first dnp cohort at uci school of nursing

The first DNP cohort at the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is now the standard for nurse leaders. But not all DNP programs are alike.

Candice Whealon, clinical coordinator of the DNP-FNP program at the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, is devoted to her students’ success in the rigorous program.

Strong instructors, placements

She wants to create strong, capable, innovative leaders. To do that, it’s important to have high-quality instructors and challenging clinical placements.

“I am committed to finding quality placements and am actively creating and growing relationships across the UC system,” she says.

Right now, she’s in the process of creating affiliations with UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara

Candice Whealon clinical coordinator dnp program uci school of nursing

Candice Whealon, clinical coordinator of the DNP Program.

and UCLA. These affiliations ultimately mean that DNP students may be placed at one of the UC hospitals for their clinical rotations.

Whealon isn’t forgetting about the school’s rich community partnerships, either, and wants those to strengthen.

“We’re solidifying and building relationships at the VA in Long Beach. It’s a phenomenal rotation.”

A hybrid-online program

The UCI DNP program is also unique in that it is not strictly online.

“We are hybrid, so we do have labs. We’re still very much available to our students.”

In fact, Whealon pledges to have contact with her students every single week. “It will be a priority. I’ve always been a hands-on manager.”

Whealon also wants strong preceptors, or nurses who help train and guide nursing students.

It’s this kind of rigor and dedication that fosters success: UCI nursing students have a 100% pass rate on their family nurse practitioner board exams since 1996.

Other program benefits

Other benefits of the DNP program at UCI: