideal when leading in large health care systems and academic medical centers. I gained a greater awareness of the social determinants of health, and the importance of advocating for improved health outcomes for marginalized groups—helping me become a better-informed nurse leader and inspiring me to take my leadership to the next level."

-Rita Aguilar, DNP, MBA, RNC, NEA-BC, Senior Nursing Director at University of Utah Health