WVU Plans New Nursing Doctoral Program

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University School of Nursing is developing a plan to offer a new graduate degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice. The DNP degree will be offered to nurses who want the highest level of preparation for advanced practice nursing.

"The master’s degree was the standard for advanced-practice nurses in the 20th century," said E. Jane Martin, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing. "But national accrediting bodies and the marketplace have been pushing for a doctoral-level program for nurses who provide patient care in an advanced role."

Advanced-practice nurses, including many graduates of the WVU master’s program, serve as family nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners, and neonatal nurse practitioners in hospitals, clinics, and public health programs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has recommended that future graduates continue their education to the doctoral level, in recognition of the practice demands associated with the increasing complexity of medical care and the health care system.

Nan S. Leslie, Ph.D., of the School of Nursing will direct the development of the DNP program.

The WVU program will require approval of both University-level and state-level governing bodies before the degree can be offered. But Dr. Martin said she hopes to have a final proposal ready in time to admit current master’s degree holders to a "bridge" program early in 2007, and open to new students (those already holding a bachelor’s degree in nursing) in 2008.

"There is a great demand for this program among West Virginia nurses, and we do not want them to have to look out of state for this education," she said.

Anyone interested in the program may contact Dr. Leslie at (304) 293-1390 or nleslie@hsc.wvu.edu .

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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