Doctor of Nursing Practice

Nurse anesthetists

"I want to express my sincere thanks to the DNP program for preparing me so well to be a clinical nurse leader. I utilize the DNP Essentials daily, and have become the team expert in quality projects. I rave about my superb Villanova DNP education to everyone who will listen!" --Janet Dunn, DNP, CRNP, ACNP-BC,CHFN

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Welcome to the College of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program.  Our DNP program is a practice-focused doctoral program designed to prepare Post Master’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to lead innovation in nursing practice and healthcare.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a full-time program offered in five consecutive semesters designed to meet the needs of the working clinician.  Online synchronous classes are offered two nights a week, Monday through Friday (EST), to accommodate the practicing clinician.  The program begins early summer with an on-campus seminar.  Students meet on-campus one weekend in fall and spring and one week in summer.  Whether you are on campus or at home, the College provides you with a personalized experience – one of the hallmarks of a Villanova Nursing program.

The goal of the DNP program is to prepare APRNs, including Nurse Practitioners, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Certified Nurse-Midwives, with advanced knowledge in evidence-based practice, organizational leadership, and financial acumen to lead innovation in nursing practice and healthcare. The complex issues and changing landscape of healthcare have created a need for APRNs to respond effectively and implement solutions with interdisciplinary teams or independently in order to achieve positive healthcare outcomes for individuals and populations.

About us

The program is driven by Augustinian Catholic values that characterize the mission of the University: the unity of knowledge, the holistic nature of human beings, the importance of community, the discovery of truth and a commitment to addressing the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.

The College of Nursing, established in 1953, has a reputation of excellence and is highly respected for its contribution to graduate education, which commenced in 1980.  Nursing deans, faculty, and leaders in healthcare throughout the United States and abroad are alumni of its programs.

A unique approach: the DNP Project

The emphasis of the DNP program is on broad “systems thinking” in order to facilitate the design and implementation of models of patient care and clinical practice. Each DNP cohort will have a unique theme to direct the DNP Project as it relates to their individual practice environments.  Each student will then use the theme as a foundation for their scholarly DNP Project. The project offers students the opportunity to apply advanced empirical and theoretical knowledge to design, implement, evaluate and intervene in the clinical environment based on the evidence. The DNP Project begins in the first semester of study and extends throughout the program.  It is expected that students will focus on clinical issues and/or organizational systems that promote safe, effective, efficient and accessible care for individuals, groups, or populations. 

The DNP Project should reflect learning from course work and application to clinical practice.  Students will complete a minimum of 500 clinical hours while working on the DNP Project. The final project will be a scholarly, tangible deliverable in the form of a publishable manuscript.  The project will be reviewed by a committee and formally presented at the project’s clinical site and with the broader community.

Outcomes

The DNP program is designed to ensure that the graduates attain the required advanced knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.

Graduates of the DNP program will be able to:

  • Integrate nursing science with advanced levels of systems thinking and accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based practice to improve healthcare quality, safety, and outcomes.
  • Provide leadership in the development and implementation of patient-driven, institutional, local, state, federal and/or global health policy in a select content/specialty area.
  • Use leadership skills to design, direct, implement and execute a scholarly project.
  • Effectively collaborate with nursing and other disciplines in clinical practice.
  • Promote cultural competence in response to the healthcare needs and concerns of society.
  • Provide guidance, mentor and support other nurses to achieve excellence in nursing practice.

About the classes

The DNP is designed as a 32 credit full-time program. Online synchronous classes are offered two nights a week, Monday through Friday (EST), to accommodate the practicing clinician.  The program begins early summer with an on-campus seminar.  Students also meet on-campus one weekend in fall and spring and one week in summer. (Please see the Plan of Study to review list of courses and on campus dates.)

Future Open House Dates

Learn more about the DNP Program by attending an Open House. Future dates are listed here:

Can't make those dates? Start getting to know us by reviewing this site, watching the Information Session below and contacting us to learn more.

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Nurse practitioners and DNP students Latesha Colbert-Mack (left) and Jenny Lynn flank Comcast executive Tina Simmons and DNP Program Director Dr. Debra Shearer at a Nov. 14th advanced practice lecture the students organized at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
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DNP Program Overview with Dr. Debra Shearer

DNP Program Overview

DNP Information Session with Dr. Debra Shearer and DNP Student Matt McCoy

My view

“When exploring doctoral programs, it was important to me to find a program that had an extensive clinical option that would advance my current nursing practice. The D.N.P. Program has already greatly enhanced both my clinical knowledge and leadership skills. By completing its requirements, I am preparing for the future of health care. As a practicing D.N.P. clinician, I will have the opportunity and necessary skills to transform the health-care system.”
—Matthew McCoy ’01 M.S.N., CRNA

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Contact Us

Questions?

Debra Shearer, EdD, MSN, FNP-BC
Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program
610.519.8337 debra.shearer@villanova.edu

Liz Nicastro
DNP Program Assistant
610.519.3040 elizabeth.nicastro@villanova.edu

Doctor of Nursing Practice
Doctor of Nursing Practice Information