Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Penn Nursing has been a leader in the science and practice of nursing since 1886. Being at the forefront of advancing science, delivering solutions, and shaping health policy and practice, the goal of the DNP program is developing leaders in practice innovation.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares nursing professionals by providing education in the translation of research, implementation of evidence-based practice, project management, and leadership development.

Programs Overview

Post-Master’s DNP (DNP-PM)

By leveraging clinical nursing knowledge and rigorous scholarship, the Post-Master’s DNP (DNP-PM) cultivates the potential within the advanced practice nurse to lead change within and beyond the discipline of nursing to improve patient outcomes at the individual, organizational and societal levels.

DNP in Executive Leadership (DNP-EL)

The Post-Master’s DNP in Executive Leadership (DNP-EL) program develops master’s-prepared nurses who already have leadership experience with the executive-level skills to lead systems and organizational change.

DNP in Nurse Anesthesia (DNP-NA)

The Post-BSN entry DNP program for Nurse Anesthesia Program (DNP-NA) is designed to prepare graduates for the full scope of nurse anesthesia practice, meeting the essentials for DNP education and additional APRN competencies and standards.

All of Penn Nursing’s programs are accredited. To learn more about the accreditation and pass rates, please visit our Accreditation page.

Program Outcomes

DNP Standards for nursing education are established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. These Essentials outline the foundational competencies that are core to all advanced nursing practice roles. The DNP Essentials (2006) underpin the DNP curriculum that endeavors to prepare leaders to identify and meet the health needs of society. The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is internationally recognized as a leader in educating and preparing the next generation of nurses and healthcare leaders to address these pressing healthcare needs in an ever-changing world with unprecedented complexity. DNP graduates are prepared as practice scholars who integrate evidence and practice while inspiring and leading a culture of inquiry and action in their everyday work. Penn Nursing has developed the DNP program with a specific aim to prepare highly impactful leaders in practice and executive leadership.

At completion of the DNP program, a student will demonstrate the competency to effect advance high-quality, equitable and accessible healthcare by:

  • Developing ways to improve health and healthcare outcomes through translating research, evaluating evidence-based practice, and implementing innovative ideas.
  • Applying project management acumen and data analytics to improve outcomes for patient/family, systems, or community-based care.
  • Disseminating practice knowledge that contributes to nursing and interprofessional scholarship.

Why Our Post-Master's DNP Program?

  • <h4> Michelle Lockett</h4><p><picture class="lw_image lw_image9605 lw_align_left"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg 3x"/> <img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="3200" loading="lazy"/> </picture> Obtaining my terminal degree from Penn Nursing was and has always been my first and only choice. I’ve known I wanted to be a nurse since the 4th grade when my church had a program to expose children of color to health care fields. A prestigious faculty member of color from Penn Nursing came to our church to discuss her career—I was blown away and wanted to be just like her. Diversity work is extremely important, especially in this day and age. We need highly trained nurse leaders to formulate policies, lobby for change and CREATE the change we wish to see in health care and in the world. Penn Nursing is the place to do this. Its facilities are state-of-the-art and there is always something new to learn. As a student and a graduate, there is rarely a closed door.</p><p> –Michelle Lockett, MSN, RN</p>
  • <h4> Cyd Villalba</h4><p><picture class="lw_image lw_image9606 lw_align_left"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x"/> <img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="3200" loading="lazy"/> </picture> I pursued nursing because of its broad opportunities, as I was always interested in multiple and seemingly unrelated things. My Master’s in Nursing Informatics and my focus in analytics as a DNP candidate exemplifies this intersection of interests and the possibilities within the profession…at Penn, the coursework is intense but stimulating, and there’s both encouragement and expectation that this unique opportunity will be used to benefit others.</p><p> –Cyd Villalba, MS, RN-BC, PMP</p>
  • <h4> Tracy Walker</h4><p><picture class="lw_image lw_image9607 lw_align_left"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x"/> <img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="3200" loading="lazy"/> </picture> I remember receiving a call from a faculty member during finals week. I initially thought I must have missed a deadline on an assignment. But my course advisor was just calling to check-in. She wanted to know if I had any issues with the material and reminded me to get rest and eat. This level of support was greatly appreciated and this sense of community, along with a focus on innovation, is one of the best things about Penn  Nursing. It is a very welcoming and inclusive environment; you are treated as a colleague-in-training, surrounded by the best mentors. If you experience challenges, they are framed around your growth process in nursing and faculty are always available to work through the tough moments with students.</p><p> –Tracy Walker, MSN, RN, CPNP-AP/PC</p>
  • <h4> June Treston</h4><p><picture class="lw_image lw_image9608 lw_align_left"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x"/> <img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="2131" loading="lazy"/> </picture> At Penn, the DNP degree is not just a piece of paper.  It represents a wealth of knowledge that will take me to the next level in my career. Coursework is excellent and is taught by top rated professors who are at the forefront of research and innovation in health care.  Faculty are supportive and accessible, with the focus on helping students succeed. Each course has challenged me to think outside the box and has direct applicability to my current role as a clinician, educator, and leader.  If you are interested in learning from the best, to become the best, choose Penn.</p><p> –June Treston, DNP class of 2021</p>

What is the difference between a PhD and a DNP program?

Doctoral programs in the nursing profession primarily fall into two types: research-focused and practice- focused. Most research-focused programs grant the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) and are designed to prepare nurse scientists and scholars to conduct generalizable research using rigorous statistical methods. Practice-focused doctoral programs yield the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP) and are designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. They focus heavily on evidence-based practice that reflects the application of credible research findings. The two types of doctoral programs differ in their goals but are complementary in nature.

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Ater the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, J. Margo Brooks Carthon, the Tyson Family Endowed Term Chair for Gerontological Research, worked on a research study interviewing Black nurse practitioners in the greater Philadelphia area about their efforts to address inequities in care.

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Faculty News

Dr. John Barrett, DNP Faculty, First Nurse Practitioner to Join One-year Certificate Training Program in Advanced Emergency Ultrasonography
Barrett, Johbn

Dr. John Barrett, DNP Faculty, First Nurse Practitioner to Join One-year Certificate Training Program in Advanced Emergency Ultrasonography

Penn Medicine’s Division of Emergency Ultrasound is at the forefront of promoting the use of bedside ultrasound. On July 1st, Dr. John Barrett, senior lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and faculty for the Penn DNP program, made history by becoming the first nurse practitioner to join a one-year certificate training program in advanced emergency ultrasonography. This significant milestone marks the beginning of a new era in ultrasound training.

Program Contact

Director, DNP Programs
Amy M. Sawyer