What Makes Our Program Distinct?

The Health Innovation and Leadership specialty of the DNP program can be customized to support the individual and unique aspirations of each student. Our faculty work to understand the goals of our students and work with our School of Nursing academic structures to support their learning needs.

Our students bring knowledge, interests, expertise, experience and insights to this leadership specialty and build on those assets to learn to create innovative solutions for health care.

Content including collaborative practice, systems theory and design thinking prepares transformative leaders to be ready for diverse roles and emerging opportunities. A strong commitment to quality improvement prepares graduates to respond to emerging needs and manage change at the local or global levels.

Students have the option of being matched with executive nurse leaders in a variety of settings both in Minnesota and around the nation for their practicum experiences. Students also learn from a variety of leaders in other fields through guest lectures.

Graduates from the Health Innovation and Leadership DNP will be prepared to lead local to global initiatives to address planetary health crises.

We believe that every nursing leader today leads within a global context. Therefore all of our students participate in collaborative online international learning and also have the option of elective courses in Iceland and Cuba. 

Our graduates are prepared to:

  • Apply principles of partnership and interprofessional practice everywhere – from the bedside to the boardroom
  • Use research findings from diverse fields to support innovative solutions to complex problems
  • Apply project management and process improvement methods to improve quality, safety and patient satisfaction
  • Articulate nursing’s contributions to the overall profitability and success of an organization
  • Demonstrate transformative leadership empowering colleagues, patients and families to reach their full potential

We prepare both emerging and expert leaders to become:

  • Nurse executives
  • Nurse administrators
  • Nurse managers
  • Nurse entrepreneurs
  • Health care business leaders
  • Non-profit managers
  • Leaders of international health care organizations
  • Nursing faculty
  • Public policy advocates
  • Planetary health and sustainable health care leaders
Health Innovation and Leadership
Our Hope for the Future – 2020 Message from Academy Leadership, Living Legends, and Fellows


The American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL) Credentialing Center offers two certification exams: Certification for Executive Nursing Practice Exam (CENP) or the Certification for Nurse Managers and Leaders (CNML).