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Wesleyan to Offer Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree; First Doctoral Level Degree for College

Mar 1, 2018

West Virginia Wesleyan College will now offer its first doctoral program in the College’s history. Beginning fall 2018, the School of Nursing will offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, the first doctoral program to be offered by the College. With Wesleyan’s longstanding and successful Master in Nursing (MSN) program, the DNP degree will focus on advancing professional nursing roles, including preparing tomorrow’s nurse leaders to drive reform in the health care system and advocate for the most vulnerable in the population.

“Health care is constantly changing,” said Dr. Susan Leight, director of the School of Nursing and graduate programs. “It is complex. Nurses need to be leaders on the healthcare team who bring expertise in best practices to ensure quality patient outcomes.  To fulfil these roles, nurses must have access to the necessary educational preparation in advanced clinical practice and transformational leadership.”

The DNP program offers an online learning environment with the majority of instruction taking place in a virtual classrooms accessed through web-based pedagogies. Using the camera on their computer, students are linked to the professor and other students in their class for weekly synchronous class time.  Students will come to campus for an occasional intensive residency experience, receiving skill instruction, working one-on-one with program and guest faculty, and having the opportunity to be interact with other students in the program.

“We are fortunate to have several exceptional faculty who are doctorally-prepared and who have experience working with graduate students in nursing,” Leight said. “We enjoy offering web-based classes and believe we can effectively reach students in their home environments using this technology.”

Two points of entry into the program are available. Students can choose to move directly from their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree into the DNP program, or students can complete their MSN and move into the DNP program. Choosing to complete the BSN to DNP track results in a quicker matriculation, however, part- and full-time tracks are available for both options.

The DNP program offers two programs of study: Advanced Nursing Practice and Nursing Leadership. BSN-DNP students in Advanced Nursing Practice can choose from concentrations in Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practitioner, or Nurse-Midwifery. Both the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery concentrations are done in collaboration with our academic partner, Shenandoah University (SU) in Virginia. Students will receive their graduate degrees from Wesleyan and certificates in specialty area of advanced practice from SU. Shenandoah University uses similar teaching/learning methods as Wesleyan.

“Our goal for this program is to graduate exceptional nurse leaders and advanced nurse practitioners,” stated Leight. “West Virginia has so many health-related issues, and we feel it is important that our graduates excel as nurse clinicians and as transformational leaders able to meet the needs of society and provide the best care possible.”  “Wesleyan’s nursing programs provide students with supportive, collegial environments that encourage excellence in scholarship and professional development as well as instilling the importance of service and commitment to others.”

Those interested in the program should submit a graduate application at Other materials required are official transcripts, a current résumé, an unencumbered license to practice nursing, and submission of three letters of professional reference, one of which is from a current supervisor (employment of school-related). Applicants should also submit a 300-500 word statement regarding a topic of interest for a DNP project.

For more information about the Doctor of Nursing Practice or the School of Nursing at Wesleyan, please visit

West Virginia Wesleyan College is accredited by the Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Wesleyan’s School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Shenandoah University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Nurse-Midwifery Program is accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education, and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.