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

Please note, eligible Dissertation and DNP Project must be successfully completed between August 30, 2021 and August 30, 2022. The deadline is August 26, 2022.

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 2020 Award Recipients!

Excellence in Advancing Nursing Science Award

Headshot of Jewel Scott

Jewel Scott, PhD, MSN
Duke University
Social Contributors to the Cardiovascular Health of Young Adult Black Females
Program Director - Sharron Docherty

Excellence in Advancing Nursing Practice Award

Headshots of Amber Birkle, DNP; Angelyn Brown, DNP; Diana Costa, DNP; Marita Prince, DNP;  and Vonya Gibbons, DNP

Team Award
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Battlefield Acupuncture in the Management of Non-Traumatic Low Back Pain in Service Members
Program Director - Heather Johnson

Excellence in Advancing Nursing Practice Award

Headshot of Hailey Waechter

Hailey Waechter, DNP
University of Iowa College of Nursing
A Collaborative Approach to Weaning from Mechanical Ventilation
Program Director - Mary Dirks

View details about the award winners.