What Makes Our Program Distinct?

The Integrative Health and Healing DNP program specialty is the first of its kind in the country, and provides a strong foundation for nursing leadership and expertise in integrative health.

Specialty courses are offered through the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. Courses include clinical aromatherapy, acupressure, health coaching, mind body interventions, workforce wellbeing, functional nutrition, lifestyle medicine and optimal healing environments. Clinical experiences focus on skill development and leadership and are available in a range of settings including outpatient clinics, inpatient acute care, and long-term care facilities. Students can opt to concurrently earn a graduate certificate in Integrative health coaching that prepares them for national board certification.

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Our graduates are prepared for:

  • Integration of the 6 principles of integrative nursing into direct patient care, community and population-based care, and health care system change.  
  • Understanding, analysis, and synthesis of the scholarship, research, and theory relevant to integrative nursing practice, integrative health care, interdisciplinary health care, and individual integrative therapies.
  • Performance of an integrative nursing assessment on patients with acute or chronic health problems that includes physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of health and wellbeing. 
  • Performance of beginning level competency in use of selected integrative therapies for management of common symptoms.
  • Understanding of the professional standards and legal basis of practice that regulate scope of practice for integrative health care providers in a variety of clinical settings.
  • Performance of an integrative health teaching activity that assesses the learning needs of a population in order to develop, implement, and evaluate a teaching plan.
  • Application of principles and practices of contemporary leadership theory, business models, and health policies in program design and evaluation of integrative therapies and healing practices.
  • Demonstration of proficiency in conducting a needs assessment, development of a plan for implementation of integrative services, and an evaluation plan within a patient population, clinical program or product line that includes clinical and financial components.

Certifications & APRN Designation

Students sometimes ask, “Does the IHH DNP prepare me to be a nurse practitioner?” The IHH specialty does not meet the requirements for advanced practice certification. It is a leadership focused integrative health program. Some of our IHH graduates choose to take the Advanced Holistic Nurse board certification (AHN-BC) through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). Learn more about the scope of practice with this certification.

If you have a career goal of becoming a nurse practitioner or other type of advanced practice nurse, there are several options for accomplishing this. We have advised students through all of the following options, and would be happy to walk you through them as well. 

Dual Specialties: You may consider applying for dual specialties at the University of Minnesota. In most cases, it is a good idea to be in touch with the specialty coordinators. We can guide you through the process of applying for dual specialties. We have had graduates complete the integrative health & healing specialty alongside the adult/gerontological NP track, psychiatric/mental health NP track, nursing informatics, and more! Dual specialty intent can be established prior to beginning the DNP program, or it can be added on during the program. In many cases, doing dual specialties adds an additional year to your individualized program of study. This option is best for students who aspire to be both an advanced practice nurse and a leader in integrative nursing systems change. Note: not all specialties can be completed from a distance. 

Integrative Therapies & Healing Practices Certificate or Graduate Minor: If completing two DNP specialties isn’t realistic, you may consider applying to your APRN specialty area of interest and adding the graduate certificate or minor in integrative therapies & healing practices. Both the minor and the certificate are 12 credits, and include some credits that are already required for other specialties. Learn more about the Integrative Therapies & Healing Practices minor and the Certificate in Integrative Therapies & Healing Practices. Adding the minor is a relatively simple process, and requires you to submit a form. The certificate requires a full application through the graduate school prior to starting. These options are best for students who aspire to be an advanced practice nurse with a skill set in integrative therapies and/or health coaching. With these options, there is less exposure to gaining leadership skills in integrative health & healing compared to the full specialty track. 

Post-Graduate Certificate: If you know you want to complete the IHH DNP, and you are undecided about adding an advanced practice specialty, there is the option of completing a post-graduate certificate after completing the IHH DNP. The University of Minnesota allows post-graduate certificates in some of the advanced practice specialties. To learn more, reach out to the specialty coordinator of the area that interests you. We’ve also had graduates who complete post-graduate certificates from other institutions. This option works best for distance students.

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The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) offers a certification exam which confers certification as American Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (AHN-BC).

The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse designation is not used for the Integrative Health and Healing DNP graduate. This designation is reserved for advanced practice nurses prepared as certified nurse specialists, nurse midwifes, nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists, recognizing their ability to prescribe pharmaceuticals. This is not the focus of the integrative health and healing DNP program