Earn your online DNP from the leader in doctoral nursing education.1
As a nurse dedicated to your patients and the field, you have the potential to play a larger role in healthcare’s transformation. Turn your passion into positive, tangible impact with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Walden.
Our online DNP program empowers you to turn your ideas for innovative nursing and healthcare practice into reality. You’ll gain the knowledge and confidence necessary to improve patient care delivery, mentor future nurses, and be a voice for patients and families.
A DNP prepares nurses to influence patient outcomes and advance practice through high-level positions—from administrative and managerial roles to academia and beyond. Walden’s DNP degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), with curriculum aligned to the latest standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and National League for Nursing.
Select our Core Program or one of six specializations, including five that prepare you to seek nurse practitioner certifications.
In your DNP project, you’ll build a portfolio by working directly with a local healthcare partner to address a challenge they face.
Explore the complex factors that affect health outcomes and become an advocate for improving healthcare in your community.
Many of our DNP specializations offer a BSN entry point if you’re ready to move your career forward—but don’t have your MSN.
How One Walden Grad Is Serving Disadvantaged Communities in Texas
Dr. Alvin Mena Cantero is a Cuban refugee physician who came to the U.S. and started his educational journey with Walden University. He has been sowing seeds of social change in Houston, Texas, and around the globe.
Enhance your clinical practice leadership skills to help improve nursing practice and delivery of patient care.
Develop greater management expertise and harness your experience to serve as a leader and role model in your organization.
Program Admission Considerations (BSN-DNP track): You must have a current, active RN license, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or equivalent from an accredited school and meet the general admission requirements.
Program Admission Considerations (MSN-DNP track): You must have a current, active RN license, a Master of Science in Nursing or equivalent from an accredited school and meet the general admission requirements.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts.
Impact Patient Care at a Higher Level
Earning your online Doctor of Nursing Practice from Walden can prepare you to lead innovation in an evolving field. Position yourself for advanced clinical nursing and leadership roles, mold the next generation of nurses, and promote a more effective, efficient, and affordable healthcare system for all.
Meet Your Academic Team
Nancy MossProgram Director
With more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Moss is a certified nurse-midwife and family nurse practitioner (FNP). With deep expertise in online learning, she has developed and implemented curricula for various nursing programs, including a university nurse-midwifery program and nurse-midwifery practices for rural communities.
Carolyn SipesCore Faculty
As a professor, Dr. Sipes has more than 35 years of clinical, research, academic, and informatics experience. She is certified as an advanced nurse executive (NEA-BC) and informatics nursing specialist (RN-BC) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
Diane WhiteheadSenior Core Faculty
Dr. Whitehead has been actively teaching and administering associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degree nursing programs for many years. She is a fellow in the Academy of Nursing Education. Dr. Whitehead received the Walden University Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence in 2020.
Graduates of Walden’s online DNP program will be prepared to:
- 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.
- Apply optimal utilization of healthcare information technology across healthcare settings.
- Advocate for the advancement of nursing and healthcare policy through sharing of science-based knowledge with healthcare policy makers.
- Demonstrate leadership to facilitate collaborative teams for improving patient and population health outcomes.
- Utilize advanced nursing practice knowledge to implement methodologies to improve population health outcomes.
- Establish a foundation for lifelong learning for continual elevation of contributions to the field of nursing through active involvement in professional organizations and/or other professional bodies.
Expand Your Possibilities. Inspire Change.
In an era of preventive healthcare and growing patient populations, advanced practice nurses play a vital role in improving patient care and outcomes. According to a report by the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), expanding roles and responsibilities for nurses with advanced degrees is essential to changing the trajectory of U.S. healthcare delivery.2
Earning an online DNP degree is an essential part of gaining greater career mobility and expanding your possibilities. Forge a clear path to new opportunities in administration, management, research, and policymaking. Use your unique educational perspective and experience to empower new nursing professionals to shape a brighter future for the industry.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can academically prepare you for a variety of roles, including:
- Chief nursing officer (CNO)3
- Nurse administrator4
- Clinical director4
- Nursing informatics specialist5
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this DNP program.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can academically prepare you for career opportunities in settings such as:
- Offices of physicians
- Nursing and residential care facilities
- Government agencies
- Outpatient care centers
Increase Your Earning Potential
Since high-level roles in healthcare typically come with more responsibilities, earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can potentially lead to a greater salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median pay for a chief executive in healthcare and social assistance industries is $160,950 per year. However, the salary range for chief executives typically falls between approximately $62,780 and $208,000.6
Salary ranges can vary widely for individuals, depending on prior education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years spent practicing, geographic location, place of employment, and other applicable factors.
