Group of nurses having a discussion.

With the passage of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), America’s complex healthcare system began an unprecedented, rapid transformation directed at balancing cost containment with higher-quality patient care. In this rapidly changing environment, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree are in an ideal position to advocate for positive change and spearhead healthcare reform.

Those with a doctorate in nursing have the highest level of nursing knowledge and expertise grounded in the practice setting. Their doctoral training provides them with the qualifications to fill key positions of influence throughout the healthcare system. Their intensive practice-based experience makes them invaluable collaborative partners with top management healthcare reform teams.

How an Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Prepares You to be a Reformer

Walden University is an accredited university with a range of online nursing degree programs, including a multifaceted online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

As an online DNP program graduate, you can gain the expertise needed to:

  • Design, assess, and implement research studies.
  • Translate research findings to direct evidence-based nursing practice.
  • Develop organizational system changes for quality improvement in healthcare delivery in response to local and/or global community needs.
  • Advocate for the advancement of nursing and healthcare policy through sharing of science-based knowledge with healthcare policymakers.
  • Demonstrate leadership to facilitate collaborative, interdisciplinary teams for improving patient and population health outcomes.
  • Implement methodologies to improve population health outcomes.
  • Apply optimal utilization of healthcare information technology across healthcare settings.

A Distinguished Faculty of Nursing Scholar-Practitioners

Walden’s School of Nursing features an eminent faculty of more than 100 doctoral-trained scholars and professionals. Academically and experientially qualified to teach at graduate and undergraduate levels, they blend academic theory with firsthand knowledge to enrich your learning experience and broaden your perspectives on the latest issues and best practices in the field of nursing.

According to a 2014 survey by Advance Healthcare Network, approximately 70% of nurse practitioners with doctoral degrees have a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. DNP nurses earned $113,618, the highest average annual salary among nurse practitioners.*

Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Online Curriculum

Here are a few examples of coursework from Walden’s online DNP program curriculum, which helps prepare graduates for leadership positions in healthcare policy, quality, and advocacy.

Healthcare Policy and Advocacy Course

Many economic, financial, and political factors influence the delivery of healthcare, making healthcare reform a challenging task. In this course, students examine these factors and challenges, and consider policy reform through legal, regulatory, ethical, societal, and organizational contexts. They examine the political and policy process, including agenda setting, stakeholder analysis, and application of policy analysis frameworks. Students also explore the importance of interprofessional collaboration in improving health outcomes through the policy process and advocacy for development and implementation of nursing and healthcare policies in organizations at the local, state, national, and international levels. Students engage in written analyses through which they develop new policies and critically evaluate existing policies though policy analysis frameworks.

Evidence-Based Practice Courses

Under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor, the processes developed with these three practicum research courses are documented in the DNP student’s keystone doctoral study.

  • Evidence-Based Practice I: Assessment and Design
    Students focus on the competencies required of the healthcare professional in planning for the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.
  • Evidence-Based Practice II: Planning and Implementation
    Students focus on planning and implementing a program or project designed to address their clinical or practice questions; students complete work under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor.
  • Evidence-Based Practice III: Project Implementation, Evaluation, and Dissemination
    Students focus on evaluation and dissemination of a program or project design under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor.

Start Advancing Your Career Today!

Earning your nursing degree online with Walden can help prepare you to fill leadership roles as a healthcare policymaker or advocate for reform in a broad spectrum of public and private healthcare settings at the national, regional, state, county, and local levels of healthcare delivery.

Walden University, an accredited institution with online college degree programs, has been serving the higher education needs of adult learners for 45 years. Today, more than 47,800 students from all 50 U.S. states and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or certificates at Walden.

Explore Walden University's online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and change your future faster! Earn your nursing degree in a convenient, flexible online format that fits your life and schedule.


*Advance HealthCare Network for NPs and PAs. 2014 NP & PA Salary by Academic Degree Survey. On the Internet at http://nurse-practitioners-and-physician-assistants.advanceweb.com/SignUp/RegDocFetchFile.aspx?BRID=7A186953388420

Find information on costs, occupation types, completion rates, and median loan debt for this program at www.WaldenU.edu/programdata/dnp.

Walden University’s DNP, MSN, and BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, D.C. 20036, 1-202-887-6791. CCNE is a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate education programs in preparing effective nurses. For students, accreditation signifies program innovation and continuous self-assessment.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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