Doctor of Nursing Practice: Leadership Concentration

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. Graduates with requisite work experience are eligible to take the Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) and Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) examinations offered by the American Organization of Nurse Executives as well as the Nurse Executive-Board Certified (NE-BC) and Nurse Executive, Advanced-Board Certified (NEA-BC) certifications offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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 of practice.
  2. Apply systems leadership skills to develop and evaluate care delivery approaches while lead quality improvement activities to improve clinical outcomes.
  3. Apply clinical scholarship and analytical methods to appraise existing literature and other evidence to determine and implement the best evidence for practice.
  4. Appraise information systems technology and patient care technology to transform health care.
  5. Serve as a health care policy advocate by critically analyzing health policy proposals, health policies, and related issues.
  6. Lead interprofessional teams in the analysis of complex practice and organizational issues to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  7. Synthesize and utilize individual, aggregate, and population 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, experiential engagement courses are offered in 15-week semesters, and DNP Project courses are offered in 15-week semesters.

Interested candidates must have a masters degree and be actively employed in an area of advanced nursing practice (i.e. informatics, executive leadership, health policy, or population health). National board certification (i.e. NE-BC, NEA-BC, CNML, CPHIMS) for nurse leaders is recommended, but not required.

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. Continuous enrollment is required during the DNP Project phase of the program.

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. Leadership students will complete one thousand (1,000) experiential engagement hours aligned with the AACN DNP Essentials and AONE Nurse Executive Competencies. 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 culminates 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.

Core Courses

The DNP curriculum builds upon masters preparation for nurses prepared in an advanced nursing practice specialty. All students take eight 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 and AONE Nurse Executive Competencies into their practice. Nurse leaders are required to complete 45 credits and 1,000 experiential engagement hours.

DNP 7000 Bioethics for Advanced Nursing Practice

DNP 7101 Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice

DNP 7103 Population Health (20 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 7108 Quality Improvement in Healthcare (35 experiential engagement hours)

DNP Project

DNP 8000 Doctor of Nursing Practice Project I (145 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 8001 Doctor of Nursing Practice Project II (150 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 8002 Doctor of Nursing Practice Project III (150 experiential engagement hours)

Experiential Engagement Hours

DNP 9001 Doctor of Nursing Practice Experiential Engagement I (125 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 9002 Doctor of Nursing Practice Experiential Engagement II (125 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 9003 Doctor of Nursing Practice Experiential Engagement III (125 experiential engagement hours)

DNP 9004 Doctor of Nursing Practice Experiential Engagement IV (125 experiential engagement hours)

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2018-2019 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2018 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.