The instructors really go out of their way to assist you in succeeding.
Sharon Scott Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Graduate
I have referred friends to Walden. I want them to learn and grow.
James McDaniel MSN Graduate, DNP Student
The skills I gained at Walden have really helped me implement the lung cancer screening program.
Michelle Williams Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Graduate
FAQ About Walden’s Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and prefer an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. A DNP-prepared nurse is seen as a clinical expert and leader, able to translate research into practice to improve systems and patient outcomes. With a DNP, you will have earned the top-level credential you need to become a leader in the healthcare field. Combined with the right experience, your DNP can prepare you for such roles as chief nursing officer at a hospital, director of policy in government, nurse administrator, or other nursing leadership positions.
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the completion of this degree program.
For MSN-educated nurse leaders who strive to work at the peak of their profession, a PhD in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program is the next logical step in their online education and career strategy. Whether they choose to earn a DNP or a PhD in Nursing, there are several reasons nurses decide to pursue a doctoral degree.
- A DNP or a PhD in Nursing can help you find your voice and gain the knowledge and confidence you need to reach your full potential.
- A doctoral degree can help you advance to the top of your profession to make a greater impact in the quality of patient care. A doctorate in nursing also opens the door to career opportunities in advanced leadership roles in administrative, academic, or clinical settings.
- Upon earning a doctorate in nursing, you will be qualified to mentor the next generation of nurses and fill leadership roles as a healthcare policymaker and advocate in a broad spectrum of public and private healthcare settings at the national, regional, state, county, and local levels.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
As a terminal degree for clinical nurses, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is becoming an increasingly valued and sought-after credential. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has encouraged the medical community to make the DNP the expected degree for those who want to become nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Nurses who currently hold an MSN and would like to advance their clinical practice would also benefit from a DNP.
PhD in Nursing
Focused primarily on research, a PhD in Nursing is designed for nurses who want to help guide the future of healthcare. If you want to conduct scientific research at the highest levels in your field, shape healthcare policies as a government policymaker or program director, or educate the next generation of nursing professionals, a PhD in Nursing can give you the advanced expertise you need to succeed. This is a great nursing degree for any nurse who wants to make a difference in healthcare.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) gives you the top-level credential you need to become a leader in the healthcare field. Combined with the right experience, your DNP can prepare you for such roles as chief nursing officer at a hospital, director of policy in government, nurse administrator, nurse educator, or other nursing leadership positions. Additionally, a DNP elevates your career possibilities and increases your opportunity to drive social change in your organization and in the healthcare industry as a whole.
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the completion of this degree program.
Walden’s DNP program is taught by 100% doctorally prepared didactic faculty and designed by industry experts to ensure a high-quality learning experience. Walden’s program offers a team-based, interdisciplinary approach to further prepare you for a leadership position and to meet the demands of the healthcare system. You will receive doctoral support from day one. From writing and research assistance to one-on-one faculty guidance, robust doctoral study support is central to Walden’s DNP program.
Though this is primarily an institutional decision, a position statement from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) advises that a DNP competes favorably with other practice doctorates in faculty tenure and promotion decisions.*
In healthcare, nurses with advanced degrees such as DNPs tend to attract higher salaries than nurses with bachelor’s or master’s degrees. This is due in part to the higher-level positions that can be obtained with a DNP, which are also typically marked by broader responsibilities. These additional tasks often command higher compensation, although the actual salary of a position may differ based on the type of role. For example, according to PayScale, the average salary for a chief nursing officer can range from $92,000 to $201,000.*
*PayScale, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)/Salary (retrieved October 2020)
DNP-prepared nurses are leaders in their field, possessing a blend of clinical, economic, and organizational skills. The degree carries a certain level of influence that puts DNP-prepared nurses in a unique position to evaluate nursing practice, design patient care programs that are economically feasible and locally acceptable, and significantly impact healthcare outcomes.
Walden University’s DNP program’s online classrooms feature state-of-the-art learning technologies, media, and support materials. Students are matched as closely as possible with faculty who have the same area of interest to assist them with their DNP projects. With engaging case studies, a Writing Center, and a robust online library, you will be highly prepared to earn your credentials as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Walden’s program offers a robust support staff that is dedicated to your success, including academic advisors, graduation counselors, and practicum coordinators. Your practicum coordinators can assist you in securing your clinical practice site and help answer any questions.
Our program is developed by industry experts in their areas of practice. One hundred percent of College of Nursing didactic faculty hold doctoral degrees, and our curriculum covers relevant and realistic scenarios to prepare you with the skills you need to succeed.
Yes, Walden’s DNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). In fact, three of Walden’s nursing degree programs are CCNE-accredited: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.
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