Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Gardner-Webb University offers three options designed to meet the needs of nurses seeking expanded roles in their profession: Leadership (36 credit hours), Family Nurse Practitioner (79 credit hours), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (81 credit hours). In addition to the three areas of concentrated study, the DNP program offers a post-doctoral certificate option for doctoral-prepared nurses who desire to pursue Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification.

The DNP - Leadership option is a 36-credit-hour course of study designed to expand leadership development for master's-prepared nurses desiring to make significant contributions to improve healthcare outcomes.

The DNP - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) option is a 79-credit-hour course of study designed to prepare nurses to provide primary care for diverse populations across the lifespan within a community setting. A 40-credit-hour post-doctoral certificate for Family Nurse Practitioner is offered for students who have completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree but not the coursework required for certification and practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) option is an 81-credit-hour course of study designed to prepare psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners to provide expert knowledge and skills for promoting and facilitating optimal mental health across the lifespan. A 42-credit-hour post-doctoral certificate for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is offered for students who have completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree but not the coursework required for certification and practice as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Hunt School of Nursing faculty assert that scholarly inquiry and critical analysis are essential tools for evaluating evidence and applying research to improve the quality of healthcare outcomes. The course sequences are designed in cohort model with a scaffolding of courses focused on scholarship, appreciative inquiry, theory, professional role development, and courses in the major area of concentration. All DNP options culminate in an evidence-based DNP Project with potential for meaningful impact on advanced nursing practice.

Admission Requirements

In order to enroll students from a variety of nursing backgrounds with the greatest potential for successfully completing the program, the following program-specific criteria will be used for consideration of admission.

Post-Master's Entry DNP-Leadership Admission Requirements

  1. Current, unrestricted licensure to practice as a Registered Nurse in the United States (verified online by Graduate Admissions);
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.20 on all previous graduate coursework as evidenced by official graduate transcripts;
  3. MSN degree from a regionally accredited institution with a nationally accredited nursing program as evidenced by official graduate transcripts;*
  4. Certifications in practice area (if applicable);
  5. Three letters of recommendation (professional and academic) submitted on provided form;
  6. Current curriculum vitae/résumé;
  7. Written essay addressing goals related to doctoral education in nursing, including description of a practice project interest; and
  8. Current, official, satisfactory Criminal Background Check results from the current state of residence and any other state lived in during the past ten years.

The most highly qualified applicants will be invited to participate in interviews with the Hunt School of Nursing Admissions Committee. Applicant folders must be complete for consideration.

*Applicants with a BSN degree and a master’s degree in a related field will be considered for admission. The BSN degree must be from a regionally accredited institution with a nationally accredited nursing program and the master’s degree must be from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants with a master’s degree in a related field must provide proof of current employment in a nursing specialty area and provide a description of recent work experience. 

Post-Baccalaureate Entry DNP-Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Post-Baccalaureate Entry DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Admission Requirements

Academic History

  1. Baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited institution with a nationally accredited nursing program;
  2. GPA of 3.0 or higher on 4.0 scale on all undergraduate work or last 64 hours of undergraduate or graduate work (applicants who show potential for graduate study but do not meet the 3.0 GPA criteria for full admission may be granted provisional acceptance for GPA of 2.6 or higher on 4.0 scale on all undergraduate work or last 64 hours of undergraduate or graduate work; to meet the stipulations of provisional acceptance, students must earn a “B” or above on the first twelve hours of graduate work completed at Gardner-Webb. If the terms of the provisional acceptance are not successfully met, the student will be dismissed from the program.); and
  3. Official transcripts from all institutions attended;

RN applicants with a baccalaureate degree in another field may be accepted but must meet additional requirements prior to admission. The requirements include completion of an undergraduate or graduate statistics course, BSN-level nursing research course, and BSN-level communication skills in nursing course. A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in each course in order to meet requirements (a grade of “Pass” in a statistics course taken during the Spring 2020 semester will be reviewed for consideration on a case-by-case basis).

Licensure and Experience

  1. Current, unrestricted licensure to practice as a Registered Nurse in the United States;
  2. Updated résumé or curriculum vitae;
  3. Two years of active RN practice with a minimum of 1,100 hours per year. Active RN experience must have taken place within the past three years with a Statement of Description of Work Experience;
  4. Three completed professional references submitted on “Graduate Study Reference” Forms. References may be from past or current professors, supervisors, or professional colleagues. The references should attest to your potential for success in the DNP program, including preparation, initiative, and aptitude, and commitment to the profession; and
  5. Current, official, satisfactory Criminal Background Check results from the current state of residence and any another state lived in during the past ten years

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program will will be prepared to:

  1. Synthesize scientific and theoretical knowledge from nursing and other disciplines to implement best-practice approaches reflective of the highest level of nursing;
  2. Collaborate with institutional, local, state, federal, and/or international leaders to make data-driven decisions to improve healthcare outcomes;
  3. Lead intra- and inter-professional teams to advocate for and implement policies which improve individual and population health;
  4. Engage in leadership to integrate evidence-based clinical prevention and health services for individuals and populations; and
  5. Develop and sustain therapeutic and programmatic interventions and partnerships with patients, populations, and professionals, appropriate to advanced nursing specialization.

