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Our Curriculum

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Wake Forest School of Medicine is a part-time, two-year, online program. Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits: 27 credits in the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and three elective credits in the Wake Forest University School of Law.

Online Learning

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is designed with the working professional in mind. The majority of interaction is performed through our easy-to-use online learning management system which gives you access to classmates and faculty, the Coy Carpenter Library and other resources  any time of day and wherever you have internet access. 

Online learning, a key component of the curriculum, is both independent and collaborative. It includes question-and-answer discussions, online group work, web conferencing and recorded and live video instruction. There are four on-site sessions held over three days, including orientation. Attendance is required at these sessions.

Program Courses

  • Applied Conceptual Models, Quality and Safety (2)
  • Foundations of Research Analysis (2)
  • Healthcare Policy, Advocacy and Ethics (3)
  • Informatics and Data Driven Healthcare (3)
  • Wake Forest Graduate Healthcare Law Elective (3)
  • Leadership and Interprofessional Collaboration (3)
  • Healthcare Management, Finance, and Law (3)
  • Translating Research into Practice (3)
  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology (2)
  • Doctoral Study (6)  

Wake Forest Law Elective Courses include: 

  • Bioethics and Law (1.5)
  • Telemedicine (1.5)
  • Paying for Health Care (3) 
  • Health Care Compliance (1.5)
  • The Provider-Patient Relationship (1.5) 
  • Detecting Wrongdoing with Investigations, Monitoring and Audits (3) 
  • Cyber Security (3)

Download the DNP Plan of Study and Curriculum Overview Guide for more detailed information on courses.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I pay for this? 
The curriculum is laid out to foster at least half-time enrollment (at least 4 credits/semester). This enrollment preserves the ability to maintain family and career responsibilities, while also being eligible for federal financial aid. Most students pay for tuition from personal savings or with educational loans.  

Will I need to purchase a computer and software to complete this program? 
You will receive a new laptop at orientation pre-installed with all the software you need to complete the program, including access to the full Office 365 online suite. This means you can work on a paper or presentation without having to purchase a full-version of Microsoft Office. You will have full access to One Drive for Business with 1 TB of space to save everything you need while you are a student in the DNP program. You can also download a full copy of the latest version of Microsoft Office on up to five devices, absolutely free. 

Do I need to be a computer genius to participate in this program? 
No. Our online learning management system places everything you need to complete a course in one place. Your onsite orientation will provide you with help on navigating the course materials, how to post discussions, view your calendar, view live and recorded lectures, work in groups with classmates, and other things you’ll need to do. The bulk of the program will be the nursing knowledge that you bring and that you acquire; the computer is just the interface we use to bring students and faculty together.  

What does it mean to study nursing in a medical school? 
One of AACN’s eight essential elements of doctoral education is interprofessional collaboration. It is well-known that many medical errors occur because of poor communication and poor coordination of care. Our nursing department is situated in the School of Medicine to provide our students with a unique learning environment, where they have more opportunities to communicate and collaborate with the physicians who will become their health care partners in the future. Our DNP program is administered and taught by professional nursing educators, but in a framework of leveraging the medical model of education, and with unique opportunities for communication and collaboration which should be prominent parts of any DNP program.  

What is the time commitment? 
The credit load can be used to estimate the time commitment. Each credit hour relates to one hour per week of engagement with faculty, and students can expect to spend 2-3 additional hours per credit on reading and other schoolwork. For a 5-credit semester, a student could expect to spend 15-20 hours per week in school-related activities. The advantage of a DNP program is that it is a practice doctorate. Therefore, students can apply their schoolwork to activities in their employed position, and potentially overlap some of the time commitment. For example, if you are a hospital administrator and you are seeking to implement a new patient safety system, you might use that endeavor as your doctoral project.  

Do I need to move to attend the program? 

No. The program was designed for the working professional. On-site class times are limited to four throughout the 2-year program, and are scheduled near weekends to minimize disruption of work schedules. The majority of school work will be done on your own time and place. Our convenient learning management system provides access to your university and your DNP courses wherever you are. You could hold a class discussion or submit a paper while sitting on the beach!  

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Last Updated: 04-06-2018
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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