Outstanding PhD/DNS Dissertations and DNP Project Awards

AACN created this awards program to recognize and showcase outstanding dissertations and DNP projects completed by students in research- and practice-focused doctoral programs. Many doctoral students are advancing ground-breaking research and practice innovations that are worthy of national recognition and could serve as exemplars for other students to emulate.

Two awards will be presented each year, with one award presented in each of the following categories:

Excellence in Advancing Nursing Science Award for an outstanding dissertation from a student in a PhD in nursing or DNS program. A dissertation is an original research project that focuses on advancing nursing science and developing new evidence with the potential to guide nursing practice. 

 Download PhD/DNS Nomination Information

Excellence in Advancing Nursing Practice Award for an outstanding final project from a student in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. A DNP project demonstrates high-level mastery of an area of advanced nursing practice and focuses on the translation of evidence into practice.

Download DNP Nomination Information

Selection of Award Winners

A selection committee will review all complete nominations received and select award finalists. This committee reserves the right to decide not to recommend an award in any given year. Award finalists must be approved by the AACN Board of Directors. 

See Past Award Winners

Award Presentation and Promotion
  • The doctoral student/graduate receiving an award must attend AACN’s Doctoral Education Conference. The conference registration fee for the winners will be waived.
  • The award will be presented by the AACN Chair at the start of conference.
  • Award winners will present their abstracts on the second day of the Doctoral Education Conference.
  • The award includes a “symbol” of appreciation and a $1,000 check. Winners will be announced via AACN publications and on its Website.

Contact Information

Please direct any questions related to this awards program to faculty@aacnnursing.org.

Congratulations to the 2021 Award Recipients!

Excellence in Advancing Nursing Science Award

Headshot of Raymond Romano

Raymond Romano, III, PhD
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease in Primary Care Setting
Program Director - Carolyn Graff

Excellence in Advancing Nursing Practice Award

Headshot of Bridget Chandler

Bridget A. Chandler, DNP
University of Washington
Case Study: Seattle Public Schools' (SPS) 2019-20 Immunization Campaign to Protect Health and Prevent School Exclusion
Program Director - Tatiana Sadak

View details about past and present award winners