Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Adopts Holistic Admission Process to Increase Diversity

DNP Program Adopts Holistic Admission Process to Increase Diversity

10/21 – In an effort to increase diversity in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, a holistic admission process was adopted in 2020.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) defines holistic admissions as a balanced approach to admitting students while considering unique experiences, background and future contributions to the profession, alongside traditional metrics. Implementing a holistic review of applicants in nursing education is one way of enhancing diversity among enrolled undergraduate and graduate students and contributes to inclusive learning environment.

Following this holistic process, DNP Coordinator Dr. Kelly Laham and Associate Professor Dr. Paula Reid developed a DNP Mentoring Program for students to offer support outside the classroom as students navigate graduate school and a new nursing role. Drs. Laham and Reid attended a national mentoring conference to learn from experts in the field. There they met a nationally renowned mentoring expert who was a former faculty at UNCW and now at Campbell University. This meeting led to a year-long collaboration to develop a personalized mentoring program for DNP students based on surveys from the first-year students and input from the expert and DNP faculty.

In September, the program launched with eight volunteer faculty mentors and eight peer mentors who were in their second year of the program. Mentors and mentees meet monthly to discuss topics related to graduate school, the DNP program and overcoming obstacles. The goals of the program are to develop professional networks to enhance socialization to the discipline and profession and to gain professional knowledge that may accelerate students’ career trajectories.

Additionally, Laham and Reid collaborated with the Center for Workforce Development to create the “DNPMentor” program for second-year students and beyond. This program pairs students with community mentors in the field of study. Dr. Laham said, “It is the hope of all involved in these two programs that DNP students feel supported and encouraged, that retention is improved and that networks are developed to help students as they transition into practice following graduation.”