Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The Duke University School of Nursing is proud to be the first school in North Carolina to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The inaugural class entered in Fall 2008. The DNP Program is designed for nurses in advanced specialty practice who have an earned master’s degree in nursing or a health-related profession and for nurses with an earned bachelor of science in nursing who want to pursue the DNP while completing an advanced practice major.

The Duke DNP is a practice doctorate, which provides students with the skills and tools necessary to assess the evidence gained through nursing research, evaluate the impact of that research on their practice, and, as necessary, make changes to enhance quality of care. As nursing leaders in interdisciplinary health care teams, graduates of the Duke Doctor of Nursing Practice Program work to improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality, and safety.

The curriculum is based on American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) guidelines and focuses on translation of evidence to practice, transformation of health care, health care leadership, and advanced specialty practice. The common thread throughout the curriculum is data-driven, evidence-based work that leads to quality care and patient safety. The program requires a minimum of 74 to 83 credit hours post-BSN or 35 credit hours post-master’s, depending on the advanced practice major selected. Both part-time and full-time students are eligible for the program.

The DNP Program is designed specifically to meet the needs of employed nursing professionals to continue in their jobs while also pursuing this graduate degree.  Students receive rigorous online and distance-based courses in the DNP program. It is expected that students will attend the in-person orientation and on-campus intensives.  Required DNP post-master’s core courses are distance-based with didactic content delivered online and includes a planned  on-campus component one time per semester.

A DNP Project course (for all students) and an advanced practice synthesis (for post-BSN students only) are the integrating courses that bring together the practice and scholarship elements of the doctor of nursing practice degree.

The DNP degree is designed to provide the knowledge required for evidence-based nursing care, systems that promote safety and quality, and outcome measurements for patients, populations, and communities. The DNP builds on master’s degree program content, which prepares graduates for an advanced role (for example, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, health care leadership, informatics). In addition, the DNP Program includes theory and empirical findings from nursing and other disciplines (including the translation of research into practice, use of information systems, system change, leadership and policy).

The School of Nursing also offers a doctorate of nursing practice with specialization in nurse anesthesia (a 36-month full-time program, requiring the completion of 83 credit hours, as well as a nine-credit hours Executive Leadership Specialty).

DNP Program Outcomes

The program outcomes of the DNP program reflect integration and application of the knowledge and skills obtained in the program.

Thus, at the completion of the program, the DNP graduate will be able to:

  • use translational science and analytic methods to develop, identify, implement, and evaluate best practices to improve health care and health care systems.

  • act as a practice scholar to design, direct and evaluate system changes to promote safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable patient-centered care.

  • engage in complex, evidence-based advanced-nursing practice and evaluative approaches to care delivery for individuals, communities and populations.

  • partner with others to develop interactive interprofessional teams that communicate effectively, promote health, reduce risk, enhance patient outcomes and improve complex health care delivery systems.

  • employ strategic leadership skills to influence health policy; implement ethical, cost effective and evidence-based changes in care systems; and advance the profession.

  • translate knowledge into practice and policy to reduce health disparities, encourage cultural sensitivity and promote access to quality care while advocating for social justice and equity locally, nationally and globally.

  • use data analytic methods, information systems and technology to evaluate, integrate and apply knowledge that will improve programs of care, outcomes of care and care systems.

Information about the DNP's degree requirements is available here: program.

Additional information about the degree requirements for the DNP with specialization in nurse anesthesia can be found here: program.

More information about the Executive Leadership specialty track is available here: program.