Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing Dean Weighs in on Shift in Nursing Education
MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON) advanced practice nursing students now have access to a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. DNP programs are a developing trend in education that prepare students for the highest level of nursing practice.
âLoyola recognized the need to offer an alternative advanced degree to the research-focused traditional PhD degree,â said Vicki Keough, PhD, RN-Cs, ACNP, CCRN, professor and acting dean, MNSON. âThe DNP program will now cultivate our students to become visionary leaders within the growing health-care arena, to influence health-care at the individual patient, family, community, national and global levels.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) proposed this program in 2004. The organization mandated that all new advanced practice nurse graduates (APNs) must graduate with a DNP degree after 2015. Current APNs will be grandfathered in and will not need a DNP to continue their practice. After 2015, the master of science in nursing (MSN), which has been the standard for approximately 50 years, will no longer be accepted for nurses applying for national certification as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives.
"Nurses increasingly are asked to be nimble as new issues emerge in our ever evolving health care system," said Dean Keough. "This program recognizes these changing needs and allows our students to pursue advanced aspects of nursing to better meet the requirements of our current environment."
The DNP program expands competencies in areas that support clinical practice, such as administration, organizational management and policy. DNP graduates also will become experts in assessing evidence, translating research and implementing practical clinical innovations to change care. Dean Keough recently participated in a panel discussion about the DNP degree at the 2009 Advanced Practice Nurses Midwest Conference in Lombard, Ill. The purpose of the panel was to share key information about the forces driving the DNP degree for nurses, which suggest that nurses need to graduate with the knowledge, skills and credentials that reflect the complexities of their practice. The panelists also provided an overview on the evolution of the DNP degree, the curriculum and the accreditation process for evaluation of these programs.
âDNP leaders will be well-positioned for advancing the practice of nursing as leaders, clinical faculty and practitioners,â said Keough. âThis will ensure high quality care across all settings through the dissemination of evidence-based practice to patients.â
The Niehoff School of Nursing continues to be a leader in APN education across the nation with approximately 45 to 50 APN graduates each year. The first class of post-MSN students began the DNP program this fall. The program consists of a blend of online learning and immersion days at Loyola University Health System.
For more information, please visit http://www.luc.edu/nursing.