What is the APNI Program?

Prospective Students

Common Questions about the APNI Program

Q. What is the Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion Program (APNI)?

The APNI program is a full-time program of study leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree for students who have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. After you complete the 5-quarter APNI program of study, you will be eligible to sit for the registered nurse licensing exam (NCLEX-RN). You are formally admitted into your chosen advanced practice area of study after successfully passing the NCLEX. Students complete remaining DNP core courses and their focal area courses over the following three years. All graduates are eligible for national certification exams in their specialty.

Q. What is the APNI program like? How hard is it?

The APNI program, as the name states, is very fast-paced and immerses the student 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. See the FAQ below for the supports and resources that SU has available to assist student success. 

Q. What kind of student succeeds in the APNI 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 in order to focus on school. They don't have external employment in their academic year.
  • They are typically strong communicators and collaborate well with persons who might be very different from themselves.
  • They possess strong study habits and the ability to accept and use feedback that is essential to student success.
  • 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.

Q. What are the health and legal requirements for the APNI program?

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 Services).
  • Students are required to provide evidence of immunizations and antibody titers (see DNP Handbook), 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.

Q. How far away are clinicals in the first year? Do I need a car?

Students are required to manage their transportation needs to clinical sites; clinical sites can be as far as 20-30 miles from Seattle in the first year of study. Clinicals in the subsequent years may be farther than 30 miles and some may be out of state (see below). 

Q. Is health care experience required to be accepted into the APNI program?

Health care experience is not required to be accepted into the APNI 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.

Q. Is clinical experience required for acceptance into APNI program?

Clinical experience is not required for admission to the APNI 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.

Q. What are the various entry points for the SU Doctor of Nursing Practice Program?

  • Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing program may apply for the APNI program and select a focal area of study on their application. This is a 4-year program of study. The first 5 quarters are focused on pre-licensure and preparation for RN licensure exams, along with their first 4 doctoral courses. In year two, students continue doctoral courses and begin 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 Doctor of Nursing Practice 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 focal area. 
  • For those RNs who already have a master's degree, they may apply directly to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the Health Systems Leadership track.

Q. What does “Jesuit” mean and how is a Jesuit nursing program unique?

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 and are welcomed at Seattle University. For more information on Jesuit education visit www.seattleu.edu/jesuit-tradition.

Q. How many students do you plan to enroll each year?

We plan to enroll up to 65-72 students total into each APNI cohort. The number accepted per specialty varies between 10-20 students. 

Q. Should I get a BSN, work for a while, and then return to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice?

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 immersion program may be right for you. However, if you wish to practice as a registered nurse, or are unsure of whether you are ready to pursue an advanced practice career, getting a BSN may be the best initial step for you.

Today's reality is that entry to all nursing programs is competitive. The best strategy for many people may be to apply to both the BSN and the immersion programs. Once you know which program(s) you are offered admission to, you can make the decision about which to pursue.

Q. What is the NCLEX pass rate for students in the immersion program?

Between 2015-2019 the average pass rate is 94.5%. Students take the exam after completion of the first year of the program, 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 start of their second Fall Quarter to proceed to the post-licensure program of study for their graduate track.

Q. What is the job market like for advanced practice nurses in the Seattle area?

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.

Q. Will I really be prepared to be an advanced practice nurse at the end of the program?

Yes, you will learn the essential knowledge and skills for the registered nurse, and you will study the entire graduate nursing curriculum in your chosen focal area. You will initially lack some clinical experience as a registered nurse, but the goal of the program is to prepare nurse practitioners, public health nurses, and nurse leaders. Immersion 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%. Note: students in the Community Public Health track will become eligible for national certification in that area, but are not eligible for secondary licensure and are not nurse practitioners.

Q. Where will I go for the clinical portion of the program?

For the first year 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 year, 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.

Q. How much of the program is online?

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, however, currently these courses are “hybrid,” that is, having both an online and classroom learning environment.

Q. Can I work during the APNI program?

You should not plan on working during the first year 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 second year, often as registered nurses. All jobs need to have flexible working hours to accommodate clinical schedules, which vary from quarter to quarter.

Q. What financial aid, scholarship, or other supports are available?

You will be considered a graduate student for the entire length of the program, so you will be eligible for financial aid (i.e., loans) as a graduate student. There are several need- and merit-based scholarships for immersion students available from SU. In addition, SU has scholarships available for people from ethnic minority groups that have been under-represented in nursing. Advanced Education Nurse Traineeships may also be available for nurse practitioner students in the second year of study. Additional information about financial aid and scholarships is available on our website.

Q. What other resources are available at Seattle University to help me succeed?

Seattle University recognizes that students may need assistance to succeed. Seattle University offers the following resources:

Q. What if the pace is too fast for me or I do not pass a course?

APNI students have a dedicated APNI adviser. APNI students who are struggling with the pace are encouraged to seek advising and to communicate directly with their course faculty to ensure success. Courses in the graduate program are typically offered once a year. If a course is not passed, typically the student may not continue in the usual sequence of courses and may need to wait to retake the course when it is offered next. Retaking a course may change the original timeline for completion of the graduate program.

Q. What if, after being in the program, I want to change to a different focal area of study?

Students should make their choice of focal area very carefully. Switching a student to a different focal area is rarely done and can only be considered on a space available basis. Students who decide to switch need to submit a new application for the APNI focal area 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.

Q. How do I get answers to other questions?

Attend an Information Session

Learn more about the DNP program at an upcoming online information session.

APNI-DNP Sessions for Non-Nurse Applicants

Thursday, May 6, 2021 from 5 to 6 PM PDT


Thursday, May 20, 2021 from 5 to 6 PM PDT


DNP Sessions for RN Applicants

Thursday, May 13, 2021 from 5 to 6 PM PDT


Thursday, May 27, 2021 from 5 to 6 PM PDT