Course Descriptions


Core Courses | Elective Courses


Core Courses

NURS 410. Evidence-Based Practice I: The Nature of Evidence
This course explores the philosophical underpinnings for nursing knowledge relevant to the role of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Methods by which nursing knowledge is generated and levels of evidence informing nursing practice will be investigated. Students will identify and analyze concepts relevant to their topic of interest. Pre/corequisite: 414. Fall. [2] Donaldson.


NURS 412. Informatics for Scholarly Practice
This course provides an overview of informatics, the transformation of data into information, knowledge, decisions and actions to improve outcomes. To take advantage of electronic data mines, scholars of the future will need to understand the basics of databases and the structure of vocabularies. Knowledge management to support evidence-based practice will be a critical skill. In addition, this course prepares the student to use available technology tools to present, interpret and organize data. Admission to the DNP program or permission of instructors. Fall. [2] Trangenstein and Weiner.

NURS 414. Statistics in Health Sciences
This course provides an overview of the logic and appropriate use of statistical techniques most commonly reported in the research literature of the health professions. The spectrum of topics encompasses most univariate parametric and nonparametric procedures, including correlational and repeated measures analyses. Across the varied topics, emphasis is placed on: 1) becoming knowledgeable of the underlying logic of each statistical technique, 2) the appropriate use and underlying assumptions of the procedure, 3) interpretation of results from statistical software, and 4) evaluation of published results using statistical procedures. Admission to the DNP program or permission of instructors. Fall, Spring. [3] Gordon and Parish.

NURS 420. Integrative Application of Evidence-Based Practice I
This is the first of a four-course series that provides the DNP student with mentored opportunities to develop an independent, analytic scholarly project proposal focusing on problems of practice within specific populations. To complete the objectives of this course successfully, the student is expected to practice a minimum of 125 hours in a practice area related to their topic of interest. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 424; Pre/corequisite: 422. Fall, Spring. [1] Love .

NURS 422. Evidence-Based Practice II: Evaluating and Applying Evidence
This course will build on Evidence-Based Practice I by preparing DNP students to evaluate evidence designed to improve clinical outcomes related to their identified topic of interest, and to translate the evidence into practice environments. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414; Pre/corequisite: 422, 442. Spring. [3] Moore and Donaldson.

NURS 424. Epidemiology
Epidemiology focuses on the distribution and determinants of disease frequency in human populations. This course prepares the student to use epidemiological strategies to examine patterns of illness or injury in groups of people. Concepts of health, risk and disease causality are examined. Implications for development of data-based programs for disease/injury prevention and control as well as policy implications will be discussed. Prerequisite: 414. Fall, Summer. [3] Rogers and Moore.

NURS 430. Integrative Application of Evidence-Based Practice II
In this second course of a three-course series, the DNP student works with a faculty mentor to refine the design and begin implementing the scholarly project. Students must successfully complete an oral presentation of the project prior to implementation. To complete the objectives of this course successfully, the student is expected to practice a minimum of 125 hours in a practice area related to their topic of interest. Each student will be required to submit individual objectives at the beginning of the semester. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 420, 422, 442; Pre/corequisite 432, 444. Spring, Summer. [1] Hande.

NURS 432. Health Care Economics and Finance
This course covers basic economic theory, market drivers and restraints, health care finance and reimbursement, cost/benefit analysis and health care entrepreneurism. Theory and application are integrated throughout the course with a particular focus on the clinical role of the DNP within the contemporary health care environment. Students take either N432 or 434. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 422; Pre/corequisite: 420. Fall, Summer. [3] Arnow.

NURS 434. Advanced Health Care Economics and Finance
This course addresses advanced application of economic theory, financial principles and financial modeling in the health care market. Theory and application are integrated and aimed at preparing the student to assume an executive-level DNP role in large and complex health care organizations. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 422; Pre/corequisite: 420. Fall, Summer. [3] Arnow.

