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Vanderbilt School of Nursing Launches Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Apr. 7, 2008, 8:21 AM

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has unveiled its new Doctor in Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree in time for fall 2008 enrollment.

“The nursing discipline is new to initiating this degree option for advanced practice nurses, and we are very excited about moving forward with this new program,” said Linda Norman, D.S.N., R.N., senior associate dean for Academics at the school.

Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing has been working for two years to develop a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program to address the need for advanced practice nurses who can have an impact on the issues facing the health care system. In 2004, the D.N.P. was initiated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) as the highest level of nursing practice and endorsed by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF).

“Doctoral programs in nursing have traditionally been research-focused,” said Donna McArthur, Ph.D., FNP-BC., program director.

“The D.N.P. program is different because it is practice-focused, following in the trajectory of other well-established practice doctorates like psychologists, pharmacists and dentists,” she added.

The curriculum was designed to meet the competencies outlined in The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (AACN, 2006) and will encompass five semesters that blend on-site mentored immersion experiences at the beginning of each semester with online course delivery methods for advanced practice nurses in areas that may be geographically remote and/or for clinicians who want to continue to work while advancing their education.

D.N.P. graduates will be leaders in developing practice innovations, and working as expert clinicians with diverse populations in community and academic settings, thus impacting both nursing and faculty shortages.

“We appreciate the support of the University and the faculty in launching this program, and are pleased that the program has received the final stages of approval,” said Norman.

“We have received hundreds of unsolicited inquiries about the availability of a program like this and know our curriculum will meet an important need.”

Initially, the entry level to the D.N.P. program will be post-Master’s. McArthur anticipates 30 candidates enrolling this fall with the program, growing to admitting 50 students each year within five years.

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 20 schools of Nursing in the country. The School is committed to academic excellence and innovation in nursing education; clinical research, patient care, and advance practice delivery systems for nurses and the entire health care workforce. For more information about the School and the D.N.P. program, visit <> .

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