Doctor of Nursing Practice

The WVU School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program prepares nurses to practice at the highest level of professional nursing. Graduates of the DNP program advance the application of nursing knowledge through the translation and implementation of evidence for practice to improve health outcomes for diverse populations. This expert level practice builds on past advanced practice education, experience, and certification. Program outcomes may be viewed online

The DNP program can be completed in as few as 32 credit hours. Additional clinical and project credits may be required to meet program outcomes. The time to completion of the DNP program varies depending on the length of the DNP project.

The student plan of study for the DNP degree requires 1,000 post-baccalaureate hours of precepted clinical experience. A minimum of 300 precepted clinical hours must be earned at the DNP level. Many traditional advanced practice Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs require 600 hours of precepted clinical practice. Previous precepted master’s level clinical hours, which must be verified, evaluated, and approved by the program director and Associate Dean of Academics, may be included in the required hours to complete the DNP. At least 400 hours must be obtained in this program, though more may be required. For example, if a student shows evidence of 600 hours of precepted clinical practice from his/her MSN program, and the hours are approved, that leaves 400 hours to complete (to equal 1000 post-baccalaureate hours). Students in the program are allotted 180 hours for the DNP project, resulting in 220 hours of immersion (clinical practice) remaining to meet the requirements for the degree.

The program includes implementation of a DNP Project.  According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), doctoral education is distinguished by the completion of a specific project that demonstrates synthesis of the student’s work and lays the groundwork for future clinical scholarly work directed at improving health or organizational outcomes in the area of focus. The DNP curriculum primarily involves mastery of an advanced specialty within nursing practice and methods of practice improvement and change. The DNP Project is used to demonstrate mastery of the DNP curricular content. Guided by faculty and with assistance of a consultant in the area of interest, the DNP Project demonstrates the student’s ability to identify a practice or system-related problem through clinical immersion, to synthesize and critically appraise the evidence related to addressing that practice problem, to negotiate within the system, to implement evidence-based change within an organization, to implement that change, and to systematically measure the results of the practice or system-related change initiative. The DNP Project documents outcomes of the student’s educational experiences and summarizes the student’s growth in knowledge and expertise. The DNP Project experience serves as a foundation for leadership in future scholarly practice within the clinical setting.

Throughout the curriculum, students are guided in the processes of self-development aimed at pursuing excellence in scholarly, clinical, and professional endeavors. Courses are offered via web-based modalities in asynchronous and synchronous formats. The student should communicate with the course coordinator when determining what courses are offered synchronously or asynchronously. Students should assume that they will be assigned to a regular day and time for the course offering unless told otherwise. Class attendance and participation are expectations in the DNP program.

It is a strong University and WVU School of Nursing recommendation that students employed in full-time work should enroll for no more than six hours of doctoral level course work at any time.

DNP Progression Plan

View the DNP progression plan for more information.

Post-MSN to DNP Course Descriptions

NSG 702: Population Health Promotion: 3 credits. (Didactic, Summer only). Prerequisite – None. In-depth study and analysis of clinical prevention and population health for individuals, aggregates, and populations utilizing advanced nursing practice and program evaluation strategies for the promotion of health and prevention of disease across populations.

NSG 704: Health Care Leadership: 3 credits. (Didactic, Fall only). Prerequisite – None. Critical analysis of leadership in an organizational setting, with development of skills needed to enact the leadership role.

NSG 707: Evidence Based Practice Methods: 3 credits. (Didactic, Spring only). Prerequisites – NSG 724. This course provides an overview of research methods, evidence analysis, epidemiologic measures, and systems level evaluation methods for translation of research into practice and the design of interventions to effect practice change in a variety of settings.

NSG 710: Health Care Issues, Policy, and Ethics: 3 credits. (Didactic, Spring only). Prerequisite – None. A foundation for leadership in health policy development, implementation, and evaluation, with a focus on advocacy for nursing, leadership, ethics, finance, and policy/program implementation.

NSG 724: Health Statistics 1: 3 credits. (Didactic, Fall only). This course provides development of statistical knowledge and skills needed for quantitative health research. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, chi square and regression techniques.

NSG 739: Scientific Underpinnings for the DNP Role: 3 credits. (Didactic, Fall only). Prerequisite – None. Integration of theories from nursing, the sciences, and the humanities to build a foundation for preparation of students to fulfill the role of the advanced practice nurse at the highest level of nursing practice.

NSG 745: Clinical Immersion: 1 to 5 credits – Variable and repeatable. (Clinical). Prerequisite – 739. Provides for the mastery of skills relative to the state of the science in a particular area of practice.

NSG 754: Transforming Health Care through Information Technology: 3 credits. (Didactic, Spring only) Prerequisite – None. Utilization of information systems and technology to improve quality, safety, and system outcomes for the improvement and transformation of health care.

NSG 830: DNP Project Development: 2 credits. (Project, Summer only). Prerequisite – NSG 707, NSG 724. NSG 707 may be taken concurrently. This course provides the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student with a framework for developing an evidence-based DNP Project. Types of projects include quality improvement, policy analysis, demonstration, clinical inquiry, translation of evidence-based practice, and program evaluation. The student applies principles of business, finance, economics, and health policy to address the identified problem.

NSG 831: DNP Project Implementation: 1 to 2 credits – Variable and repeatable. (Project). Prerequisite – NSG 830. This course provides the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student with a framework for implementing and evaluating the outcomes of a proposed DNP project. The student will present a project proposal, apply for institutional approval, implement an initiative, and collect and analyze data in preparation for the DNP Project presentation.

NSG 832: DNP Project Presentation: 2 credits. (Project). Prerequisite – NSG 830, NSG 831 (minimum 2 credits). This course requires the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student to present the DNP project. The student will demonstrate mastery of the DNP Essentials and DNP program outcomes through a portfolio, a presentation of the project, and a manuscript describing the project.

State Approvals for Clinical Immersion Placements 

Universities offering distance education must abide by the laws of each state in which students are placed for their clinical immersion experience. There are several states at this time that may not allow WVU nursing students to participate in a clinical immersion experience, and therefore a site placement cannot be guaranteed. A State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) must be in place to allow a WVU nursing student to participate in clinical immersion. Visit WVU Online to determine if your state has been approved for clinical placements.

Information Request

Our Student Services staff will be glad to answer your questions in person, by phone or by e-mail. To learn more about our program, complete the WVU Online information request and someone will be in touch.