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Elevate the nursing profession—and your career—with Walden’s online DNP program.

As a nurse dedicated to your patients and the field, you want to play a bigger role in healthcare’s transformation. Turn your passion into impact with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Walden. An online DNP program prepares nurses to influence patient outcomes through top-level positions—from administrative and managerial roles to academics and beyond. You can feel confident in a post-master’s DNP program that’s accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Relevant Curriculum

This online DNP program emphasizes the topics that matter most to nurses today, such as evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership.

Faculty with real-world industry insights

100% of DNP didactic faculty are doctorally prepared with practical nursing experience in a variety of settings and patient populations.

Social Impact

Walden’s learning model focuses on empowering students to solve social problems and better the world.

skip the residency

The only traveling you have to do is to your local practicum site. Our field education coordinators can even help you find the ideal preceptor and clinical site for you.

DNP Project Support

Prepare for your final doctoral project with an optional writing intensive. Choose a topic that interests you. Begin working on your DNP project with your committee chair early in the program.

Saving Opportunities

You may be eligible to transfer up to 424 practicum hours from your master’s degree program, shortening your path to degree completion and lowering your tuition costs.

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Receive a $7,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 30, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Curriculum

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Foundation course (1 cr.)
  • Core courses (46 cr.)
  • Field experience (up to 6 cr., for students with fewer than 500 documented clinical hours)
  • Completion of DNP project
    • DNP Project Mentoring course (0 cr.)
    • DNP Project Completion course (3 qtr. cr. per term until completion; taken concurrently with program courses beginning with NURS 8110 through the practicum courses as needed NURS 8410, NURS 8400, NURS 8500, and NURS 8510)

Walden students have up to eight years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

Please refer to Walden’s catalog for more information about degree requirements.

This represents the minimum credit requirement for program completion. The number of credits for completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits

DOCTORAL WRITING ASSESSMENT

DRWA 8880

Doctoral Writing Assessment

This course is part of Walden's commitment to help prepare students to meet the university's expectations for writing in courses at the doctoral level. In this course, students write a short academic essay that will be scored by a team of writing assessors. Based on the essay score, students will complete or be exempted from additional required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required assessment course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it at the beginning of their doctoral program.

(0 cr.)

FOUNDATION COURSE

NURS 8000

Foundations and Essentials of Doctoral Study in Nursing

Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and are provided with a foundation for professional development in doctoral nursing practice. Students learn professional standards and end-of-program expectations, and they explore the role of the scholar-practitioner as one who effects positive social change. They engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students also explore the essentials of being a Walden doctoral student, relevant professional and specialty standards of doctoral-level nursing, intra- and interprofessional collaboration, and the process of the DNP scholarly project.

(1 cr.)

CORE COURSES

NURS 8700

DNP Project Mentoring

The purpose of this course is to serve as a platform for ongoing communication between students and their DNP Project Committee chairs and a repository for drafts and documentation related to the DNP project. Students will be assigned to sections of NURS 8700 based on their DNP Project Committee chair, which will support communication between students who are working on their DNP projects with common faculty chairs in an ongoing collaborative learning community.

(0 cr.)
NURS 8110

Theoretical and Scientific Foundations for Nursing

In this course, students focus on the integration of scientific, philosophical, and theoretical concepts as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice. They examine the scientific underpinnings for nursing practice, including biobehavioral, pathophysiological, psychosocial, and environmental sciences, and they explore the interrelationship among knowledge, research, and practice. Students also explore and discuss clinical inquiry, ethical issues, and models of evidence-based practice. Considering various philosophies, students describe their own philosophy of nursing. They also apply course concepts to a variety of practical assignments, including a literature review, concept map, and evaluation of current clinical practice problems, among others. 

(5 cr.)
NURS 8200

Methods for Evidence-Based Practice

Students in this course focus on the integration of scientific, philosophical, and theoretical concepts as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice. The scientific underpinnings for nursing practice including biobehavioral, pathophysiological, psychosocial, and environmental sciences are examined. The interrelationship among knowledge, research, and practice is explored. Clinical inquiry, ethical issues, and models of evidence-based practice are presented.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8210

Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Technology

When used effectively, information technology can support generation of new knowledge and emerging information technologies. In this course, students examine the critical appraisal and use of information technology in advanced nursing practice. Students work toward gaining the skills and knowledge to process and manage information systems/technology resources in consumer, clinical, and public health settings. Students engage in a variety of discussions and assignments designed to provide practical application of content on topics including retrieval and critical analysis of digital data to support healthcare quality improvement; electronic health records integration and evaluation; and Web-based learning and intervention tools to support and improve patient care. They also explore ethical, regulatory, and legal issues as well as the healthcare standards and principles for selecting and evaluating information systems and patient care technology.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8300

Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement

The focus of this course is on the development of leadership strategies and competencies to support healthcare and organizational quality delivery of care. Emphasis is placed on a systems approach exploring the organizational structures, which impact healthcare quality performance and, ultimately, patient outcomes. Using macro (enterprise-wide) and micro (individual and team performance) perspectives, students examine the leadership roles, which define, develop, and support decisions effecting quality strategies. In this course, students address how key organizational theories, principles, and concepts relate to achieving the effective and efficient delivery of safe healthcare services. Through the development of a quality program initiative, students demonstrate an understanding of the impact an initiative has on organizational structure, its environment, and the system's leadership.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8410

Best Practices in Nursing Specialties

A scholarly inquiry of key concepts in nursing is presented in this course. Students analyze best practices and evolving issues in their nursing areas of practice. They explore advanced specialty practice problems through a guided initial review of literature. Students develop a program or project to address clinical/practice questions under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor. Students generate an evidence-based practice question and develop and implement an intervention within the practicum setting. Students disseminate the project plan and results at the practicum site.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8310

Epidemiology and Population Health

Students in this course are provided with an overview of epidemiologic methodology in the study of the distribution and etiology of disease and health-related conditions in human populations. Students examine important study designs and discuss the strengths and weaknesses inherent in each. They explore and discuss select global problems, such as infectious diseases, bioterrorism attacks, and effects of disasters and emergencies, and they apply epidemiologic and biostatistical methods to study factors related to aggregate, population, and individual health. Additionally, students work toward gaining cultural sensitivity and an interprofessional approach to caring for diverse populations at risk to ensure access to care.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8400

Evidence-Based Practice I: Assessment and Design

In this course, 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. They explore and discuss strategic approaches to planning, implementation, and evaluation, including cost-benefit analysis.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8100

Healthcare Policy and Advocacy

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 they 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.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8500

Evidence-Based Practice II: Planning and Implementation

In this DNP practicum course, students focus on planning and implementing an evidence-based practice program/project designed to address their clinical/practice questions; students complete work under the guidance of an approved practicum mentor. Students generate practicum journals and discussion content that drill down to the evidence-based change project related to their clinical/practice question and resulting findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

(3 cr.)
NURS 8510

Evidence-Based Practice III: Implementation, Evaluation, and Dissemination

The focus of this DNP practicum course is on the evaluation of an evidence-based health project relevant to aggregate, systems, or organizational levels of healthcare. In addition, students develop and plan for the dissemination of a scholarly product generated by that project to a wider community of scholar-practitioners. Students work with an approved practicum mentor to generate practicum evidence and complete practicum journal requirements, and the evidence-based project, demonstrating the use of leadership skills and advanced nursing practice knowledge to promote quality improvement, improve health outcomes, and inform healthcare policy. Students in the DNP practicum course are provided with the opportunity to reflect on self-evaluation, professional growth, and postgraduation plans.

(3 cr.)

FIELD EXPERIENCE

NURS 8600

DNP Field Experience

The purpose of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to complete additional practicum hours to fulfill the 1,000-hour requirement of the DNP. Students may take the NURS 8600 - DNP Field Experience course up to six times, based on practicum hours attained prior to DNP admission. Students generate practicum portfolio evidence. In this 1-cr. practicum course, there is a 1:6 ratio of credit to practicum hours, resulting in 72 practicum hours.

(1 cr.)

PROJECT COMPLETION (if necessary)

NURS 8701

DNP Project Completion

The purpose of this course is to serve as a platform for ongoing communication between students and their DNP Project Committee chairs and a repository for drafts and documentation related to the DNP project. Students will be assigned to sections of NURS 8701 based on their DNP Project Committee chair, which will support communication between students who are working on their DNP projects with common faculty chairs in an ongoing collaborative learning community.Students take this course for a minimum of four quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their doctoral project with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval.To complete a doctoral project, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their doctoral project on ProQuest before their degree is conferred.

(3 cr. per term as needed to complete the DNP Project.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

NURS 8700, DNP Project Mentoring (0 credits), is taken concurrently with the core courses. It will serve as a platform for the ongoing collaborative learning communication between students' and their DNP Project Committee chairs and as a repository for drafts and documentation materials related to the DNP Project. Students will be assigned to sections of NURS 8700 based on their DNP Project Committee chair. There is no cost for the course.
The DNP requires a minimum of 1,000 post-BSN practicum hours, with at least 500 hours at the DNP level. Students who need more practicum hours to meet this requirement may take this course for additional credits. Each credit hour is equal to 72 practicum hours to help students reach a total of 1,000 practicum hours.
This additional 3-credit course is only needed if the student has not completed the DNP project by the end of NURS 8510. If needed, students are continuously enrolled in NURS 8701 until completion of their doctoral study with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.
To complete a doctoral project, students must obtain the academic approval their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation/doctoral study process in the DNP Project Overview.

