Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

College of Graduate Health Studies: Nursing

Resources for DNP students | A.T. Still University - College of Graduate Health Studies

From the Program Chair

Karin Polifko, PhD, RN, CNE, NEA-BC

Dr. Polifko’s career has spanned both the academic and service fields of health care. Along with teaching experience at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, she has held leadership positions in higher education, including Department Chair, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, Academic Director, Campus President and Vice President, Operations and Academic Affairs. 

Dr. Polifko has extensive administrative experience in various acute care health settings, in the roles of Vice President of System Development and Research, Administrative Director for Critical Care Services, Director of Nursing and Clinical Nurse Specialist. Past consulting projects include college and program development, strategic planning and prioritization, accreditation preparation, organizational change assessment and evaluation, change management and leadership assessment. Her first textbook, Case Applications in Nursing Leadership and Management was published in 2004, Concepts of the Nursing Profession, was published in 2007 and The Practice Environment: Issues and Trends was published in 2010.  Dr. Polifko has presented in a wide variety of workshops and seminars both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Polifko received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, her PhD in Public Administration / Urban Health Services and a certificate in Advanced Policy Analysis from Old Dominion University. She is certified as Nurse Executive-Advanced through ANCC and holds a certification as a nurse educator through NLN. 

 

DNP Team

Karin Polifko, PhD, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, Program Chair
660.626.2420
karinpolifko@atsu.edu
 

Jodi Gamm, MBA, Academic Advisor
660.626.2998
jodigamm@atsu.edu
 

Laura Lipke, MS, MLIS, AHIP, Nursing Librarian
660.626.2336
lauralipke@atsu.edu

 

Student Service/Accomplishments

Use this form to help us keep track of your community service activities, accomplishments, publications, presentations, etc.

About the Program

Program of Nursing Mission 

The Department of Nursing focuses on the development of strategic organizational leadership skills applying student-centric teaching-learning methods in an online course delivery format. Graduates will apply critical thinking skills with a quality analysis and improvement focus. We are committed to acknowledging care of the whole person, including those who are underserved, using evidence-based practice as a foundation for change. 

Program of Nursing Goals

The Nursing Program seeks to prepare graduates who are: 

  • Competent leaders in a variety of healthcare organizational systems.
  • Effective decision-makers through interprofessional collaborations.
  • Prepared to influence positive healthcare outcomes through evidence-based practice, applying system improvement and innovation.
  • Engaged nurse leaders who are equipped to influence healthcare policy.

Program of Nursing Values

  • Leadership: We value leadership development for our students, faculty, and staff and encourage participation in community and professional service.
  • Integrity: We value the highest ethical principles of fairness and honesty in all of our interactions.
  • Scholarship: We value critical thinking, quality improvement, and the generation of ideas through innovation and analysis.
  • Diversity: We value differences among people and their personal and professional perspectives, including a focus on underserved populations.
  • Interprofessional education: We value the combined contributions of our educational community and work to achieve an environment of teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Innovation: We value a continual and aggressive push to develop new and efficient mechanisms for learning, teaching, and technological delivery.
     

DNP Program Outcomes

Doctor of Nursing Practice Outcomes

The DNP Program prepares the graduate to achieve the following program outcomes: 

  • Integrate science and nursing-based theories and data-based concepts to develop, critically appraise, and translate scholarship into practice. (DNP Essential I)
  • Articulate organizational theories and systems thinking to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, and safety outcomes in healthcare. (DNP Essential II)
  • Correlate analytical methods and evidence to improve practice and the practice environment for the individual, aggregate and population. (DNP Essential III)
  • Apply knowledge of patient care technology to improve healthcare outcomes. (DNP Essential IV)
  • Demonstrate leadership in the assessment, implementation and evaluation of  health policy that addresses the underserved population through ethical and equitable advocacy. (DNP Essential V) 
  • Lead and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams using communication, consultative, and leadership skills to improve quality and safety in health care. (DNP Essential VI)
  • Analyze epidemiological data to synthesize concepts related to health promotion, socioeconomic dimensions of health, and population health to address the underserved population. (DNP Essential VII)
  • Provide leadership in the assessment, implementation and evaluation of healthcare deliverables within a quality improvement framework, addressing a variety of clinical situations that require advanced critical thinking.   (DNP Essential VIII)
     

DNP Essentials

Essential I: Scientific Underpinnings for Practice

  1. Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice.
  2. Use science-based theories and concepts to:
    • determine the nature and significance of health and health care delivery phenomena;
    • describe the actions and advanced strategies to enhance, alleviate, and ameliorate health and health care delivery phenomena as appropriate; and
    • evaluate outcomes.
  3. Develop and evaluate new practice approaches based on nursing theories and theories from other disciplines.