NURS 440.01 Integrative Application of Evidence-Based Practice III
In this final course of a three-course series, the DNP student evaluates the scholarly project specific to a population of interest within a practice setting. In order to successfully complete the objectives of this course, the student is expected to practice a minimum of 250 hours in a practice area related to their topic of interest. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 420, 422, 424, 430, 432, 442, 444; Pre/corequisite: 452, 454. Fall, Summer. [2] Williams.


NURS 442. Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
This course prepares students to design, implement and evaluate evidence-based quality health care practices for patient populations (individuals and aggregates) in acute, home and community settings. Working as partners in interdisciplinary teams, students will assess organizational culture, gather safety information, analyze data and translate findings into systems changes through action learning experiences within their own organizations. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414; Pre/corequisite: 420, 422. Spring, Summer. [3] Leming-Lee.

NURS 444. Management of Organizations and Systems
This course synthesizes leadership theory and organizational models within the context of the health care industry. Models of human resource management, change management, strategic planning, program development and implementation will be explored and applied. Based on these theories and models, the student will derive the DNP's role in complex health care organizations. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 420, 424, 442; Pre/corequisite: 430, 432. Spring, Summer. [3] Thomson-Smith

NURS 445. Evidence-Based Management in Healthcare Organizations and Systems
This course is designed for DNP students with demonstrated competencies in organizational theory and behavior, leadership principles and practices, and organizational structure and culture through prior graduate education and career history. These experienced nurse managers will apply evidence-based management methodology to their work environments. The DNP role is explored as an important catalyst for transforming traditional organizational decision-making and policy development to an evidence based approach. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 420, 422, 424, 442; Pre/corequisite: 430, 432. Spring, Summer. [3] Thomson-Smith.


NURS 452. Health Policy
This course addresses health policy from the perspectives of evidence development, analysis and economic impact within a socio-political context. There is a secondary focus on the role of regulation within the U.S. health care system. The DNP contribution to health policy development is explored. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 420, 442; Pre/corequisite: 430, 440, 444. Fall, Spring. [2] Cull.

NURS 454. Legal and Ethical Environment
This course provides a comprehensive analysis of the legal, regulatory and ethical environments that impact DNP practice. Prerequisite: 410, 412, 414, 420, 422, 424, 430, 432, 442, 444; Pre/corequisite: 440, 452. Fall, Summer. [3] Thomson-Smith and Lutenbacher.


Elective Courses

*IMPORTANT NOTE: 300-level elective courses begin the week prior to the spring DNP Intensive. Make sure that you are in contact with course instructors for direction on how to participate in course orientations on-line.

The following Global Health electives are not offered in distance learning format, but are open to any (local) DNP students able to attend classes on campus.

MHS-311-01 : Ethics in Global Health
Overview of ethical issues and standards in global health, particularly ethics in international research. Serves as repeat credit for students who have completed VIGH 5244 or IGHM 5244. Spring [1]

 

MHS-314-01 : Global Health Politics and Policy
Global health problems facing the world's populations today and efforts taken to improve health at a global level. Political movements of global health issues in the US and among the G8 nations from 2000-2011. Serves as repeat credit for students who have completed VIGH 5250 or IGHM 5250. Spring [1]

 

NURS 381B: Technology Components of Informatics
This course explores the structure and function of networks and network based applications as they relate to their use within healthcare and healthcare education. Topics covered include basic concepts of infrastructure (IP addressing, routing and networks), the basic technology behind medical recording, BYOD (bring your own device) such as Cell Phones and Tablets, data collection and analysis tools, social networking including synchronous communication applications, and educational applications including asynchronous screen narration applications and Learning Management Systems. Fall [2] Gordon

 

NURS 381G - Consumer Health Care Informatics
This course addresses the consumer's use of electronic information systems and applications to improve their medical outcomes and their health care decisions. How informatics solutions impact the health care partnership of provider and patient is explored. Various technology and applications that empower consumers are reviewed. Studies that evaluate the effectiveness of health care informatics in patient outcomes are included. Spring [2] Trangenstein.

