School of Nursing Graduates First Class of DNP Students

School of Nursing Graduates First Class of DNP Students

4/19: In May, the School of Nursing will graduate its first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) class of nine students.

The DNP is a practice doctorate program that focuses on the application of science developed by researchers, with a special focus on evidence-based practice.

DNP Program Coordinator Matt Gallek said the DNP Program is the first practice doctorate for CHHS and will lay the foundation for other practice doctorates within the health sciences. 

“I am very excited to be involved this inaugural class of DNP Students,” Gallek said. “But, I also want to thank all of the faculty who have made this possible. Without strong DNP faculty, we would not have the strong cutting-edge program that we have.”

Gallek worked closely Assistant Professor Tammy Arms to help supervise the graduating class Quality Improvement DNP project, which used evidence-based practice to improve patient and health system outcomes.

The graduates are as follows: Betty Bowen, Cassandra Davis, Joshua Freeman, Chantelle Guthrie, Anna Kirk, Julie Linder, Melinda Miller, Nicole Mock and Nicole Spencer.

We interviewed a few of the students, and they had this to say about the program:

“Pursing my DNP at UNCW has been both a rewarding and challenging experience. I knew I wanted to obtain a clinical practice terminal degree that reflects my commitment to my practice profession now and in the future. I now have more skills, experiences, confidence and preparedness to continue to impact patient outcomes and facilitate evidenced-based practice, quality improvement and leadership at my clinical practice site. I am happy that I chose UNCW. The professors and staff are committed to ensuring the success of all students! I am excited about what my future holds as a DNP graduate!” – Nicole Spencer

“The DNP program provides a foundation for advanced practice nurses to appropriately identify clinical problems, evaluate current literature and promote practice change within clinical settings. As a DNP student, I learned the importance of advocating for change that incorporates evidence-based nursing practice. Participation in UNCW's DNP Program has given me a foundation of knowledge and confidence to positively influence the current health care delivery system.” Chantelle Guthrie

“I was initially hesitant about getting my education through a newly formed program. Early on, I realized that I was in the right place to continue my education. Throughout the entire program I felt connected to faculty and students in spite of the program being distance education. The faculty at UNC Wilmington were supportive in my growth as a student and as a professional. It is evident that faculty truly care about student success! I am extremely proud to be a member of the inaugural graduating DNP class at UNC Wilmington.” - Julie M. Linder

“I have been a nurse since 1991 and nurse practitioner since 2006. I received both my BSN and MSN from UNCW.  My experience as a DNP student at UNCW has further enhanced and solidified all my desires, dreams and aspirations as a nursing mentor, leader, educator and provider.” – Anna Shaw Kirk

“Completing the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program at UNCW enhanced my clinical practice as a nurse practitioner by broadening my knowledge of translating and implementing research into clinical practice.” – Joshua L. Freeman