Essential II: Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking

  1. Develop and evaluate care delivery approaches that meet current and future needs of patient populations based on scientific findings in nursing and other clinical sciences, as well as organizational, political, and economic sciences.
  2. Ensure accountability for quality of health care and patient safety for populations with whom they work.
    • Use advanced communication skills/processes to lead quality improvement and patient safety initiatives in health care systems.
    • Employ principles of business, finance, economics, and health policy to develop and implement effective plans for practice-level and/or system-wide practice initiatives that will improve the quality of care delivery.
    • Develop and/or monitor budgets for practice initiatives.
    • Analyze the cost-effectiveness of practice initiatives accounting for risk and improvement of health care outcomes.
    • Demonstrate sensitivity to diverse organizational cultures and populations, including patients and providers.
  3. Develop and/or evaluate effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care, the health care organization, and research.

Essential III: Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice

  1. Use analytic methods to critically appraise existing literature and other evidence to determine and implement the best evidence for practice.
  2. Design and implement processes to evaluate outcomes of practice, practice patterns, and systems of care within a practice setting, health care organization, or community against national benchmarks to determine variances in practice outcomes and population trends.
  3. Design, direct, and evaluate quality improvement methodologies to promote safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care.
  4. Apply relevant findings to develop practice guidelines and improve practice and the practice environment.
  5. Use information technology and research methods appropriately to:
    • collect appropriate and accurate data to generate evidence for nursing practice
    • inform and guide the design of databases that generate meaningful evidence for nursing practice
    • analyze data from practice
    • design evidence-based interventions
    • predict and analyze outcomes
    • examine patterns of behavior and outcomes
    • identify gaps in evidence for practice
  6. Function as a practice specialist/consultant in collaborative knowledge-generating research.
  7. Disseminate findings from evidence-based practice and research to improve health care outcomes.

Essential IV: Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care

  1. Design, select, use, and evaluate programs that evaluate and monitor outcomes of care, care systems, and quality improvement including consumer use of health care information systems.
  2. Analyze and communicate critical elements necessary to the selection, use and evaluation of health care information systems and patient care technology.
  3. Demonstrate the conceptual ability and technical skills to develop and execute an evaluation plan involving data extraction from practice information systems and databases.
  4. Provide leadership in the evaluation and resolution of ethical and legal issues within healthcare systems relating to the use of information, information technology, communication networks, and patient care technology.
  5. Evaluate consumer health information sources for accuracy, timeliness, and appropriateness.

Essential V: Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care

  1. Critically analyze health policy proposals, health policies, and related issues from the perspective of consumers, nursing, other health professions, and other stakeholders in policy and public forums.
  2. Demonstrate leadership in the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and/or international health policy.
  3. Influence policy makers through active participation on committees, boards, or task forces at the institutional, local, state, regional, national, and/or international levels to improve health care delivery and outcomes.
  4. Educate others, including policy makers at all levels, regarding nursing, health policy, and patient care outcomes.
  5. Advocate for the nursing profession within the policy and healthcare communities.
  6. Develop, evaluate, and provide leadership for health care policy that shapes health care financing, regulation, and delivery.
  7. Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies within all healthcare arenas.

Essential VI: Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

  1. Employ effective communication and collaborative skills in the development and implementation of practice models, peer review, practice guidelines, health policy, standards of care, and/or other scholarly products.
  2. Lead interprofessional teams in the analysis of complex practice and organizational issues.
  3. Employ consultative and leadership skills with intraprofessional and interprofessional teams to create change in health care and complex healthcare delivery systems.

Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation's Health

  1. Analyze epidemiological, biostatistical, environmental, and other appropriate scientific data related to individual, aggregate, and population health.
  2. Synthesize concepts, including psychosocial dimensions and cultural diversity, related to clinical prevention and population health in developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to address health promotion/disease prevention efforts, improve health status/access patterns, and/or address gaps in care of individuals, aggregates, or populations.
  3. Evaluate care delivery models and/or strategies using concepts related to community, environmental and occupational health, and cultural and socioeconomic dimensions of health.

Essential VIII: Advanced Nursing Practice

  1. Conduct a comprehensive and systematic assessment of health and illness parameters in complex situations, incorporating diverse and culturally sensitive approaches.
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate therapeutic interventions based on nursing science and other sciences.
  3. Develop and sustain therapeutic relationships and partnerships with patients (individual, family or group) and other professionals to facilitate optimal care and patient outcomes.
  4. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes.
  5. Guide, mentor, and support other nurses to achieve excellence in nursing practice.
  6. Educate and guide individuals and groups through complex health and situational transitions.
  7. Use conceptual and analytical skills in evaluating the links among practice, organizational, population, fiscal, and policy issues.

In the final module of your courses, you will be asked to reflect on the above essentials. Essentials specific to your course will be noted at the back of the syllabus and will be listed under each of the corresponding course competencies with the DESS designation. For example, a course competency with DESS III-4 addresses Essential III, the fourth item.

Reference

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006, October). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. https://www.aacnnursing.org/DNP/DNP-Essentials