 

  • Policy:
    Post-masters and DNP students have the option to enroll in Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Specialty (MSN) nursing courses or an independent study to fulfill the elective requirements. The elective course must provide content applicable to the student’s current or potential practice or the scholarly project.
  • Procedure:
    1) Prerequisite: Approval of student’s advisor and the course coordinator
    2) The student must submit a written request for the elective approval to the student’s advisor.


NURS 460A - Obesity and Weight Control Part 1: Biology, Physiology and Epidemiology
Nationwide and worldwide the obesity epidemic is growing and this has led to a significant number of adults and children with obesity-related comorbidities such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Awareness of this trend necessitates greater understanding of the link between adiposity and metabolic disease. This course will review the biological and physiological control of food intake and energy balance. The course will evaluate the metabolic pathways in which food and macronutrient intakes are utilized to provide energy and mechanisms by which body weight and health are influenced. Public health issues associated with obesity, energy and macronutrient intakes will be discussed as well as the adequacy of intakes in meeting recommended requirements at various life stages. Critical evaluation of peer-reviewed literature will be used to study prevention and risk factors of overweight and obesity, consequences with regard to metabolic syndrome and other chronic disease states, and public health issues. This course builds on undergraduate/graduate preparation in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. Fall and Spring [2] Silver.

N460B: Obesity & Weight Control Part II: Management & Practice

Weight management and treatment of overweight, obesity, metabolic syndrome and other obesity related comorbidities requires multidisciplinary efforts. This course will build on the knowledge obtained in part 1 to provide the student with a comprehensive understanding of national and organizational guidelines as well as current evidence based standards of care. The course will review the role of various health care providers in screening and assessment of body weight and energy balance. Patient management issues specific to age groups across the life cycle will be discussed as well as differences in practice and management by health care setting. The course content will include use of the scientific evidence to evaluate current dietary, pharmaceutical and surgical treatment models, strategies to optimize outcomes as well as identification and management of adverse outcomes. Summer [2] Silver.

N462: Management of Psychiatric Issues for Non-Mental Health Clinical Providers

Expand clinical competencies of Non-Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurses in assessing, evaluating, diagnosing, and treating mental health problems. This course will identify common mental health disorders seen in the primary and acute care settings including the epidemiology, etiology, risk factors and diagnostic signs/symptoms of these disorders. It will also provide clinical practice guidelines, screening tools and evidenced based treatment approaches to provide a foundation for the clinician to identify and manage common disorders within their scope of practice and setting. Students will also recognize when psychiatric consultation or specialty care is indicated. The course is designed for the non-mental health provider and builds on undergraduate/graduate preparation in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry within a cultural context. Prerequisite: Specialization in a non-Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurse role. Fall [2] Vanderhoef and Cloyd.

N463 - NURS 463: Scholarly Writing I

This elective is designed to provide graduate-level nurses with the knowledge and skills to be successful in articulating concepts and ideas in a logical and scholarly manner throughout their doctoral studies. This course begins by providing some general principles of expository writing, ensuring each student has a clear understanding of APA formatting. Development of strategies to use in achieving professional and effective communication through the written word will be stressed. Learning activities assist students to (a) write from an outline; (b) critique their own work; and (c) review and critique drafts from a colleague. Fall and Spring [2] Phillippi.

NURS 464 - Independent Study (Contract between student and faculty sponsor (and advisor), variable credits [1-4]).

Individualized study with content related to the student's practice and scholarly project. A contract is made between the student and faculty adviser, with copies for the student, faculty adviser, program director, and student's academic record. The student is responsible to identify study objectives, identify DNP competencies that are addressed within the course, specify the primary DNP competency related to this study and negotiate learning activities and evaluation method. Fall, Spring, Summer. Prerequisite: Consent of faculty adviser. [Variable credit 1-3] Staff.

