DNP Program Information

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Vanderbilt is built upon our internationally recognized advanced practice nursing (APN) programs. It is designed for APNs actively engaged in practice with clinical partners in health care agencies/ organizations who will facilitate the integration of didactic courses within a clinical setting throughout the program.


If you want additional information about whether to pursue the Vanderbilt PhD degree or DNP degree based on your scholarly interests, please see PhD or DNP – Which is Right for Me?  


The Vanderbilt DNP program meets recommendations of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) – which include having the DNP become the terminal degree for APNs by 2015 – and of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). Vanderbilt DNP graduates will have a strong scientific foundation for practice – prepared to translate knowledge quickly and effectively to benefit patients in the daily demands of practice environments.


The Vanderbilt Doctor of Nursing Practice program will prepare practice scholars with a blend of clinical, organizational, economic and leadership skills to:


  • Assess, analyze, evaluate and manage complex health environments serving diverse populations to improve patient and population health outcomes;
  • Apply clinical scholarship and available evidence to make clinical and system decisions that reflect professional values and ethical standards;
  • Develop, test and disseminate standards of care, clinical practice models and health policy using informatics, organizational and systems leadership skills;
  • Advocate for clinical prevention, population health initiatives and evidence-based health policy through collaboration with other professionals and stakeholders.


DNP Program DirectorTerri Donaldson

Terri Allison, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC
Associate Professor of Nursing and DNP Program Director

Dr. Allison has more than 25 years experience in cardiac and critical care nursing. She began her nursing career as a staff nurse in a 500-bed metropolitan teaching hospital caring for patients with artery disease and heart failure. She has extensive experience managing the care of patients requiring critical care interventions and those experiencing complex cardiovascular disease. Through her work as an acute care nurse practitioner, Dr. Allison developed expertise in the management of patients with end stage heart failure and those awaiting or undergoing heart transplantation. She joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2001 and is the coordinator of the transplantation subspecialty in the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program. She uses her nursing expertise to coordinate clinical education and frequently lectures on cardiovascular disorders. She maintains part time practice as an ACNP with the Vanderbilt Transplant Center.


Mindy KesslerMindy Kessler
DNP Program Administrative Manager
603C Godchaux Hall
Phone: 615.343.7371
Fax: 615.343.7788

Pam PettisPamela Pettis
Department Education Specialist
603 Godchaux Hall
Phone: 615.343.8419
Fax: 615.343.7505