Nurses working in a leadership and organizational capacity in the hospital

Nursing Practice

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree positions you to be a leader at the organizational and systems level in the ever-changing field of health care. Elevate the quality of health care and broaden your range of skills so you can thrive in a high-level career in the health care industry.

Become a Leader in Nursing

The changing demands of healthcare requires the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to transform healthcare and assure quality patient outcomes. This requires nurses who can lead transformative practice, provide system leadership, and move nursing practice to the highest level as they navigate and lead through complex health systems to promote individual, community, and national health.

As a student pursuing an advanced degree in nursing practice, you will gain the educational foundation and skills you need to thrive as a leader in health care. The online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in organizational systems and leadership prepares nurses for leadership roles within health care organizations. The program is offered through a partnership between the Department of Nursing and the Beacom School of Business – offering a rich, interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares you to incorporate principles of business, finance, budget and policy, as well as nursing science, patient care improvement, population health and ethics, into your practice.

You will graduate as a nursing leader capable of providing nursing leadership within complex health systems, business and other healthcare settings.

Degrees & Offerings

Doctor of Nursing Practice: Organizational & System Leadership (DNP)

Doctorate with Specialization

The online DNP with a specialization in organizational and system leadership meets the growing demand for nursing leadership who practice at the organizational and systems level. This program prepares nurses to lead within complex health systems in roles of administration, executive leadership and academic faculty.

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Start Your Application Today

This graduate program utilizes a specialized CAS online application to complete the admissions process. To learn more about this program's unique application process, requirements and program deadlines, visit Specialty Graduate Program Applications.

Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements.



Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.
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Student Opportunities

The academic opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Visit our department webpage for more information about the experiences and resources you can look forward to at USD.


Learn more about nursing

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education.
Nursing Student During a Patient Simulation.


Our department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, supporting the state's health care workforce and patient outcomes through quality education.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Department of Nursing. Our faculty are committed professionals, experts in their field, and contribute to research and scholarship in health promotion, disease prevention, and  chronic disease management. USD faculty are committed to producing life long learners, and develops exceptional health practitioners, leaders, and scholars who improve and advocate for the well-being of all people. We focus on person-centered care, with caring, compassion and respect as the foundation to nursing care.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Anne Pithan

Anne Pithan

Chair, Nursing
Bio Image for Faculty Member Dean Cassella

Dean Cassella

Faculty Default

Christine Doty

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelli Ebbesen

Kelli Ebbesen

Faculty Advisor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lisa Feller

Lisa Feller

Assoc Prof/Dir Regulatory Aff
Bio Image for Faculty Member Danielle Fleming

Danielle Fleming

Clinical Lab Specialist
Bio Image for Faculty Member Katie Fransen

Katie Fransen

Bio Image for Faculty Member Helene Hegge

Helene Hegge MSN,RN

Site Director
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelsey Heinert

Kelsey Heinert

Program Assistant I
Faculty Default

Valarie Hower

Management Analyst
Bio Image for Faculty Member Amy Hunsley

Amy Hunsley

Sioux Falls Site Director
Faculty Default

Natalie Ihnen

Clinical Experience Director
Bio Image for Faculty Member Tamara Keefner

Tamara Keefner

Assistant Professor
Faculty Default

Pam Kendall

Bio Image for Faculty Member Anne Kleinhesselink

Anne Kleinhesselink

Associate Chair/Assist Prof
Bio Image for Faculty Member Sabina Kupershmidt

Sabina Kupershmidt

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Regan Luken

Regan Luken

Student Services Director
Faculty Default

Beth Melstad

Student Services Specialist
Bio Image for Faculty Member Anneka Mikel

Anneka Mikel

Bio Image for Faculty Member Lori Munter

Lori Munter

Bio Image for Faculty Member Lesli Olson

Lesli Olson

Bio Image for Faculty Member Paige Rock

Paige Rock

Bio Image for Faculty Member Jeannie Rossow

Jeannie Rossow

Bio Image for Faculty Member Michele Seaton-Bertsch

Michele Seaton-Bertsch

Asst Advisor/Recruiter
Bio Image for Faculty Member Barbara Stolle

Barbara Stolle MS, RN CNE, CHSE

SIM Oversight/Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Chris Tesch

Chris Tesch

BSN/RN-BSN Clinical Faculty
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lorie Truhe

Lorie Truhe

Faculty Default

Angela Uhl

Laboratory Storekeeper
Bio Image for Faculty Member Dawn Warren

Dawn Warren

Rapid City Site Director
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Angela Wilhelm

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jean Yockey

Jean Yockey

Assistant Professor
A computer science student at their computer.

Take Your Classes Online

We're committed to bringing our knowledge to you. USD serves the largest number of online students in the state of South Dakota. With competitive online tuition rates, we offer the same price whether you’re out-of-state or an in-state resident.

Enroll in an online program today!

View all online programs
Nursing  student studying online

Developing Your Speciality

We have integrated a specialization into your advanced degree, ensuring you graduate with a marketable and unique education that positions you for success in your career. Your understanding of organizational and system leadership will make you an asset to your health care organization.

Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 
Resident & WRGP
MN Residents
Tuition (9 cr.)
Fees (9 cr.)
Books (estimate)

More About Tuition & Fees

This is an estimate tuition rate* per credit hour and other factors such as special fees associated with your program may change the cost of tuition. Tuition rates are subject to change. 

If you are wondering about how to pay for graduate school, there are additional funding options to consider.


Quality Educational Experiences

USD's MSN and DNP programs in nursing are pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Applying for accreditation does not guarantee that accreditation will be granted.

Accreditation fosters quality educational experiences and helps to assure that the program is taught by qualified faculty, has the resources it needs to support the curriculum, meets its mission, has acceptable student outcomes, and provides accurate information to the public.


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