The University of Texas System Board of Regents recently granted the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing approval to offer a new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program, structured to prepare nursing graduates to take on clinical and applied leadership roles in today’s rapidly evolving and increasingly demanding health care industry. Along with a focus on honing advanced clinical and administrative skills, graduates of the DNP will be prepared to effectively translate the latest in nursing research into evidence-based practice.
Alexa Stuifbergen, the dean of the School of Nursing at UT Austin, said the DNP will provide the industry with the health care leaders it needs to continuously expand and meet patient demands, as well as provide other schools of nursing extensively trained and well-learned clinical faculty. She is pleased to announce the School of Nursing has formed its own proficient team of clinical faculty, ready to make the new DNP program a success.
At present, there are over 240 DNP programs offered across the US, with 11 open in the state of Texas. UT Austin’s DNP curriculum is specially designed to meet the needs of a full time nurse, and will be available in a hybrid format in that doctoral students can attend classes on-campus as well as online. The new DNP strengthens the university’s line-up of other programs such as the Ph.D., Pharm.D. and the upcoming M.D.
15 years ago, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) decided that nursing needed a doctoral level, and suggested the establishment of the DNP as a final Nursing degree by 2015. This movement is also in response to the growing amount of new scientific and medical discoveries that would create a larger demand for more clinical career paths, and further expand nurses’ roles. This was then corroborated in 2010 by a report from the Institute of Medicine, titled, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” which projects a doubled demand for doctoral-trained nurses by the year 2020.
While the date for the DNP’s first take-in has yet to be decided on, and is waiting for approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, UT Austin is preparing for a fall 2015 start. The inaugural batch will enroll 12 doctoral students. To learn more about UT Austin’s DNP, contact the program director, Professor Jane Champion through [email protected].