Graduate Coordinator: Matthew J. Gallek, PhD, RN
Graduate Coordinator: Ms. Debra Simpson
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice-focused terminal degree earned by specialists in advanced practice nursing. The DNP prepares advanced practice nurses (APNs) to analyze systems of care and provide transformational leadership that influences and impacts patient safety and quality of culturally competent care in southeastern, North Carolina. The DNP program consists of a minimum of 36 credit hours to a maximum of 40 credit hours of coursework including 6-10 hours concentrated on a scholarly clinical project. Each candidate’s program of study will be designed to meet student outcomes for advanced practice as a DNP.
Program Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the DNP curriculum, the new graduate will be able to:
- Analyze research evidence and theories from nursing and other relevant disciplines to integrate scientific foundations for developing new practice approaches in the advanced practice role.
- Demonstrate leadership in health organizations and systems approaches to meet current and future needs of patient populations by evaluating the outcomes of quality of health care and safety.
- Design processes through clinical scholarship for healthcare outcomes that meet the nation’s priority for patient-centered, high quality care that is seamless and affordable.
- Implement programs that use critical elements of technology for patients, populations, and health care systems that are ethically sound and culturally appropriate to improve current health care information and communication networks.
- Critically analyze health policies for the development and implementation of health care reforms that advocate for social justice and equity in all health care arenas.
- Demonstrate leadership in inter-professional communication, collaboration and consultation to analyze complex practice and organizational issues.
- Directly manage psychosocial and socioeconomic dimensions of healthcare for patients and populations to prevent disease and promote community, environmental and occupational health.
- Demonstrate the advanced practice role for clinical judgment by assisting patients and populations to navigate through the health care systems for optimal outcomes.
Students will be admitted to the DNP program by recommendation of the School of Nursing Graduate Admissions Committee based upon eligibility requirements and available resources. Under most circumstances, students admitted to the program will have met the following requirements:
- Master’s degree in nursing or post-master’s certificate from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), or the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA). The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master’s degree program in nursing at University of North Carolina Wilmington is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at University of North Carolina Wilmington is pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. Applying for accreditation does not guarantee that accreditation will be granted.
- Current unrestricted registered nurse (RN) license in the state in which practice will occur.
- Advanced Practice RNs (APRN) must have current national certification and be licensed and approved to practice as an APRN in their state of residence and currently employed in an advanced practice role. The APRN roles as defined by the American Colleges of Nursing are nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner.
- GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher on all previous graduate coursework as documented by official transcripts with evidence of completion of graduate level pathophysiology, pharmacology, and advanced physical assessment courses from a regionally accredited school.
- The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for international students which is acceptable for two years from the date the test is administered and shows the minimum achievement levels. Students with foreign student visas must present evidence of professional standing in their home countries. This requirement excludes U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents.
- Written essay addressing your advanced practice expertise, career goals, how earning the DNP will promote these goals, and description of DNP project topic area limited to 600 words.
- Submit a completed application and the application fee to the Graduate School.
- Three professional letters of recommendation to substantiate practice and leadership capabilities (one each from a former nurse faculty member and a current or former employer, preferred).
- Current curriculum vitae/resume.
- Criminal Background Check and 12 Panel Drug Screen is required for all applicants. An annual drug screen may also be required. Costs for these requirements are the responsibility of the applicant.
- Interview with the School of Nursing faculty may be required to determine congruence between student practice interests, career goals and faculty expertise.
Degree Requirements (36-40 total credit hours post-masters)
The program of study for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) includes 11 core courses. Electives at the graduate level which are specialization-specific may lead to a certificate from the School of Nursing. Students must fulfill the requirements for the program as they work closely with advisors to plan their course of study. The focus of the DNP program core is leadership in nursing practice. Skills will be developed for translating research to impact practice and population outcomes at an in-depth level. Emphasis is placed on managing information systems, using appropriate technology for health care delivery, assessing and managing health risks, enhancing inter-professional communication, and designing and developing health care systems. Successful completion of all courses in the curriculum core is required for graduation.
NSG 696 , NSG 697 , NSG 698 are the last courses to be taken in the DNP program. All of the other courses enable the student to write the proposal for, implement, analyze the outcomes, and plan for the dissemination of the Clinical Scholarly Project.
Program Specialization Leading to Graduate Concentrations (9 credit hours required)
By the beginning of the second year, students could enhance their program of study by choosing a specialty concentration by combining existing DNP core courses with some focused electives. Students who choose to complete a concentration would complete more than 42 credits required for graduation. The concentration would be displayed on the UNCW academic transcript and be recognized with a certificate from the School of Nursing. The concentration cognates are aligned with faculty expertise across the campus.
1. Nursing Education (9 Credit hours)
The Nursing Education track includes 9 credits of cognates that prepare the DNP graduate for faculty roles either in academia or the service arena. The didactic content in these courses are required by the North Carolina Board of Nursing to demonstrate minimum competency as nurse educators.
2. Transcultural Nursing (9 Credit hours)
The Transcultural Nursing track includes 9 credits of cognates to better prepare the DNP graduate for global or community roles with diverse and underserved populations.
3. Nurse Executive Leadership (9 Credit hours)
The Nurse Executive Leadership track includes 9 credits of cognates which expand the DNP skills for leadership roles in the health care industry.
4. Technology and Informatics (9 Credit hours)
The Technology and Informatics track includes 9 credits of cognates focused on technology for the practice arena in the health care industry and academia.
All DNP students must:
- Complete and pass a written and oral comprehensive examination of the clinical scholarly project.
- A DNP student must have a “B” or better in each required course. If a student earns a “C”, he/she must repeat the course and must earn a “B” or better to progress. A student will only be allowed to repeat one course. A student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
- Total of 1000 clinical hours (includes clinical hours from previous master’s program and current DNP practicum).