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MVNU launches first doctoral program— Doctor of Nursing Practice

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University is proud to announce the launch of its first doctoral-level program — Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

“As MVNU starts the DNP, I am excited to see us leaning into our mission of learning and serving,” said President Carson Castleman, Ph.D. “Academic excellence is critical for us, but more importantly, is our commitment to nurturing compassionate key leaders in the nursing field who are looking for a doctoral degree to help them move to the next level. We believe that through this program, our first doctoral program, we will empower future nurse leaders to make a profound impact on healthcare, serving with love, integrity and dedication to the well-being of others.”

Seamlessly blending advanced clinical mastery with visionary leadership, the Doctor of Nursing Practice from MVNU enable nurses to drive innovation, elevate patient care, and lead transformative change in today’s dynamic healthcare landscape. Graduates will position themselves at the forefront of healthcare evolution with the expertise, influence, and impact of a DNP credential.

“At MVNU, we believe that nursing, in its essence, is a ministry. The curriculum is specifically designed to equip nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to practice their vocation at the highest level, enabling them to positively impact health outcomes of patients and populations both locally and globally,” said DNP Program Director and Associate Professor of Nursing Debra Garee, DNP, RN. “Students have multiple options and can choose the best path to help them advance their practice and care for those they are called to serve.”

MVNU’s DNP program is designed for professionals in any stage of their nursing journey, whether they are recent graduates from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, experienced Registered Nurses (RNs) with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or seasoned Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs), all levels of experience can pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at MVNU. Students can go from a BSN to DNP in as little as three-and-a-half years taking one or two courses at a time.

“With the flexibility and inclusivity of the DNP program, MVNU encourages nurses from diverse backgrounds and career stages to pursue advanced education and professional development, empowering them to make meaningful contributions to the nursing profession and the broader healthcare community, regardless of where they are in their nursing career journey,” said DPN Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Nursing Jessica Myers, DNP, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, APRN. “The goal of the MVNU DNP program is to empower leaders, enrich souls and transform healthcare through faith and knowledge.”

The DNP program offers students the option of selecting one of three concentrations:

The Doctor of Nursing Practice concentration focuses on systems leadership to address global healthcare needs and prepares graduates with comprehensive expertise offering versatile career paths aimed at addressing the holistic approach to healthcare.

With the growing demand for mental health services and the shortage of providers, the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration was designed to equip advance practice nurses to assess, diagnose, prescribe and coordinate mental health care across a patient’s lifetime. MVNU is one of only a few schools in Ohio offering this doctoral-level degree.

The Family Nurse Practitionerprovides a critical role to deliver comprehensive primary care services to individuals and families across their lifespan. FNP’s are equipped to assess, diagnose, prescribe, and coordinate care for common, acute, and chronic illness while promoting health maintenance and disease prevention.

Upon completion of the DNP program, graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification exam.

“Nurses who have a strong commitment to advancing nursing practice, improving patient care outcomes, and contributing to the advancement of the nursing profession should consider progressing their own educational experience by pursuing a DNP degree,” said Myers. “They should also possess critical thinking skills, leadership potential, and a desire to engage in lifelong learning and professional development.”

One aspect of MVNU’s DNP program that sets it apart from other institutions is MVNU faculty’s experience in nursing and their commitment to provide personal support to students as they plan and implement their DNP projects while taking the DNP Core Courses. 

The faculty at MVNU are actively engaged in research, scholarship, and professional organizations. Their contributions to advancing nursing knowledge and practice not only enrich the DNP curriculum but also inspires students to become lifelong learners and leaders in their own right. MVNU’s faculty members bring extensive experience in clinical practice across various healthcare settings. Their firsthand knowledge and expertise in areas such as primary care, mental health, leadership, and advanced practice nursing ensure that students receive practical, real-world insights that are directly applicable to their future careers as DNPs.

“The DNP faculty at MVNU are passionate nurse educators who are committed to equipping and guiding the next generation of nurse leaders through educating the whole person and cultivating Christ-likeness for lifelong learning and service. Our faculty are dedicated to supporting the DNP student through personal attention and guidance to enable all to meet their individual educational and professional goals,” said Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Science Judy Gregg, DNP, RN


For those interested in more information about MVNU’s first doctoral program, virtual information sessions have been established to speak with program leaders and faculty.

Monthly sessions are:

•The second Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m (EDT).

•The fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m (EDT).

The link for these virtual sessions, and more information about the program, is available at

The first class begins in November 2024.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to nearly 2,000 students from 25 states and 11 foreign countries.

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