The UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing has received a key accreditation from the Board of Commissioners for the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (D.N.P.), according to a recent press release. The CCNE board’s accreditation, which requires that institutions offering the degree possess four specific accreditation standards. The accreditation for the five-year term for the degree will be applied retroactively effective as of March 23, 2013.
The evaluation process for the accreditation has been underway since March 23-24, 2013, when CCNE evaluators visited the UTHSCSA campus, sac cording to Ilene Decker, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean for academic affairs. The initial visit to the school allowed the evaluators to meet with faculty, students, Nurse Advisory Council members, and partners in the community to determine the school’s viability for the accreditation.
“Site visitors make sure that what we wrote in our D.N.P. Self Study Report is exactly what we are doing. They determine if we are meeting all the standards we set up when we created the degree,” she said. “After meeting with everyone on campus, they reported no compliance concerns with respect to key elements. In other words, we had a perfect visit. This means we have a program that prepares high-quality professionals.”
Gemma Kennedy, Ph.D., R.N., director of the D.N.P. program, pointed out that, as opposed to the new program being a merely academic-focused degree, in fact, the program is a practice-focused doctoral program that “prepares expert nurse clinicians, administrators and executive leaders to improve health and health care outcomes through evidence-based practice in diverse clinical, health care, and academic settings.” The need for such a degree stems from an ever-increasing complexity in the healthcare system, which demands “advanced practice nurses to understand leadership, policy, economics and quality and safety issues; to apply and translate research into practice; and to be leaders of multidisciplinary practice teams.”
The new D.N.P. program at UTHSCSA offers three post-master’s leadership tracks available to students: Nurse Practitioner Leadership, Executive Administrative Management and Public Health Nurse Leader. Completion of the program can take two to three years, depending on the track chosen, with part-time and full-time study options.