About This Program


Nurses in advanced practice roles need to have forward-thinking clinical expertise and leadership skills at their command to promote the application and implementation of evidence-based practices linked to original scientific research. Accomplishing this goal requires linking health policy, informatics, population health, and business practices to the care of individuals, families, and communities. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Wilmington University is a terminal degree designed to prepare advanced nurses to meet the nation's increasingly complex health care needs.

Program Competencies

Outcome competencies for the DNP program are derived from The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006). Upon completion of the DNP program, graduates will be able to:

  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.
  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 Information

WilmU's DNP program delivers an innovative curriculum emphasizing healthcare engineering and interdisciplinary collaboration among clinicians, educators, health systems, community leaders, and policy makers. Students learn to utilize both theory and evidence-based data to promote the highest level of professional practice.

To best serve working nurse professionals, WilmU offers flexible schedules that enable students to balance work, personal, and educational commitments. The DNP program can be completed in 28 months, culminating with a 9-credit, year-long, doctoral project. Core courses are offered in seven-week blocks and DNP Project courses are offered in 15-week semesters.

Interested candidates must have a masters degree with current national board certification as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

The DNP program is offered 100% online to provide the most flexibility for students. However, two optional online synchronous course meetings are available during each course to facilitate student and faculty interaction. There are no on campus residency requirements and students have the option to present their final doctoral project virtually or on campus.

Cohorts begin every Fall and Spring. Summer cohorts are offered based on student interest.

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate, and the program must be completed within seven years.

DNP Curriculum

The DNP curriculum builds upon masters preparation for advanced practice nurses. Students will complete core courses taught by scholar practitioners in preparation for a year-long DNP Project designed to bridge the gap between original research and clinical practice. Experiential engagement experiences afford students the opportunity to integrate and synthesize the AACN DNP Essentials into their clinical practice. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are required to complete 33 credits and 500 experiential engagement hours.

DNP 7000 Bioethics for Advanced Nursing Practice

DNP 7101 Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice

DNP 7102 Population Health I (28 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 7103 Population Health II (28 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 7104 Politics and Policy in the Healthcare System

DNP 7105 Healthcare Economics and the Business of Practice

DNP 7106 Healthcare Informatics

DNP 7107 Applied Evidence-Based Practice

DNP 8000 DNP Project I (148 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 8001 DNP Project II (148 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 8002 DNP Project III (148 experiential engagement hours)

Experiential Engagement Hours

The DNP is a rigorous, practice-leadership focused degree. Experiential engagement experiences afford students the opportunity to synthesize and utilize theory and research data to promote the highest quality of care at an advanced level of professional nursing practice. Students currently licensed as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse will complete five hundred (500) experiential engagement hours aligned with the AACN DNP Essentials. Doctoral faculty will provide oversight and guidance while students work closely with an experiential engagement mentor.

DNP Project

The DNP program exists within a framework of professional, academic rigor that requires planning, implementing, and evaluating an evidence-based doctoral project. The DNP Project highlights the scholarly contribution of DNP-prepared nurses to the ever-changing health care landscape. Within the framework of evidence-based practice, students identify a pertinent topic to further study, most commonly within their workplace. The project begins in DNP 8000 and culminates with completion in DNP 8002. A majority of the experiential hours are devoted to the doctoral project; however, other courses do incorporate experiential academic engagement hours. The final project manuscript details the nature and scope of the project, and students are required to disseminate their findings to the health care community. Students are encouraged to individualize their project toward their career focus as a DNP prepared nurse and will be assigned to a DNP faculty advisor who will serve as the DNP Project Chair, providing guidance throughout the three sequential semesters of project completion. The DNP Project Team will be mutually agreed upon between the student and faculty advisor.