Core Module for Students Admitted Prior to Fall 2019

NURS 700Theoretical and Conceptual Foundation for Advanced Nursing Practice

3

NURS 702Nursing Inquiry for Evidence-Based Practice

3

NURS 703Advanced Statistics: Multivariate Analysis

3

NURS 704HealthCare Policy and Economics

3

NURS 705Theoretical Foundation of Nursing Informatics

3

NURS 707Scholarly Teaching and Learning for Nurse Leaders

3

NURS 708Epidemiology and Disease Control

3

NURS 711DNP Project I and II

3 each semester

NURS 712DNP Project III and IV

3 each semester

NURS 715Leadership in Advanced Nursing Practice

3

DNP students progress through the program in a cohort. Course offerings depend on semester of admission.

Core Module for DNP-Leadership Students Admitted Fall 2019 and After (36 hours)

NURS 802Human Flourishing and Health Promotion

3

NURS 804Health Economics, Policy, and Ethics

3

NURS 806Population Health

3

NURS 808Informatics

3

NURS 810Evidence-Based Practice

3

NURS 812Program Planning and Evaluation

3

NURS 814Leadership and Operations Management

3

NURS 816Scholarly Teaching and Learning

3

NURS 850DNP Project I

3

NURS 852DNP Project II

3

NURS 854DNP Project III

3

NURS 856DNP Project IV

3

As-needed Courses

NURS 801Interprofessional Collaboration Practicum - Leadership

3

NURS 818Special Topics in Doctoral Nursing Studies

1-3

NURS 858DNP Project Continuation

3

Core Module for DNP-FNP Students Admitted Fall 2019 and After (79 hours)

NURS 750Advanced Practice Roles

3

NURS 752Pathophysiology

3

NURS 754Pharmacology

3

NURS 756Health Assessment

3

NURS 758Financial Management for APRNs

3

NURS 760Primary Care Management I (Common and Acute)

3

NURS 761Primary Care Management Practicum I

3

NURS 762Primary Care Management II (Reproductive)

3

NURS 763Primary Care Management Practicum II

3

NURS 764Primary Care Diagnostics and Procedures

1

NURS 765Primary Care Management III (Chronic and Complex)

3

NURS 766Primary Care Management Practicum III

3

NURS 767Primary Care Management IV (Pediatrics)

3

NURS 768Primary Care Management Practicum IV

3

NURS 769Primary Care Management Clinical Immersion

4

NURS 770Transition into Practice

1

NURS 800Interprofessional Collaboration Practicum - APRN

1

NURS 802Human Flourishing and Health Promotion

3

NURS 804Health Economics, Policy, and Ethics

3

NURS 806Population Health

3

NURS 808Informatics

3

NURS 810Evidence-Based Practice

3

NURS 812Program Planning and Evaluation

3

NURS 814Leadership and Operations Management

3

NURS 850DNP Project I

3

NURS 852DNP Project II

3

NURS 854DNP Project III

3

NURS 856DNP Project IV

3

As-needed Courses

NURS 818Special Topics in Doctoral Nursing Studies

1-3

NURS 858DNP Project Continuation

3

Core Module for DNP-PMHNP Students Admitted Fall 2019 and After (81 hours)

NURS 750Advanced Practice Roles

3

NURS 752Pathophysiology

3

NURS 754Pharmacology

3

NURS 756Health Assessment

3

NURS 758Financial Management for APRNs

3

NURS 770Transition into Practice

1

NURS 780Psychopharmacology

3

NURS 781Psych Mental Health Management I

3

NURS 782Psych Mental Health Practicum I

3

NURS 783Psych Mental Health Management II

3

NURS 784Psych Mental Health Practicum II

3

NURS 785Psych Mental Health Management III

3

NURS 786Psych Mental Health Practicum III

3

NURS 787Psych Mental Health Management IV

3

NURS 788Psych Mental Health Practicum IV

3

NURS 789PMHNP Management Clinical Immersion

4

NURS 800Interprofessional Collaboration Practicum - APRN

1

NURS 802Human Flourishing and Health Promotion

3

NURS 804Health Economics, Policy, and Ethics

3

NURS 806Population Health

3

NURS 808Informatics

3

NURS 810Evidence-Based Practice

3

NURS 812Program Planning and Evaluation

3

NURS 814Leadership and Operations Management

3

NURS 850DNP Project I

3

NURS 852DNP Project II

3

NURS 854DNP Project III

3

NURS 856DNP Project IV

3

As-needed Courses

NURS 818Special Topics in Doctoral Nursing Studies

1-3

NURS 858DNP Project Continuation

3

Total Credit Hours: 36-81