Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Wisconsin

Graduate nurses in Wisconsin and around the nation are preparing to take the profession to a new level. In 2004, the AACN wrapped up a two year task force with the recommendation that doctorate level education become the new standard for nurse practitioners. This move would bring the credential level of the nurse practitioner up to that of other fields like pharmacology and physical therapy. It would help nurses become collaborators and leaders in a fractionalized healthcare system where information gaps led to poor outcomes.

The AACN recommended that the transition be complete by 2015. The ten year time frame was to give colleges time to prepare. In a sense, it’s not as big a leap as one might imagine. One of the AACN’s arguments is that nurse practitioners are already taking programs that are longer and more rigorous than those of their counterparts who are enrolled in other master’s programs. The AANP has voiced strong agreement with this particular argument. There comes a point where it doesn’t make sense to cram more into a master’s program. It is time, instead, to move it up to the doctorate level, thus recognizing nurse practitioners for their expertise and professionalism.

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)
Purdue Global Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees and Postgraduate Certificates in Nursing
Grand Canyon University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Online Nursing Degrees
Liberty University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
Walden University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Online Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Nursing Programs and Certificates

What Does the DNP Program Encompass?

In 2006, the AACN released the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, which detailed the necessary components. DNP candidates study health at the population health level as well as at the individual level. They will gain a foundation in health informatics, research methodologies, and leadership roles. They will also develop advanced competencies in their own specialty area. DNP programs include discussions around legal and ethical issues. Diane Kjervik and Edith Brous, authors of Law and Ethics for Advanced Practice Nursing, note that these studies will help doctorate prepared nurses be leaders in healthcare reform.

DNP programs include 1,000 hours of post-BSN clinical practice, but candidates who enter as master’s level nurse practitioners will have already done about 500. Another requirement is a final project (often termed a capstone). This demonstrates a student’s ability to do translational research — synthesizing existing knowledge and using it to meet the needs of particular populations.

Wisconsin’s educational institutions, both public and private, have risen to the challenge of designing curriculum that meets the accepted standards. The University of Wisconsin, Concordia, and Marquette are all on the AACN DPN program list. There has been a good deal of collaboration between institutions. In a presentation prepared for the UW Board of Regents Meeting in 2007, the four branches of the UW echoed many of the AACN talking points and noted that modern healthcare requires system managers as well as expert clinicians.

The University of Wisconsin now has programs at two locations: Milwaukee and Madison. Milwaukee has chosen to focus on the needs of the urban population and Madison on the needs of rural communities. Eau Claire and Oshkosh have expressed interest in doing a joint DNP program in the future.

Within the general framework espoused by the AACN, there are many program options. Concordia infuses a bit of spirituality, noting that the curriculum is placed within a Christian framework of mind, body, and spirit. Classwork is completed online (except for meetings at the beginning and end of the program). Marquette has the state’s oldest DNP program. The post-baccalaureate option was designed to help student’s achieve a master’s — and certification — along the way to earning a doctorate.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Wisconsin

Explore some of the schools offering Online DNP Programs in Wisconsin.

Concordia University

Contact Information:
PH: 262-243-4306


Marquette University

Contact Information:
PH: 414-288-3869


University of Wisconsin – Madison

Contact Information:
K6/140, Clinical Sciences Center
600 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53792-2455
PH: 608-263-5258


University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Contact Information:
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201
PH: 414-229-4801


References: Kjervik, Diane and Edith Brous. Law and Ethics for Advanced Practice Nursing. Springer Publishing, 2010.; May, Katharyn et al. “Moving Toward the Doctor of Nursing Practice.” (DNP). 2007.

Back to Top