Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
The UW School of Nursing is a leader in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) education. DNP students learn to synthesize and expand their knowledge and skills about advanced practice on multiple levels. Students will become experts at evaluating and translating evidence into effective change at the individual, family, community, and systems levels. These changes enhance the outcomes of care, effectiveness of care delivery, and reduce health disparities.
Doctor of Nursing Practice students are part of an exceptional group of students pursuing specialized training to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) or Advanced Systems and Population Health (ASPH) experts. As a DNP applicant, you will choose from a variety of specialty tracks within these pathways at the time of application. Visit our Graduate Tracks page for more information about each track.
Students who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, or a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline with an active registered nursing (RN) license, are eligible to apply.
DNP applications are due January 15 each year to begin full-time study the following Autumn Quarter.
Foundation of DNP Study
DNP studies will focus on advanced practice, leadership, and practice inquiry:
- Advanced practice nursing allows graduates to apply for national certification in a specialized area. Students who already have a Master of Nursing (MN) with certification in an area of advanced practice may choose to focus on enhancing that MN degree and current specialization by learning how to integrate leadership and practice inquiry into their existing skillset.
- Coursework in nursing leadership prepares students to effectively collaborate with other healthcare professionals in organizations/systems, information technology, policy, and professional identity within a social justice framework.
- Practice inquiry gives students the fundamental skills needed to develop research methods and successfully translate scientific evidence into clinical practice.
Flexible Study for Working Professionals
To increase the flexibility of the DNP program, we have begun offering more distance learning options. Students in their first 3 quarters are only required to come to campus for class 1 day per week every other week (see the core curriculum grid for more information). The remaining weeks have online learning components, allowing students to optimize work-life balance.
Effective Autumn 2013, Doctor of Nursing Practice students began a new curriculum based on an improved and consolidated model ("DNP 2.0"). All DNP students, regardless of specialized track, will begin coursework as a cohort in Autumn Quarter of year 1. Core DNP curriculum will be completed in sequence for the first year of the program, moving into the specialized track in the second year.
In addition to the in-class academic coursework, students (except those in the Community Health Nursing track) will spend approximately 30 hours learning physical examination skills in our Center for Excellence in Nursing Education (Learning Lab). Depending on the specialty track chosen within the DNP program, students practice advanced skills using mannequins, task-training devices and simulated patients to practice techniques before performing them in a clinical setting.
Students who accept offers of admission are assigned an advisor who provides guidance and help answering questions until a supervisory committee chair is selected in year 3 of the program. The average length of time to complete the DNP program is 3 years of full-time study (1-2 years for post-master’s students not seeking training in a new area of practice).
Multifaceted Learning Methods
DNP students seeking new or additional advanced practice certification complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinically-focused learning (post-master’s students not seeking a new track may include clinical hours previously completed during their master’s degree in this total).
Clinical rotations for students in nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist tracks are one-on-one with a licensed healthcare provider in a variety of locations, from major hospitals to small private practice clinics. DNP students in the Community Health Nursing track will gain experience in government agencies, community-based organizations, and volunteer health agencies. All clinical rotations are coordinated by faculty within the specialized track and are tailored to give student a well-rounded skillset.
DNP study includes:
- Over 300 hours of in-class lecture with nationally-recognized faculty, fostering a collaborative learning environment
- Students in nurse practitioner or clinical specialist tracks engage in clinical simulation exercises in our Learning Lab (hours and quarters vary by track)
- A minimum of 1,000 hours of clinically-focused learning for students seeking a new specialty track
- A final Capstone project
With the new DNP curriculum, we will spend the next 2 academic years developing the Capstone project requirements. Please check our website for more information as it develops.
DNP Graduates in the Field
DNP graduates provide leadership roles in federal, state and local agencies, as well as non-profit and private organizations:
- Faculty at a major university school of nursing
- Rural clinic APRN, whose role includes translating evidence into practice initiatives
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for a non-profit community mental health center
- Post-doctoral fellow for a Department of Psychiatry, and an owner of a private psychiatric/mental health practice with prescriptive authority
- Area manager at a local public health department
- Program director at a statewide nursing workforce organization
- Assistant manager at a multi-site community health center