Thursday, April 9, 2009

Loyola University Chicago Introduces Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing to Welcome Advanced Practice Nursing Students this Fall

MAYWOOD - Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON) will introduce a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program for advanced practice nursing students in the fall semester of 2009.

"Loyola University Chicago recognized the need to create a program that fosters advanced education and prepares our students for the growing demands of this profession," said Mary Klotz Walker, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and professor, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. "DNP graduates will be highly educated and equipped with skills to embrace new challenges at the patient bedside and beyond."

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) proposed this program in 2004. The intent was to develop a viable alternative to the research-focused PhD as a terminal degree in nursing and offer a practice-centered doctorate. 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 Walker. "This program will allow our graduates to pursue aspects of nursing consistent with their practice disciplines."

While PhD nursing programs focus on research, DNP programs will prepare students for the highest level of nursing practice. This includes proficiencies in areas that support clinical practice, such as administration, organizational management and policy. DNP graduates also will be competent in assessing evidence, translating research and implementing practical clinical innovations to change care.

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 25 post-MSN students will begin the DNP program this fall. The program will consist of a blend of online learning and immersion days at Loyola University Health System. A gradual transition of all MSN majors to the DNP program will occur over the next four years, and the majority of MNSON's MSN programs will be replaced with the DNP by 2014.

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About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.