January 17, 2013 12:40:45 PM
Mississippi University for Women's nursing program has long been an asset in the college recruitment game, and now, they have another tool in their arsenal -- a doctorate.
The new doctorate of nursing practice program, the only doctorate program at MUW, enrolled its first students earlier this month. Students can choose between a one-year intensive or two-year part-time program. They must earn between 38 and 44 hours beyond those required for a master's degree, and they will be required to have a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours.
The program comes on the heels of national studies anticipating a mass exodus of retiring nurses between 2015 and 2020. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in conjunction with the Institute of Medicine, has called for the number of nurses with doctorate degrees to double by 2020.
MUW's new program is designed to meet that recommendation and enable nursing students to achieve higher levels of education, College of Nursing Dean Shelia Adams said.
Intensive studies will be offered in advanced diagnostic methods, advanced radiology, pharmacology, medically-oriented anatomy, physiology, patient care delivery and improving patient outcomes.
The program will conclude with a dissertation-type project which the degree candidates will be required to research, implement and publish.
"We wanted to focus on an area of strength for us," Adams said. "This degree will be offered for nurse practitioners to enhance their skills in clinical practice, thereby improving patient care delivery for our state. At the same time, the DNP program will provide the breadth and depth of knowledge required for nursing doctoral practice degrees."
MUW has offered a graduate nursing program since 1975, becoming the first master's degree nurse practitioner program in the state, and was the only one in Mississippi until the late 1990s.
Along with the doctorate and the state-accredited master's degree in nursing, the university's nursing department also offers an associate's degree and bachelor's degree in nursing.
Carmen K. Sisson is news editor at The Dispatch.
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