More about the Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion (APNI) to DNP program

Learn about how the Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion (APNI) to DNP program is structured and more about what your student experience may look like at Seattle University.

The Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion (APNI) program is a full-time, four-year program of graduate study leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree for students who have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. You are admitted directly into your chosen advanced practice pathway (Nurse Midwifery, Family Nurse-Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, or Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner).

The first 5-quarters of your graduate studies, the APNI sequence, is based, in part, on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Essentials and is designed to enable you to meet two benchmarks:

  • 600 hours of clinical education as required by the Washington State Administrative Code.
  • Achievement of the SU College of Nursing BSN student learning outcomes.

Successful achievement of those two benchmarks will make you eligible to sit for the registered nurse licensing exam (NCLEX-RN) and be awarded a BSN. You must pass the NCLEX to continue into your advanced practice coursework. Upon completion of DNP studies, graduates are eligible for national certification exams in their advanced practice specialty.

Common questions about the APNI to DNP program

The APNI program, as the name suggests, is a very fast-paced immersion program. The first 5 quarters immerse you in the study of nursing and health care. Seattle University has a quarter system; each quarter lasts 11-12 weeks. Students take 3-5 courses per quarter. Most quarters involve work in our Clinical Performance Lab and at clinical sites in the Seattle metro area. The program is rigorous and intense, involving 45-60 hours of study beyond the time spent in class/labs/clinicals each week. Testing and evaluation in courses mimic that in the discipline; the bar is set high throughout the program.

  • Successful students generally enjoy fast-paced learning and demonstrate flexibility.
  • They have usually done very well in their science prerequisites, perhaps even taking Anatomy and Physiology above the 200 level.
  • They have academic talent, are well-organized, and have rallied personal, social, and financial resources to focus on doctoral studies. They don't generally have external employment during the first five quarters of graduate studies.
  • They are typically strong communicators and collaborate well with people who might be very different from themselves.
  • They possess strong study habits and the ability to accept and use feedback that is essential to success as doctoral students.
  • While they usually have a strong history of success in another field, the successful APNI student is able and willing to start as a novice in a new field of study.
  • Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing program may apply for the APNI to DNP program and select an advanced practice area of study on their application. Students are interviewed for and admitted into their 4-year advanced program of study. The first 5 quarters include foundational DNP courses and are, otherwise, focused on pre-licensure studies in preparation for RN licensure exams. Upon earning their RN license, students continue doctoral courses and progress into advanced practice coursework in their chosen focal area.
  • RNs with a BS in nursing, or an AD in nursing with a previous bachelor's degree in a non-nursing program, may apply to the DNP program and select a focal area of study on their application. This is a 3-year course of study, which includes doctoral and advanced practice coursework in their chosen area.
  • RNs who already have a master's degree may apply to the post-master's DNP Health Systems Leader track.

The Society of Jesus is a congregation of the Catholic Church, and its members are called Jesuit. Jesuits have a long and distinguished history in higher education. Seattle University believes in educating the whole person and in professional formation so that our graduates are leaders in creating a just and humane world. Jesuit education is rigorous and demanding, valuing diversity and excellence. Students and faculty from very diverse personal and spiritual backgrounds are welcomed at Seattle University. For more information visit Jesuit education.

Because nursing students work within health care agencies as part of the program of study, there are health and legal requirements.

  • Students must have health insurance (there is a student policy offered through SU Student Health Center).
  • Students are required to provide evidence of immunizations and antibody titers (see Health Requirements for Students), CPR certification (must be AHA BLS provider card or military training, cannot be Red Cross), and a background check. A Social Security number is required for RN certification.
  • Some clinical facilities also require a negative drug test. See SU Code of Student Conduct regarding policies on alcohol and other substance use.

Health care experience is not required to be accepted into the APNI to DNP program, but it may be very helpful. Applicants are encouraged to learn as much as they can about their desired future nursing role to ensure that this program is right for them. Researching roles online, job shadowing and working in health care can help an applicant evaluate which role is right for them.

Common questions about the APNI to DNP program - part 2

Clinical experience is not required for admission to the APNI to DNP program. Students who have such experience may be more comfortable in their initial clinical nursing experiences, and you may choose to work in health care to attain this increased comfort level.

For the first five quarters of the program, students will be placed at clinical sites. These sites include local inpatient and outpatient agencies within Seattle city limits and sites that are at a distance within 30-40 miles from Seattle, such as Renton, Everett, Bremerton, Tacoma, etc. In the first five quarters, students are typically working clinically within a group of 5-12 students. Post RN licensure, students will be placed with preceptors in local and distant clinical sites. Students are responsible for their own transportation needs. To learn about clinical placement please review the common questions about the clinical placements.

The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances. Factors you might consider include how certain you are that you want to be an advanced practice nurse (such as a nurse practitioner) or a registered nurse, whether you need to work while going to school, and the amount of time you feel you can invest in school. If you know you want to be a nurse practitioner or a nurse who assumes a leadership role in health care, the APNI to DNP program may be right for you. However, if you wish to practice as a registered nurse, and are not yet ready to pursue an advanced practice degree, applying to our BSN program as a transfer student may be the best initial step for you.

In 2023, students in the Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion program had a first-time pass rate of 92.75% and an overall pass rate of 97.1%. Students take the exam after completion of their first five quarters of graduate study, an NCLEX review course in some cases and individual study. Students can plan to take their NCLEX exam in their second summer by mid-July, and if not successful, may retake 45 days after their first attempt. Students must pass NCLEX and be licensed as an RN at the end of their sixth quarter to remain in the DNP program.

New graduates do not always get their first-choice job upon program completion. However, most are in the position they want within one to two years of graduation. Nationwide and in rural areas, advanced practice nurses, such as nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives, are in high demand.

Yes, you will learn the essential knowledge and skills for the registered nurse, and you will complete the graduate nursing curriculum in your chosen focal area. After completing the APNI portion of your program and earning your RN license, you will be eligible to work as an RN. Many APNI to DNPs work part-time while pursuing their Nurse Practitioner education. APNI to DNP graduates’ rates of employment are the same or better than those of our traditional students who enter with registered nurse experience. The first-time pass rate for certification in all focal areas (Family, Adult-Gerontology and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife) is between 95% and 100%.

Common questions about the APNI to DNP program - part 3

In the first year of study, most courses are classroom-based, and some course activities may occur partly or fully online. In the post RN portion of programs, there may be courses online. Currently these courses are “hybrid,” that is, having both an online and classroom learning environment.

You should not plan on working during the first five quarters of the program. The credit load is high in most quarters, and success will require that your main focus be on school. Many students work part-time during the next three years of study, often as registered nurses. All jobs need to have flexible working hours to accommodate clinical schedules, which vary from quarter to quarter.

APNI to DNP students have a dedicated APNI adviser. APNI students who are struggling with the pace are encouraged to speak to their advisor and to communicate directly with their course faculty to ensure success. Courses in the graduate program are typically offered once a year. If a student does not pass a course, it may not be possible for them to continue in the usual sequence of courses, and they may need to wait to retake the course when it is offered next. Retaking a course will likely change the original timeline for completion of the graduate program.

Students should choose their advanced practice area of study very carefully. Switching to a different area is rarely done and can only be considered on a space available basis. Students who desire to switch need to submit a new application for the APNI to DNP area of study they wish to enter and progress through the same application and interview process, competing with the group of new applicants for the following academic year.

Additional questions may be answered by contacting:

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We’re here to help. For information about DNP degrees at Seattle University, contact:

Oz Sener, MEd

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