New WVU nursing advanced-degree program produces first graduate

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Nursing’s doctor of nursing practice program has just produced its first graduate: Emily Barnes, D.N.P., of Fairmont. Barnes, a clinical instructor in the School of Nursing, also works eight hours each week in the Sleeth Family Medicine Center at WVU as a nurse practitioner.

The online D.N.P. degree program, one of only four in the country, is also celebrating successful accreditation this spring.

 “What we learn in school is quickly outdated. Things are constantly evolving,” Barnes said, explaining that the D.N.P. degree encourages nurses and nurse practitioners to incorporate evidence-based practices into their work with patients.

“The area of patient care I really like the best is health promotion and patient education – giving people the information they need to make healthy choices in their lives,” she said.

Emily Barnes, School of Nursing's first D.N.P. graduate

Barnes carried out a major research project involving obesity, building on studies showing that primary care practices don’t do a good job recommending to overweight patients that they diet and exercise.

She reviewed 100 patient files at the Family Medicine Center, determining that none of the patients were measured for BMI (body mass index) or were given diet-and-exercise treatment plans. She then shared information about National Institute of Health guidelines with the medical staff, and they began to do a better job, she said.

Barnes, who is expecting her third child in May, plans to keep teaching at the School of Nursing and seeing patients at the Family Medicine Center.
The master’s program in the School of Nursing, also an online program, recently was named one of the best graduate schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

For information on the WVU School of Nursing’s academic programs see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/son/academicPrograms/index_programs.htm.



For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
AB: 5-6-09

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