8-Year Maximum Timeframe
In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.
Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements. See the policy in the Walden University Student Handbook. Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe, but an extension is not guaranteed.

Note on Field Experience and Relocating
Students who are considering relocating are advised to contact their Student Success Advisor prior to any decision to relocate in order to determine how relocation may impact progress in their program. Advisors can provide information and guidance on how relocating may result in possible changes, restrictions, and/or additional requirements affecting field experience. Each Board of Nursing and Higher Education Authority governs the field experience rules and regulations in their respective states, and students may be unable to complete field experience in the state in which they plan to relocate. While Walden is committed to working collaboratively with students to secure field sites across the United States, it is imperative that students contact their Student Success Advisor immediately when considering relocating.

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition-Coursework 47-53 quarter credits (coursework credits will vary based on incoming practicum hours)  $850 per quarter hour for coursework credits $39,950-$45,050^
Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project  Up to 78 quarter credits $850 per quarter hour for doctoral study/project credits Up to $66,300
Technology Fee $160 per quarter $960-$5,120*
Estimated Range:     1.5-Year Minimum 8-Year Maximum
:
$40,910
$116,470*+
(assuming completion in a 1.5-year timeframe) (assuming completion in a 8-year timeframe)

These are ranges of what a student can expect in terms of time and tuition cost to complete a degree. It does not include other fees, nor is it adjusted for tuition increases over time. Walden faculty has concluded that generally students who do not complete their program in eight years are unlikely to complete and only allow students to exceed that time frame when a student petitions for an extension and provides good reason for the delay and assurances that obstacles to completion can be overcome. Time is calculated using the time allowed for each semester or unit that the student completes. Students are encouraged to work continuously during the program so as not to extend the time needed to complete the degree as work can become stale and students lose focus. Students who earn two grades of “Unsatisfactory,” who repeatedly drop a course before a semester or unit has been completed, or are unable to complete in the eight year time frame, should expect that they may be dismissed from the program. Walden believes that it is in the best interest of a student who is unable to complete the degree in the stated ranges to strongly consider withdrawal or obtaining a lesser degree.

Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic such as tuition and fee increases and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; writing, research and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and/or individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations; care giving responsibilities or health issues; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; leaves of absence; and/or other personal circumstances.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included. Students may incur additional costs for remedial writing assistance, if necessary.

^This assumes students successfully complete their coursework on the first attempt.

† Based on a 1.5-year minimum completion requirement and an 8-year maximum timeframe as outlined in Walden academic policy.

*Tuition and fees will be higher if students petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe or choose to take more expensive elective courses.

+Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition discounts. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-768-0109.

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Receive a $7,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 30, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

To be considered for this doctoral program, 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. All applicants must submit a completed online application and transcripts. Depending on program specialization, additional requirements may apply. More information for international applicants.

Impact Healthcare at a Higher Level

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that the DNP be the minimum required degree for those seeking a career in advanced practice nursing.2 Earning your doctorate in nursing at Walden can prepare you to lead innovation in an evolving field. Position yourself for advanced practice and leadership roles, mold the next generation of nurses, and promote a more effective, efficient, and affordable healthcare system for all.

Learning Outcomes

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.

What’s the Career Impact of Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice?

Expand Your Possibilities. Inspire Change.

In an era of preventive healthcare and growing patient populations, nurses with advanced degrees are being called upon to do more. According to a report by the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), giving nurses with advanced degrees expanded new roles and opportunities is essential to changing the trajectory of U.S. healthcare delivery.3

An online DNP degree can propel you further in your career and qualify you for opportunities you never imagined. Forge a clear path to top-level roles 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.

What Can I Do With a DNP?

A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can provide greater career mobility, paving the way to roles such as:

  • Chief nursing officer (CNO)
  • Nurse administrator
  • Manager of informatics
  • Nursing policy positions: director of government policy
  • Director/manager of health policy
  • Clinical research director
  • Risk management: RN ethics and compliance officers
  • RN directors and managers in all specialties
  • Safety officers, directors, managers
  • Research and simulation center directors, managers
  • Clinical teaching positions

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this DNP program.

Increase Your Earning Potential

Since top-level roles in healthcare typically come with more responsibilities, earning a DNP degree can potentially lead to a greater salary. Some examples of average salaries include:

  • Chief nursing officer (CNO): $129,5694
  • Clinical research director: $109,3265
  • Nurse administrator: $86,6456
  • Clinical instructor: $89,6127

Testimonials

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FAQ About Walden’s Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program 

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