Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Program Philosophy

The Nursing Graduate Programs at Walsh University prepare advanced generalist nurses to assume leadership positions in a variety of roles. We believe that it is the responsibility of the faculty to provide an environment that stimulates the learner to think critically, communicate effectively and act compassionately. We hold to the ideal of providing quality care to clients and fulfilling our responsibility as a contributing members of the profession and society.

Program Goals

To provide excellence in nursing education grounded in the human experience.  The Gary and Linda Byers School of Nursing prepares the graduate to practice nursing within the framework of Judeo-Christian values promoting health in diverse communities.

Program Outcomes

The goal of the DNP program is to prepare graduates that are leaders in nursing practice. As a graduate of the DNP program the student will be able to:

  1. Practice at the highest level of clinical nursing by integrating and applying knowledge from the sciences within the fields of organizational management, ethics, health policy, and information technology.
  2. Demonstrate leadership skills in organizational and health systems management to improve the safety and quality of health care
  3. Apply analytical skills and translational science methodologies to practice-focused scholarship
  4. Provide leadership in interdisciplinary collaborative teams to improve health outcomes for individuals, populations, and systems
  5. Utilize strategies of risk reduction, illness prevention, health promotion, and health maintenance for individuals and populations
  6. Develop skill in the analysis and shaping of health care policy that shapes health
  7. Demonstrate skill in the application of ethical decision-making frameworks to resolve ethical dilemmas

Areas of Concentration

Walsh’s DNP curriculum builds on traditional master's programs by providing education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership, among other key areas.  Each student is challenged to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to meet client needs in a variety of health care settings.

Doctorate of Nursing Practice (Post Masters) Academic Guidelines

Admission Requirements

  1. Submission of a completed Walsh application for admission (online) with the $25 application fee.
  2. A current unencumbered Registered Nurse license(s).  Two years of experience as a Registered Nurse is preferred.
  3. Official transcripts documenting a baccalaureate degree in Nursing from a program accredited by a national organization responsible for nursing (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or their equivalent). Transcripts should document a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale on all undergraduate coursework. Transcripts must be in English and credentials evaluated when appropriate.
  4. Completion of a graduate quantitative statistics course (includes measures of central tendency through multiple regression) within the last 5 years and a graduate course in Research.
  5. Applicants must have an earned master's degree. If the applicant is an advanced practice nurse, they must hold or be eligible for national certification in a specialty and supply current advanced practice nursing certification documents. Those with the earned MSN or master's degree in a relevant health care administrative specialty (i.e., MPH, MHA) should include all official transcripts from previously attended college(s)/university(ies).
  6. Two professional letters of recommendation supporting the applicant's potential for success in the DNP program from graduate prepared nurses or faculty members who can address the applicant's potential or ability for functioning in the advanced practice or research role (clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and nursing leadership). Applicants currently enrolled in a nursing program must submit at least one (1) recommendation from a faculty member in that program.
  7. Resume or CV with your application that includes work experience, educational, leadership and professional organization activities, and scholarly activities including publications, presentations, research, honors and awards.
  8. A 3-5 page essay that will serve as the basis for the admission interview with faculty and demonstrate your ability to write in a professional manner. It should address the following areas:
    • Reasons for seeking advanced education in the DNP program at this time in your career
    • Academic and career goals and how the DNP education will help you to realize those goals.
    • Personal and professional attributes that will contribute to your success in the program
    • Specific ways your current role would be enhanced through DNP education
    • An evidence-based issue of interest that could result in a system or policy change and improvement. For example, this may be a practice improvement issue, a clinical management change, or an area of clinical research. Include the significance of the problem, a brief review of literature, and identify stakeholders and/or institutions that could be impacted by the change.
    • The essay should be typed in APA format and will be evaluated on both the quality of writing and the congruence between stated goals and those of the program.
  9. Upon completion of the application,  those who meet the admission criteria will be invited to interview with the Graduate Nursing Admissions Committee.
  10. Confirmation of clinical hours completed in Master's program.

Registration Procedures

Students who are fully admitted to the program may register by one of the following methods:

  • Graduate students may register online via the Walsh University Cavalier Center ( To register online, the student must obtain an alternate PIN from their assigned academic advisor and resolve any holds that may prevent registration.
  • Obtain a form from the website ( Click on "Academics" then "Office of the Registrar" then "Forms" to find the Graduate Registration Form. Download a copy and fax 330-490-7372, mail or present the completed form to the Registrar’s Office (located in Farrell Hall).

