Background The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree positions nurse practitioners (NPs) and other advanced practice registered nurses, with clinical competencies similar to other disciplines requiring doctoral education (medicine, physical therapy, psychology, and pharmacy). In addition, all these disciplines also offer residencies. However, nursing is the only discipline that does not require a doctoral degree and/or have a systematic approach to residency training for advanced practice roles. The authors posit that there are critical policy issues to resolve within the nursing profession to clarify the role that clinical residencies should play in transition to DNP practice specifically related to NPs. Purpose The purpose of this article was to (a) describe the context of NP residency models within NP curricula that strengthen the DNP Essentials with an emphasis on Essential VIII and a focus on distinctive clinical specialization, (b) describe the history and policy implications of NP residency programs as well as existing programs that assist transition to practice, and (c) recommend policies for consideration related to DNP NP residencies. Methods Literature on nurse practitioner residencies was reviewed. Discussion While nurse practitioner residencies continue to grow, research is needed regarding outcomes of job satisfaction, clinical competencies, and patient satisfaction. Conclusion The first year of practice for nurse practitioners is a critical period of professional development. It is important to further clarify the need, direction, and program standards. Academically affiliated residencies will facilitate the development and standardization of curricula and competencies to enhance clinical rigor. The partnership between academic units and clinical agencies will pool resources and strengthen nursing in both settings.