Nursing Practice

Doctor of Nursing

About This Program

Program Purpose

Today’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurses need to have the forward-thinking clinical expertise and leadership skills at their command to promote the application and implementation of evidence-based practices that are linked to original scientific research. Accomplishing this goal means linking knowledge about health policy, informatics, and business practices to the care of individual clients, families and communities. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Wilmington University is a terminal degree to produce competent advanced nurse clinicians to meet the nation’s increasingly complex health care needs.

Program Competencies

Foundational outcome competencies for the DNP program are derived from The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006). Upon completion of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, graduates will:

  1. Evaluate the scientific underpinnings in clinical practice.
  2. Apply organizational and system leadership skills to affect systemic changes in thinking and development of quality improvement activities to improve clinical outcomes and professional development through life-long learning.
  3. Use analytic methods to critically appraise existing literature and other evidence that translates into the application and evaluation of new science into practice improvements.
  4. Appraise and utilize current information systems and technologies to improve health care.

  5. Analyze and advocate for health care policies that provide equitable health care and social justice to populations at risk.

  6. Function as a collaborative team member to facilitate clinical prevention activities to promote population health.

  7. Synthesize and utilize data to promote the highest quality of care.

  8. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability in selecting, implementing, and evaluating care.

Program Design

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is designed to combine theory, practice, and inquiry to enhance students' interpretation and use of evidence based practice to influence the health care system. Twenty-four course credits are designed to build upon graduate nursing education in the areas of population health, quality improvement, and systems leadership, among other key areas. These core courses are delivered in a seven week block format.

The DNP is a rigorous, practice-leadership focused degree. Experiential academic experience affords students the opportunity to synthesize and utilize theory and data to promote the highest quality of care at an advanced level of professional nursing practice. Students will complete five hundred (500) self-directed post-graduate experiential scholarship hours aligned with the AACN DNP Essentials. Faculty will provide oversight and guidance while students work one-on-one with an experiential engagement mentor.

The DNP program exists within a framework of professional, academic rigor that culminates with the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a defined doctoral project. The DNP project is a nine-credit experiential engagement which is offered over three semesters wherein students work closely with a faculty advisor. Students must be raised to candidacy before beginning this phase of the program.

The DNP program is delivered in two ways, either a modified hybrid format or 100% online. The modified hybrid format consists of classroom meetings the first weekend and last weekend of the core DNP classes. Throughout the DNP project phase, students work closely with a faculty advisory. The online option will enable students to complete the entire course of study online and have the option to present their final project virtually or on campus. The admission for this group is annual in January.

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2015-2016 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2015 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.