May 30, 2023  
2020-2021 Nursing Student Handbook 
2020-2021 Nursing Student Handbook [FINAL EDITION]

Doctor or Nursing Practice (DNP): Overview, Goals and Nursing Codes

Handbook Preface

This Handbook will provide you with information about the programs of study and the policies and procedures specific to our School of Nursing. It should be used as a supplement to the Widener University Bulletin, Widener University Student Handbook, the School of Nursing Fact Books, and other University Publications. As such, the policies, procedures, regulations, requirements, standard of conduct and other information contained in such other publications are not reprinted herein, but are incorporated by reference herein as if all of the foregoing were set forth at length. All students are obliged to be familiar with and to comply with all of the policies, procedures, regulations, requirements, standards of conduct and other information set forth in such other publications.

The contents of this Handbook provide for the continuing integrity of the programs of study in the School of Nursing, thereby preparing you, the student, for professional roles. The University and the School of Nursing reserve the right and authority at any time to alter any of all of the statements contained herein, to modify the requirements for admission and graduation, to change or discontinue programs of study, to amend any regulation or policy affecting the student body, to increase tuition and fees, to deny admission, to revoke an offer of admissions, and to dismiss from the University any student at any time, if it is deemed by the University or the School of Nursing to be in the best interest of the University, the School of Nursing, the university community, or the student to do so. The provisions of this publication are subject to change without notice, and nothing in this publication may be considered as setting forth terms of a contract between a student or prospective student and Widener University.

Goals and Outcomes


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares advanced practice nurses to provide clinical leadership in the delivery of culturally competent, evidence-based, disease state management and/or system-based care. The graduate is also prepared for interprofessional collaboration and outcome management to support the provision of quality and safety in complex health care systems (SON 5/24/11).


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program prepares experts in specialized advanced nursing practice.

  • The graduates of this clinical doctorate degree program will be prepared to function as expert clinicians for roles at the highest levels of clinical competence in either primary family health, adult health, community health, emergency critical care, psychiatric mental health with distinct in-depth knowledge in complex health care systems.
  • The graduates of the DNP program will distinguish themselves by their ability to provide direct care, as well as to conceptualize new delivery models, based in contemporary nursing science, and informed by organizational, political, cultural, and economic tenets.
  • The ultimate goals are improving patient and health care outcomes and reducing health disparities.


Graduates of the doctor of nursing practice program will:

  • Apply nursing science and theory with knowledge from ethics, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences to develop, evaluate, and improve advanced nursing practice (Essential I ACCN, 2006);
  • Apply organizational, political, and economic sciences as well as ethical principles for ongoing improvement of health outcomes within health care systems (Essential II ACCN, 2006);
  • Promote evidence based practice by collaboratively conducting, translating, and disseminating research to guide improvements in nursing practice and outcomes of care (Essential III ACCN, 2006);
  • Evaluate and use information systems and technology, considering ethical and legal implications, to support, improve, and transform health care (Essential IV ACCN, 2006);
  • Assume leadership roles in the analysis and development of health care policies through advocacy, teaching, and active participation in policy making (Essential V ACCN, 2006);
  • Promote collegial and collaborative relationships with inter-professional teams to improve patient and population outcomes (Essential VI ACCN, 2006);
  • Assume leadership roles in evidence-based health promotion and risk reduction/illness prevention practices in response to political, socioeconomic, cultural, and ethical issues in individual, aggregate, and population health (Essential VII ACCN, 2006); and
  • Demonstrate skills in advanced practice roles through the synthesis of biophysical, psychosocial, behavioral, sociopolitical, cultural, economic, and nursing science knowledge as appropriate for area of specialization (Essential VIII ACCN, 2006).

Professional Nursing Practice in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing reserves the right to deny a professional license to any applicant who has been convicted of a felony or any offense related to the use or sale of alcohol or controlled substances in Pennsylvania or any other state. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing with questions pertaining to this policy.

The definition of the practice of professional nursing in Pennsylvania as enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is as follows:

“The ‘Practice of Professional Nursing’ means diagnosing and treating human responses to actual or potential health problems through such services as case finding, health teaching, health counseling, and provision of care supportive to or restorative of life and well-being, and executing medical regimens as prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist. The foregoing shall not be deemed to include acts of medical diagnosis or prescription of medical therapeutic or corrective measures, except as performed by a certified registered nurse practitioner acting in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Board”.



The following statements are taken from the “The Professional Nursing Law” as enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Copies of the Professional Nursing Law can be found in the Dean of the School of Nursing.

Section 4.1 Temporary Practice Permit. - In order for a person to practice professional nursing during the one (1) year period from completion of his or her education program or the one (1) year period from the application for licensure by a person who holds a current license issued by any other state, territory or possession of the United States or the Dominion of Canada, the Board may issue a temporary practice permit which is nonrenewable and valid for a period of one (1) year and during such additional period as the Board may in each case especially permit, except that the temporary practice permit shall expire if such person fails the licensing examination.

Section 6(a). Fees; Qualifications for Licensure. No application for licensure as a registered nurse shall be considered unless accompanied by fee determined by the Board by regulation. Every applicant, to be eligible for examination for licensure as a registered nurse, shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the Board that he or she is of good moral character, has completed work equal to a standard high school course as evaluated by the Board and has satisfactorily completed an approved program of professional nursing. Approved programs shall include baccalaureate degree, associate degree, and diploma nursing programs, and programs in transition from approved diploma – to degree – granting programs when all other requirements have been met.

Section 6 (c). The Board shall not issue a license or certificate to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No. 64), known as the “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act”, or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory or county - unless: (1) at least ten (10) years have elapsed from the date of conviction; (2) the applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the Board that he has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the public or a substantial risk of further criminal violations; and (3) the applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act. (4) As used in this subsection the term “convicted” shall include a judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere. An applicant’s statement on the application declaring the absence of a conviction shall be deemed satisfactory evidence of the absence of a conviction, unless the Board has some evidence to the contrary.

Amended 12/02

Section 14.1. Impaired Professionals Program.

(a) The Board, with the approval of the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs, shall appoint and fix the compensation of a professional consultant who is a licensee of the Board with education and experience in the identification, treatment and rehabilitation of persons with physical or mental impairments. Such consultant shall be accountable to the Board and shall act as a liaison between the Board and treatment programs, such as alcohol and drug treatment programs licensed by the Department of Health, psychological counseling and impaired nurses support groups approved by the Board and which provide services to nursing licensees under this act.

(b) The Board may defer and ultimately dismiss any of the types of corrective action set forth in this act for an impaired professional so long as the licensee is progressing satisfactorily in an approved treatment program, provided that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a licensee who has been convicted of, pleaded guilty to or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as the “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act,” or the conviction of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory or country. An approved program provider shall, upon request, disclose to the consultant such information in its possession regarding an impaired nurse in treatment which the program provider is not prohibited from disclosing by an act of this Commonwealth, another state or the United States. Such requirement of disclosure by an approved program provider shall apply in the case of impaired professionals who enter an agreement in accordance with this section, impaired professionals who are the subject of a Board investigation or disciplinary proceeding and impaired professionals who voluntarily enter a treatment program other than under the provisions of this section but who fail to complete the program successfully or to adhere to an after-care plan developed by the program provider.

(c) An impaired professional who enrolls in an approved treatment program shall enter into an agreement with the Board under which the professional’s license shall be suspended or revoked but enforcement of that suspension or revocation may be stayed for the length of time the professional remains in the program and makes satisfactory progress, complies with the terms of the agreement, and adheres to any limitations on his practice imposed by the Board to protect the public. Failure to enter into such an agreement shall disqualify the professional from the impaired professional program and shall activate an immediate investigation and disciplinary proceeding by the Board.

(d) If, in the opinion of such consultant after consultation with the provider, an impaired professional who is enrolled in an approved treatment program has not progressed satisfactorily, the consultant shall disclose to the Board all information in his or her possession regarding such professional, and the Board shall institute proceedings to determine if the stay of enforcement of the suspension or revocation of the impaired professional’s license shall be vacated.

(e) An approved program provider who makes a disclosure pursuant to this section shall not be subject to civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences.

(f) Any hospital or health care facility, peer or colleague who has substantial evidence that a professional has an active addictive disease for which the professional is not receiving treatment, is diverting a controlled substance or is mentally or physically incompetent to carry out the duties of his license shall make or cause to be made a report to the Board: Provided, that any person or facility who acts in a treatment capacity to impaired professionals in an approved treatment program is exempt from the mandatory reporting requirement of this subsection. Any person or facility who reports pursuant to this section in good faith and without malice shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability arising from such report. Failure to provide such report within a reasonable time from receipt of knowledge of impairment shall subject the person or facility to fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000). The Board shall levy this penalty only after affording the accused party the opportunity for a hearing, as provided in Title 2 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (relating to administrative law and procedure).

Amended 6/02

On June 29, 2006 Governor Ed Rendell signed into law Act 58 of 2006 (SB 235), which requires thirty (30) hours of Board approved mandatory continuing education (CE) during each two-year license period for individuals licensed as registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing has developed CE regulations for the registered nurse.

Please check this website for updated announcements regarding the CE for all RNs. (

The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA), in conjunction with the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), is providing advance notice to all health-related licensees that are considered “mandatory reporters” under section 6311 of the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) (23 P.S. § 6311), as amended, that EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2015, all persons applying for issuance of an initial license shall be required to complete 3 hours of DPW-approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements as a condition of licensure

SDB/DRG/sm:revised 9/06;8/08;9/09

Professional Code for Nurses

  1. The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.
  2. The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community.
  3. The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.
  4. The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse’s obligation to provide optimum patient care.
  5. The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.
  6. The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving healthcare environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action.
  7. The nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development.
  8. The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet health needs.
  9. The profession of nursing, as represented by associations and their members, is responsible for articulating nursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practice, and for shaping social policy.

ANA 2010