Students must print the form, fill it out, collect appropriate signatures, and return to VUSN Registrar, Logan Key.

 

Nursing 465A - Palliative Care I: Overview of Palliative Care and Physical Suffering: Adv. Pain and Symptom Management

This is the first of 3 didactic palliative care courses to be taken sequentially unless arrangements have been made with faculty. This course is designed to provide graduate level nurses with the knowledge and skills important to provide excellent symptom management for clients of all ages living with advanced complex illness and their families. Paradigms are explored which link traditional models of symptom management to the broader and deeper context of advanced illness in palliative and hospice care in all developmental stages of life. This course seeks to engage the student in an inter-professional understanding of the history of death and dying and how this impacts the care of individuals and families with complex medical conditions. Learning activities concentrate on the complexity of chronic disease and emphasize evidence-based pain and symptom management for the advanced practice nurse. Critically important constructs, such as transitional care and therapeutic communication will be deliberated. Prerequisite: Admission to the DNP program or consent of faculty. Fall [2] Lindstrom and Gilmer.

N465B: Palliative Care II: Multidisciplinary Roles in Palliative Care; Aspects of Loss, Grief, Death, Bereavement, Spirituality, Cultural, and Ethical Issues in Palliative and Hospice Care; Family & Professional Caregivers

This is the second of 3 didactic palliative care courses to be taken sequentially unless arrangements have been made with faculty. This course is designed to provide graduate level nurses with the knowledge and skills important to provide palliative and end-of-life care for clients of all ages living with advanced complex illness and their families. In particular, this course presents selected theory and practice components of loss, grief, death and bereavement for patients, families, and professional caregivers. The course builds upon the philosophy that individuals and groups have diverse spiritual and cultural needs and is designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for therapeutic and compassionate interactions with those facing serious illness and death. Learning activities assist students to identify and recognize their own feelings, needs, and issues regarding palliative and end-of-life care so they can effectively serve the multicultural needs of clients and families in a variety of serious illness and palliative care contexts. Clinical hours will emphasize a variety of learning activities engaging inter-professional learning in the care of the palliative care patient and family. Pre-requisite: N465a or permission of faculty. Spring [2] Lindstrom. 2015

N465C: Palliative Care III: Palliative Care in Specialized Populations

This is the third of 3 didactic palliative care courses to be taken sequentially. This course is designed to provide graduate level nurses with the knowledge and skills important to provide clinical care for clients of all ages living with advanced complex illness and their families. In particular, this course presents selected theory and practice components of palliative care in specialized populations, such as children, homeless, home bound, Veterans and older adults. The course is designed to continue to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for therapeutic and compassionate interactions with specific populations facing advanced illness and death. In addition, this course focuses on development of the APRN in leadership and education. Specifically, topics discussed are aspects of starting a palliative care service, measuring quality indicators, educating staff in caring for patients receiving palliative care and developing leadership qualities to guide the healthcare system to improve care to patients and families with advanced illness. Pre-requisites: N465a and N465b. Summer [2] Lindstrom 2015

N465D: Practicum in Palliative Care I

This is the first of two clinical practicum courses designed to provide the student with the opportunity to implement the role of the nurse practitioner independently while under the supervision of other health care professionals in a palliative care practice. Students are responsible for providing holistic care to individuals with palliative and/or hospice care needs. Students are responsible for assessment, diagnosis, planning care interventions, and evaluating outcomes of care. Pre-Requisites: Advanced Practice level courses in Primary Specialty: Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology. N465a, and prior completion of or concurrent enrollment in N465b. Spring [4] Lindstrom 2015


N465E: Practicum in Palliative Care II

This clinical practicum is the second of two clinical practicums designed to provide the student with the opportunity to implement the role of the nurse practitioner independently while under the supervision of other health care professionals in a palliative care practice. Students are responsible for providing holistic care to individuals with palliative and/or hospice care needs. Students are responsible for assessment, diagnosis, planning care interventions, and evaluating outcomes of care. Pre-Requisites: N465d, Advanced Practice level courses in Primary Specialty: Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology. Summer [3] Lindstrom 2015

 

NURS466 - Curriculum Strategies for Health Professional Education

(Required course for students who have received a Nurse Faculty Loan) This course introduces the student to the foundations of learning theory and learning styles. The impact of technology on learning practices and the appropriate use of technology to facilitate learning are emphasized. Students will create electronic elements for effective learning and use a course management system. Copyright and fair use issues are discussed. Overall curriculum strategies that integrate content, organization, informatics and sequencing of courses are discussed. Students will design a learning program that integrates learning styles, technology use and a course management system. Prerequisite: Admission to the DNP program or consent of faculty. Fall and Spring [3] Krau and Kennedy.

 

N467: Educational Evaluation for Learning in the Health Professions

(Required course for students who have received a Nurse Faculty Loan) This course explores issues related to evaluating educational offerings that employ technology. The advantages and disadvantages of both traditional and more novel approaches to evaluation are discussed. Students will learn how to create online surveys along with principles of test and survey management. Issues surrounding online testing including access, privacy, and data input accuracy and are emphasized. Overall program benchmarks are explored. Fall, Spring and Summer [3] Krau and Kennedy.

 

N468: Advanced Concepts in Nursing Education

This course is designed to facilitate expertise in the application of advanced educational concepts, principles, and theories related to nursing education in the academic setting. The underlying premise for the value of such knowledge is that nurse educators encounter situations and issues that warrant systematic consideration, and reflection. Moreover, students will acquire competence in facilitating learner development and role socialization, review accreditation parameters for nursing programs, and explore various aspects and topics such as legal, ethical and socio-cultural factors related to the role of the nurse educator. Prerequisites: 466, 467. Fall and Summer [3] Krau and Kennedy.

 

N469: Lean Methodology in Healthcare

This course focuses on the analysis and application of Lean principles to improve a process or system. This course builds on the quality improvement principles learned in NURS 442 (Quality Improvement and Patient Safety). Topics include a history of the Toyota production system including how to identify the eight wastes in healthcare, how to implement 5S, A3 concepts, data collection, and value stream mapping of current state and future state processes. Prerequisite: 442. Fall and Spring [2] Crutcher and Leming-Lee.

N470: Global Health Engagement in Advanced Practice Nursing

This is a 2 credit hour elective course designed for doctoral students interested in global health. This course will consist of 6 units focusing on key aspects related to nursing in the global health arena: Global disease burden associated with chronic and non-chronic illness, health disparities, health care workforce issues, evidence-based practice and effective program design and resource allocation. The course will focus on best practices for engaging in global health work with diverse communities from a cultural, ethical and clinical perspective. Students will engage in learning through readings, synchronous and asynchronous discussions, case studies and written assignments as well as AV presentations. This course is designed for students interested in caring for underserved populations locally and abroad and builds on undergraduate and graduate preparation in pathophysiology, health assessment, adult and pediatric primary care within a cultural context and the role of the advanced practice nurse. Spring [2] Ziegler. Spring 2015

 

N471: Leadership in Interprofessional Practice: Critical Issues for Promoting a Culture of Safety

This course is designed to enhance students' understanding of the management of unprofessional behavior, difficult interpersonal interactions, disclosure of medical errors and the role of each in building a culture of safety in the clinical practice environment. Using a case-based format, students will explore critical incidents, gain expertise in recognizing impediments to patient safety, and develop skills to rectify situations resulting in poor clinical outcomes. Students participate in faculty-guided, case-based group exercises emphasizing interprofessional team dynamics and emerge prepared to serve in leadership roles to create safer practice environments. Summer [2] Wilbeck and Thurman.