Doctor of Nursing Practice

Message From the Dean

Kathleen Scoble

Welcome to the Elms College School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) webpage! Thank you for taking the time to explore our site. Your timing could not be better as our DNP program welcomed our third class of students in the fall of 2016. I am delighted to share a few program highlights with you.

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Why we began… The development of our DNP program was significantly motivated by the national call for improved preparation of nurses in advanced nursing practice. Additionally, we listened hard and well to our community of nursing and healthcare leaders who earnestly told us of an increased need for advanced practice nurses to provide care and assume future roles in their care delivery systems. We believe the Elms DNP Program will significantly contribute to meeting this current and future need for advanced practice providers, specifically the growing gap in primary care and adult acute gerontology.

Our partners… Sharing a vision and clear goals, we set out to create a unique and sustaining model of academic-practice partnership to support and contribute to the development of the DNP program and most importantly, the education and clinical training of the DNP prepared APRN students. This intentional approach was to assure that our DNP program would be of highest quality, enhanced through collaboration with practice partners and together we would invest in the educational and career advancement of nurses while preparing as APRNs. Sharing a vision and clear goals, we are proud to have partnered with Baystate Health System and Berkshire Health System who both provide scholarships for selected nurses within their systems.

Our DNP students… the DNP program opened in fall, 2014 with a robust first class of students and our second class of students entered fall, 2015. Our students represent a diverse group of nurses who are entering as post-baccalaureate or post-masters and employed in many different settings, including primary care, acute care, hospital systems, home health care, and nursing leadership.

Program leadership… Our program leadership is exceptional! Two directors jointly lead the program complementing each other by combining administration, teaching and advanced clinical practice.

What makes our DNP program distinctive… faculty-student relationships and emphasis on teaching advanced practice core competencies, faculty-student relationships and student-centered learning. Faculty-student relationships are valued at our School of Nursing and evidenced in the goals of our DNP program. Students are deliberately matched with faculty mentors to meet the students' interests and guide them through doctoral education. We strive to create a community where students have a sense of belonging with each other and with faculty. The program is delivered in a hybrid model which blends face-to-face class time with on-line learning education. Combining the best of both worlds, students report being are more satisfied with the learning experience of the blended approach compared to total face-to-face or online instruction. The model provides the student with opportunities to continue to work and balance home with their professional career goals. The DNP prepared advanced practice nurse assesses manages and evaluates patients at the most independent level of clinical nursing practice. Thus, the Elms DNP program places significant emphasis on the advanced practice core and specialty courses to assure the APRN's distinctive competencies. A hallmark course, advanced health and physical assessment incorporates foundational practice competencies in a faculty driven, face-to-face lecture and assessment labs and practicum. Forefront is infusing nursing science as well as other sciences to design, implement, and evaluate therapeutic interventions and patient care outcomes that result from them (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006).

Teresa ReskeTeresa Kuta Reske, DNP, MPA, RN, Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program – Program Operations and Associate Professor of Nursing joined Elms College full time in 2014 bringing to this role 30 years of nursing leadership and administrative experience and most recently,​ as Ambulatory Site Administrator at Baystate Health, Baystate Children's Hospital. She has years of experience teaching at both an undergraduate and graduate level with a passion for student learning. “We at the Elms School of Nursing have a high standard of excellence for teaching and expect nothing less from ourselves than we expect from our students. The goal of our faculty is the success of every student in our DNP program. My personal satisfaction is facilitating new learning by engaging our DNP students in mastering concepts and skills in an interactive process. I have been fortunate to have had exceptional educational experiences that have developed me professionally. Now, I am able to mentor our students in their education so that they will reach their professional goals."

Jean PelskiJean Pelski, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC
Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program - Advanced Clinical Practice and Associate Professor of Nursing. As a board certified, nurse practitioner with over 18 years of advanced clinical practice, Dr. Pelski joined Elms School of Nursing in 2008 as fulltime faculty for pediatrics while maintaining a practice at Baystate’s Neonatal Level 3 NICU. Over the years, she has developed a passion and expertise in precepting NP students and resident physicians. Appointed as a DNP Director in 2014, Dr. Pelski has directed the development and implementation of the advanced clinical practice core and specialty tracks, central components of the DNP program. “As a credentialed nurse practitioner, I am committed to the highest standards of education and clinical training for our DNP students. Upon completion of the program, our graduates will be “practice-ready” going forward to care for patients with compassion and confidence while forging collaborative teamwork. It is exciting to provide to our community a clinical practice doctorate program where, I believe, the educational experience will be unmatched."

If advanced practice nursing is career goal, we hope you will consider Elms College School of Nursing DNP Program. We would welcome the opportunity to meet you, discuss our program of study and share even more about our program. I hope to see you.

scoble sig

Kathleen Scoble, Ed.D., R.N.
Dean, School of Nursing, Associate Professor


The Elms College Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a clinical doctorate preparing registered nurses to be advanced-practice nurses for the highest professional level of nursing practice and to advance the application of nursing knowledge for the purpose of improving health care to diverse populations. The Elms College baccalaureate and master of science nursing programs are recognized for their exceptional reputation locally and regionally for having a commitment to the individualized instruction of its students and with an emphasis on meeting the health care needs of surrounding communities.  Building on baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, the DNP will prepare advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to be eligible for APRN licensure based upon national certification requirements; and to improve and transform healthcare through systems leadership, research translation and advanced clinical knowledge.

The Elms College DNP prepares registered nurses to be advanced practice nurses in two tracks: the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

Pathways for entry to the DNP program for registered nurses:

  1. The BS to DNP (baccalaureate degree in nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice) is a projected three year full-time study program encompassing approximately 81 credits of required coursework; 1,000 hours of required clinical experiences; and distinguished completion of a capstone project that builds toward the achievement of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice and nurse practitioner competencies. 
  2. The MSN to DNP program is for students who have a master’s degree in nursing and are seeking to be a nurse practitioner.  The course of study will be 68 credits for coursework; 1,000 hours of required clinical experiences; and distinguished completion of a capstone project that builds toward the achievement of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice and nurse practitioner competencies. 

Note: We do not offer the clinical practice doctorate track for nurses who are nurse practitioners or certified nurse midwives at this time.


DNP Application

Only one application is required for the Elms College DNP Program. The deadline is May 15, 2017. Please contact the DNP office if you plan to submit your full application packet by May 15, 2017.

There are currently two entry points for the DNP Program: Post BS to DNP option for registered nurses; and Post-Master’s option (MSN to DNP) for master’s prepared nurses such as clinical nurse specialists, nurse leaders, nurse educators, or nurse informatics specialists (not nurse practitioners or certified nurse midwives)

Contact us should you have any questions as you prepare your application.   

School of Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice