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Nurse Executive Leadership

The Nurse Executive Practice concentration consists of advanced study to prepare students for all levels of executive practice within all health care settings.

As of summer 2020, recruitment for the BSN-DNP, Nurse Executive Leadership Concentration has been suspended indefinitely.  We do still offer several other concentrations within our BSN-DNP program as well as several MSN-DNP options. To review these options, please go to or reach out to us at or by phone at 865-974-2594.

The curriculum is based on both the AACN Essentials for the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the AONL Core Competencies for Nurse Executives. In today’s health care environment, factors such as value-based purchasing, cost containment, alternative health care delivery systems, and increased competition have made the challenge to nurse executives at all levels more complex, challenging, and at the same time exciting.  Nurse leaders/executives are leading healthcare policy and initiatives that are addressing the complex health care challenges.

Concentration courses build upon and expand concepts from the core courses of the curriculum.  Students explore, analyze, and apply selected organizational, management, and leadership theories and financial principles to the delivery of nursing services.  They also study the structures, functions, and adaptive processes of health care organizations, labor relations, financial resources, conflict resolution, and organizational development are analyzed with application to the various nurse executive levels within health care settings.  Examples include but are not limited to organizational behavior, marketing principles, principles of health care finance, health/nursing policy and planning, and quality management.

Graduates are employed as nurse managers or directors in acute care inpatient settings, emergency rooms, women’s centers, mental health agencies, long-term care settings, and as faculty in schools of nursing.   Some of our graduates come into the program with nurse executive practice positions and are promoted once graduated into roles with expanded responsibilities.  Additional clinical practice will make the graduate eligible to pursue certification as a nurse executive (basic) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or through the American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL).

The Nurse Executive concentration is a hybrid online curriculum with on-campus visits twice per semester throughout the students’ clinical courses in their areas of concentration. On-site requirements provide opportunities for networking with peers, formative learning, and summative assessments of advanced clinical skills within the College of Nursing’s high-fidelity simulation center. Synchronous online course meetings will also occur throughout the semester for case discussions, content review, and presentations. These mandatory online course meetings will be scheduled prior to the beginning of the term so students may arrange their schedules accordingly.

The concentration is typically a full-time program. Student curriculum plans of study are individualized and carefully determined under the guidance of the concentration coordinator.

Nurse executive practice students work closely with their concentration coordinator and faculty to find appropriate clinical placements that meet the individual academic needs of the student. While students may help identify potential clinical sites, they are not guaranteed any particular site placement. It must be noted that travel to and from clinical sites is part of the nurse executive practice concentration requirement.

The application deadline for our BSN-DNP, Nurse Anesthesia and clinical track Graduate Certificates Programs is December 15, 2020. We have currently halted recruitment for the BSN-DNP, Nurse Executive Practice Program as of Spring 2020. Applications for the Health Informatics, Nurse Education and Health Policy Graduate Certificate Programs are accepted on a rolling admissions basis.


For more details, please review our Graduate Admissions page.


For Course Descriptions, please see the Graduate Catalog.


Nurse Executive Practice Coordinator Graduate Programs Advisor

Pamela Hardesty
Clinical Professor

April Gonzalez
April Gonzalez
Graduate Programs Advisor