D.N.P. - Pediatric 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. Graduates are prepared to manage complex chronically ill, acutely ill and critically ill children. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination for the acute care pediatric nurse practitioner specialty. One year of full-time nursing experience in pediatric acute care setting is required prior to beginning clinical courses.

Program Highlights

  • The Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree requires 69 credit hours of course work.
  • Many of the faculty in the Acute Care PNP program are jointly appointed between Marquette University and the Medical College of WI (MCW) and are in current clinical practice at Children’s Hospital of WI.
  • Students in the acute care PNP program 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.
  • Graduates of the program are currently working in pediatric intensive care units, cardiovascular intensive care units, and specialty practice across the country in tertiary care children’s hospitals.

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 – 21 Credits

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 6640    Nursing Therapeutics for Acute/Critical Illnesses in Children

NURS 6651    Acutely Ill Children Practicum

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.
  • Clinical experience requirements - Experience working as registered nurse is required prior to beginning any clinical courses.
  • BCLS from the American Heart Association, which must be maintained during all programs. Additional certifications:  pediatric acute care - PALS 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)

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