Nursing Practice

Doctor of Nursing

About This Program

Program Purpose

Today’s advanced practice 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 care of individual clients, families and communities. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Wilmington University is the terminal degree to produce the most 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 in Nursing Practice (DNP), 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. The 24-credit D.N.P. core is 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 by the Wilmington University block format.

The D.N.P. is a rigorous, practice-leadership focused degree. Clinical practicum experience affords post-graduate students the opportunity to synthesize and utilize theory and data to promote the highest quality of care at the advanced level of professional nursing practice. Students will complete five hundred (500) self-directed post-graduate experiential scholarship hours that expand on current knowledge above the master’s level of advanced practice. Faculty will provide oversight and guidance to these self-directed experiences.

The D.N.P. program exists within a framework of professional, academic rigor that culminates with the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a defined doctoral project. The D.N.P. project is an indirect practicum over three semesters with advisement until project completion. Students must be raised to candidacy before beginning this phase of the program. This doctoral project itself totals 12 credit hours.


This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2014-2015 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2014 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.