USF launches Doctor of Nursing Practice program

February 28th, 2017

University of Saint Francis

The University of Saint Francis has launched a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with two tracks including a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) option. There is currently no DNP-CRNA program in Indiana. The CRNA program’s accreditation is expected to be finalized this spring by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. The university has already received approval by the Higher Learning Commission. Based on USF’s current plan, the first CRNA cohort will begin in fall 2017.

The DNP is the University of Saint Francis’ first doctoral degree program. USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss OSF said, “We are very proud of the university’s tradition of producing leaders in Nursing. It is fitting that our first doctoral offering be in healthcare programs where nearly50 percent of our student body resides. With this new program, our 127 year history of education continues to grow stronger.”

Program Director Dr. Marquessa Fisher came to USF to launch the program via the University of Miami, where she taught and was a clinical faculty member. “It’s a 36-month rigorous continuous program, with didactic (classroom) and clinical elements,” states Fisher. Students perform a minimum of 2,000 operating room hours and log 600 cases spanning each specialty area, such as open heart, thoracic, obstetrical and pediatric surgery.

The DNP program is under the leadership of Dr. Wendy Clark, Graduate Nursing Program Director and the Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Dr. Mindy Yoder. Practicing professionals can pursue a BSN-DNP Nurse Anesthesia program which provides bachelor’s-prepared nurses with a practice doctorate so they can become nurse anesthetists, leaders and educators. Alternatively, students can earn the Post-MSN Doctor of Nursing Practice, which allows graduates who have earned a Master of Science in Nursing a chance to increase their skills with a focus on population health. “The DNP in population health supports existing research in northeast Indiana. Graduates of the program will apply innovation and best practices to improve the health of our community,” said Dr. Clark. Nursing professionals interested in applying to the program should visit for more information.

The USF School of Health Sciences is comprised of 67 experienced healthcare professionals, many of whom are currently working in medical facilities or in their own practices and approximately 1,000 students. An additional faculty member is being sought to begin teaching this fall, when the DNP program commences.