D.N.P. - Dual Pediatric Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Prepares students to have competence in leadership, evidence-based care and translational research methods for quality improvement as well as preparation at the very highest level to apply advanced clinical assessment and management skills. The program prepares nurses to practice as a dually trained pediatric acute care/primary care nurse practitioner. Graduates are prepared to manage well children, pediatric acute and episodic illnesses, complex chronically ill, acutely ill and critically ill children. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examinations for the acute care and primary care pediatric nurse practitioner specialties. One year of full-time nursing experience in pediatric acute care setting is required prior to beginning acute care clinical courses.


Program Highlights

  • The Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree requires 78 credit hours of course work.
  • Students complete 500 primary care clinical hours, 500 acute care clinical hours, as well as 250 hours in an individually designed clinical residency.
  • Primary care sites are located across southeastern Wisconsin. Students have an opportunity to practice in a variety of clinical settings with a special emphasis on sites serving economically disadvantaged children in the community.
  • In the acute care clinicals, students train with the more than 200 Advanced Practice Nurses in 33 specialties at Children’s Hospital of WI.
  • Students in this track spend an entire semester in the 72-bed pediatric intensive care unit.
  • Students in this option have access to two high fidelity simulation labs (Marquette and Children’s Hospital) and the curriculum weaves leveled simulation experiences throughout the clinical experiences.
  • Faculty work with students to tailor their final residency clinical hours to meet their specific learning objectives.

Curricular Plan

Core Courses – 12 Credits

NURS 6000   Theoretical Foundations of Nursing

NURS 6007   Ethics, Policy, and Health Care Advocacy

NURS 6009   Organizational and Systems Leadership

NURS 6010   Research & Evidence as a Foundation for Nursing


Foundation Courses – 9 Credits

NURS 6030   Pathophysiological Concepts for Advanced Nursing Practice

NURS 6032   Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practice

NURS 6035   Advanced Health Assessment Across the Lifespan


DNP Core Courses - 27 Credits

HEAL 6825    Quality & Patient Safety in Health Care

HEAL 6835    Health Care Informatics, Technology and Professional Issues

HEAL 7010    Translational Research

HEAL 7012    Epidemiology

HEAL 8015    Applied Statistics for Health Sciences

NURS 6746   Professional Issues in APN/DNP Practice

NURS 7981   Residency for DNP with Acutely Ill Adults

NURS 7996   Doctor of Nursing Practice Capstone 1

NURS 7997   Doctor of Nursing Practice Capstone 2


Specialty Courses – 30 Credits

NURS 6244    Health Promotion Across the Lifespan

NURS 6242    Concepts and Interventions for Health Problems Across the Lifespan

NURS 6536    Complex/Chronic Pediatric Health Conditions

NURS 6540    Seminar in Child and Family Health

NURS 6542    Nursing Therapeutics for Acute/Episodic Illness in Children and Adolescents

NURS 6640    Nursing Therapeutics for Acute/Critical Illnesses in Children

NURS 6551    Advanced Nursing Care of Children and Families Clinical 1

NURS 6552    Advanced Nursing Care of Children and Families Clinical 2

NURS 6652    Acutely/Chronically Ill Children Practicum

NURS 6653    Critically Ill Children Practicum


Admission Requirements

  • Applicants to the BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program should have graduated with, or be about to graduate with, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program with an upper division major in nursing.
  • The required minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale is required for the BSN to DNP. For graduates of foreign nursing schools, a formal evaluation of their nursing program of study documenting equivalency to a U.S. Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree must be submitted.
  • Prior to or during the first term of study, all BSN to DNP nursing applicants must have taken undergraduate nursing research and a statistics course which included inferential analysis (must be completed within 5 years of program start date). If the time period of 5 years has been exceeded for the statistics course, it may be possible for applicants to demonstrate proficiency by examination through an approved testing source (list of approved examinations available from the College of Nursing). Applicants who select an advanced practice nursing specialization must have taken an undergraduate course in health assessment.
  • Graduate Record Exam Scores (GRE). Waived if cumulative GPA is 3.200 or higher.
  • Unencumbered Registered Nurse license to practice in the United States. A Wisconsin or eNLC license is required at the time of admission. For students in the Indiana program, an Indiana R.N. license is required.
  • Clinical experience requirements - One year of full-time nursing experience in a pediatric acute care setting is required prior to beginning acute care clinical courses.
  • BCLS from the American Heart Association, which must be maintained during all programs. Additional certifications:  adult-older adult acute care - ACLS prior to clinical; 
  • Letters of reference: Three completed recommendation forms prepared by previous or present employers and teachers familiar with graduate education in nursing.
  • A written statement of professional goals, including reasons for pursuing graduate study.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Official transcripts from all current and previous colleges or universities - must reflect undergraduate courses in health assessment, nursing research and statistics (including inferential analysis).
  • (For international applicants only) a TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.
  • A completed application form and fee online directly to NursingCAS.

Information regarding Graduate School tuition/fees and financial assistance is located on the Graduate School website.


Additional Information

Program Faculty

Christine Schindler, PhD, RN, CPNP-PC, AC (Option Coordinator)

Kristin Haglund, PhD, RN, FNP, PNP- BC

Norah Johnson, PhD, RN, CPNP


Jill Kuester, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC

Amanda Kotowski, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC/AC, AGNP-BC

Katie McDermott, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC

Jennifer Pfister, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC, C-NPT

Norah Johnson, PhD, RN, CPNP

Theresa Bullis, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC

Amanda Kotowski, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC/AC, AGNP-BC