Academic Advising

Upon admission to the DNP program, the student is assigned to an initial graduate faculty member who will then work with the student to develop a plan that will allow the student to progress through the program as efficiently as possible. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisors prior to registration each semester to confirm their program plan.  Upon development of the DNP Proposal, students are then assigned to an advisor who will work with them throughout the program on the DNP Scholarly project.

Maintaining Quality and Rigor in the Walsh DNP Program

According to the AACN DNP Roadmap Task Force Report, (October 20, 2006)Quality and rigor in DNP programs requires that the curriculum focuses on "providing leadership for evidence-based practice. This requires competence in translating research in practice, evaluating evidence, applying research in decision-making, and implementing viable clinical innovations to change practice. Considerable emphasis is placed on a population perspective, how to obtain assessment data on populations or cohorts, how to use data to make programmatic decisions, and program evaluation."

The post master’s DNP curriculum is designed to include the higher level and expanded content defined in the DNP Essentials. However, consideration will also be given to the variability that exists in master’s level nursing programs. Therefore, faculty will need to assess each candidate’s previous educational program to determine the unique learning experiences required to meet the end-of-program competencies.

The rigor and academic content of the doctoral degree program is progressively more advanced than the master program as is demonstrated in program learning outcomes and course syllabi, as well as the depth and breadth of assignments found in the courses. In addition, courses are evaluated using a rubric from "Quality Matters" a program intended to provide guidelines for maintaining quality of online courses. At Walsh, the committee that utilizes the rubric is made up of faculty both inside and outside the discipline. Nursing committee members evaluate the courses in the master’s and doctoral program regarding the content and whether the material is appropriate for the level of course.

DNP Scholarly Project Requirements

All Walsh Byers School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students must complete a DNP Scholarly project. The project is a faculty-guided scholarly experience that provides evidence of your critical thinking ability to apply research principles through problem identification, proposal development, implementation, and evaluation of a problem significant to nursing practice.

Prior to starting any project you must complete the Institutional Review Board. Specific links for this training are as follows (all links and information can be found on our website at The project committee requires a minimum of three members. The Project committee chair must be a doctorally prepared faculty member in the Gary and Linda Byers School of Nursing. One committee member must be external to the Gary and Linda Byers School of Nursing. Committee members should have a minimum of a Master’s degree with appropriate expertise in the topic area, e.g. clinical experts, business, or budget experts. Students must submit the names of committee members to their faculty project chairperson for approval then fill out the Project Approval form.

Formal implementation of the project may not begin until IRB approval is obtained from Walsh University and setting of project. In addition, a candidate must also (where/when appropriate) have a completed project approval form on file at Walsh University Gary and Linda Byers School of Nursing office. The project should be written following the American Psychological Association (APA) format and adhere to the most recent edition.

Students will follow the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) DNP Essentials for "Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidenced-Based Practice" www.aacn.nche.ed /DNP/pdf/Essentials.pdf.

Interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches are encouraged.

Detailed information is found in the Graduate Student Handbook, and will be reviewed with the student prior to development of the project.

The DNP program consists of a minimum of 38 credits beyond the master’s-level specialty content. The core and research courses are taken by all students.   After completing the core and research courses, students move into specialty content that will support the completion of the residency practicum and DNP Scholarship project.

Foundation Courses (9 Credit Hours)
NURS 701Nurs Sci Adv Pract:Theor/Found3
NURS 706Hlth Care Policy, Organ/Financ3
NURS 718Health Informatics3
Research Courses (11 Credit Hours)
NURS 702Advanced Nursing Research3
NURS 703Biostatistic for Outcomes Eval3
NURS 705App of Epidemiol to Hlth Serv3
NURS 708Translat Evid to Clinl Pract2
Specialty Content Courses (9 Credit Hours)
NURS 710NursLead Rol/Eth in ComHlthSys3
NURS 715Clinical in Advanced Specialty 13
NURS 721Mgmt for Qual Impr/Hlth Care3
NURS 725Adv Leader in Clin Practice6
Capstone Project Courses
NURS 730Residency Practicum3
NURS 731DNP Scholarly Project4
Total Clinical Hours: 530 1
Total Credit Hours:38-45

Depending on the number of clinical hours that a student had in their master’s degree program, some students may require an additional number of clinical practice hours post masters to reach the minimum number of hours mandated by the AACN for a DNP degree. AACN requires the DNP graduate to have a minimum of 1000 clinical practicum hours post-baccalaureate.