Parent Page: Programs & Academics id: 26455 Active Page: BSN to DNP CNS Adult/Gerontologyid:27005

BSN to DNP Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice doctorate that prepares clinical scholars recognized for outstanding leadership and innovative evidence-based patient/population centered outcomes.  The program focuses on interprofessional collaboration and developing competencies in practice, leadership, and quality improvement and safety that lead to enhanced outcomes important to patients, families, providers, and organizations.

The BSN to DNP curriculum is in line with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties' (NONPF), the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) and American Organizations of Nurse Executives (AONE) commitment to move all entry-level nurse practitioner education to the DNP degree by 2025. The program is not an addition to master's studies, but rather an integration of the objectives and learning opportunities required for attainment of doctoral level core and population-focused competencies.

OU College of Nursing’s Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program prepares skilled nurses to function at the highest level of care in a wide range of health care settings where patients with adult/geriatric care needs are served.

Clinical experts in the diagnoses, interventions and treatments of illnesses, CNSs work with other professionals to advance the nursing practice and improve outcomes in patient care, in addition to providing clinical expertise to influence system-wide changes in care.

Those who earn a doctoral degree as a clinical nurse specialist often:

  • Lead and collaborate in an interdisciplinary healthcare team
  • Assist and offer guidance to patients and their families as they navigate the complex healthcare delivery system
  • Serve as educators, consultants, evidence-based researchers, change agents and case managers, as well as clinical nurses

Graduates of this program can be found working in independent or collaborative practice, hospitals, outpatient, rehabilitation facilities, extended care situations hospice and home health care.

To learn more about career options available to graduates of the Doctoral of Science in Clinical Nurse Specialist: Adult/ Gerontology program, visit or the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

Residency requirements: Due to federal regulations from the Department of Education, the College of Nursing currently accepts applications for its online doctoral degree programs from residents of the states participating in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). A list of participating states can be found at: Applicants are encouraged to check with their local State Boards of Nursing regarding any specific professional licensure requirements prior to applying or enrolling. 

Program Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, the graduate will be prepared to:

  • Integrate theories from nursing and support sciences to guide practice and role development
  • Use evidence-based and best practice literature to propose and initiate change.
  • Use political acumen to influence health care policy in the promotion of safe, ethical health care delivery.
  • Deliver a broad array of evidence-based, patient-centered nursing interventions to culturally diverse or at-risk individuals and populations in a specialized area of practice.
  • Demonstrate expertise in a specialized area of clinical, teaching, and management/administrative practice and/or initial competence in a functional role (advanced practice registered nurse [APRN], educator and administrator).
  • Employ leadership and management skills in decision making to improve nursing care delivery and the care environment.
  • Collaborate with the interprofessional teams to improve nursing care and health care services.
  • Contribute to knowledge dissemination through scholarly activities and communication.
  • Use critical synthesis to effectively manage resources and systems.
  • Demonstrate competency in information analysis, management and technology consistent with role preparation.
  • Engage in lifelong learning and professional development.

Program Outcomes

  • In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program had a 100% certification pass rate.
  • In In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program had a 100% post-certificate pass rate
  • In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program completion rate was 76.9%
  • In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program completion rate was 100%
  • 100% of 2019-2020 Clinical Nurse Specialist graduates were employed within 12 months of graduation.

Prerequisite Courses

Undergraduate Nursing Research 

General Statistics 


Program Start: Fall 

Adult/Geriatric CNS: 67 credit hours / 1002 clinical hours 

Hybrid Program: Some on-campus and online components 

Admission Requirements

  • Application deadline - June 1st
  • Completion of a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Nursing from an accredited institution
  • Minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA for the last 60 hours
  • Current United States license to practice as a Registered Nurse in state where clinical rotations are completed
  • University admission and supplemental applications [Including submission of three reference letters, an essay, and a resume]
  • Potential interview with DNP faculty
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses prior to application deadline