The University of Louisville School of Nursing will admit its first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students in August 2016. The move aligns with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) call to increase the level of preparation necessary for advanced practice nursing roles from the master’s degree to the doctoral level.
The DNP prepares nurse leaders to meet changing health care demands. It focuses on developing advanced practice knowledge to improve health outcomes of diverse patient populations. Emphasis is placed on the use and creation of evidenced based care, management of care, leadership in systems and health care organizations, and development and implementation of health policy.
Transitioning to the DNP places nursing on par with other health professions that offer practice doctorates such as pharmacy, psychology, physical therapy, and audiology.
Many factors influenced the change, says UofL School of Nursing Dean Marcia J. Hern, EdD, CNS, RN.
“The AACN cites several reasons, including the rapid expansion of knowledge underlying practice; increased complexity of patient care; and national concerns about the quality of care and patient safety. There also are shortages of nursing leaders who can assess, design, and evaluate care and quality indicators,” she said.
Nurses who hold either a bachelor of science in nursing or a master of science in nursing are eligible to enroll in the program. The BSN-to-DNP option requires three years of full-time study. Concentrations are available in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Family, Neonatal, and Psych-Mental Health. The MSN-to-DNP option requires two years of part-time study and focuses on developing nurse leaders.
The application deadline for UofL’s first cohort of DNP students is March 15, 2016.
Learn more about the DNP curriculum and admission requirements on the School of Nursing website.