Doctor of Nursing Practice program receives ACEN accreditation

Launched in 2017, The University of Tulsa’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program has now been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Sheryl Stansifer, the director of TU’s School of Nursing, explained the importance of this milestone: “The Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN) requires accreditation for DNP programs. In addition, the profession’s certification bodies – American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) – stipulate that students may sit for national certification exams only if they have graduated from an accredited program such as ours.”

Health care leaders

“Receipt of ACEN accreditation is the direct result of the hard work of our DNP faculty in developing a high-quality program for BSN-prepared registered nurses who want to become nurse practitioners,” said Robin Ploeger, the dean of the Oxley College of Health Sciences. “We are all looking forward to celebrating the first group of DNP students as they graduate this summer, and to seeing the leadership roles they take as they answer the health care needs of the people of Oklahoma and beyond.”

The first cohort of DNP program graduates
The first group of DNP program graduates


“The university is proud of this program and the students who will be its first graduates. It is our sincere hope that the DNP alumni use their education to make a difference in the lives of Oklahomans, many of whom suffer from unconscionable health disparities and may have little access to affordable, quality health care. TU is thrilled that accreditation was granted on time. It is an example of the commitment by faculty and staff to ensuring this program was the best it could be. Congratulations to Dean Ploeger, Dr. Stansifer and their team,” said TU’s president, Gerard P. Clancy, himself a former dean of Oxley College.

DNP pathways

Since its inception, enrollment in TU’s three-year DNP program has steadily increased. Students may choose from three pathways:

  • Family nurse practitioner: providing primary care in a clinic or office, emergency department or urgent care center
  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner: delivering care in acute-care settings, such as a hospital, long-term care facility or inpatient rehabilitation institution
  • Post-master’s: for advanced practice nurses who want to obtain a DNP degree

The DNP program comprises both in-class and online learning. Faculty members arrange students’ clinical rotations, which ensures high-quality learning experiences.

Professor Sheryl Stansifer and a DNP program student in the Clinical Simulation Center

Recognizing quality programming

ACEN accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for education quality. TU’s DNP program has also been approved by the OBN and the Higher Learning Commission.