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GSU to offer Doctor of Nursing Practice degree

Board of Regents approves classes for Fall 2008

    With approval from the Board of Regents, Georgia Southern University will offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree beginning in the fall of 2008. The DNP program, offered online through the university’s School of Nursing, is one of only two such degree programs in Georgia.
    “This is a major milestone not only for the School of Nursing and Georgia Southern University, but for the profession within the state and region,” said Fred Whitt, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia Southern University.  “By delivering the program online, students will have access to one of the nation’s top nursing programs at any location with an Internet connection.”
    This is Georgia Southern University’s fifth doctoral degree program. Since being classified a doctoral research university by the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching in 2006, the university has added doctoral degrees in psychology (PsyD) and public health (DrPH), and now in nursing practice (DNP). Two doctor of education degrees (EdD) were first offered in 1995.
    The DNP will prepare graduates to provide the most advanced level of nursing care for individuals and communities, including direct care of individual patients, management of care for individuals and populations, administration of nursing systems, and the development and implementation of health policy. With additional coursework in education, the DNP will also prepare graduates to serve as nurse educators in schools of nursing.
    The DNP program builds on Georgia Southern’s outstanding record in graduate nursing education. The university’s graduate nursing programs have been ranked number 11 in the country by US News and World Report for the past three years. The Family Nurse Practitioner program, which provides the foundation for the DNP, is recognized as a model graduate program by the National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Today, graduate programs in the School of Nursing boast a sustained 100 percent pass rate on certification exams.
    “With the approval of this program, Georgia Southern University takes a leadership role in moving graduate nursing education to a new standard,” said Dr. Jean Bartels, director of the university’s School of Nursing.  “Georgia faces an unprecedented and critical shortage of doctoral-prepared nurses, and the approval of this new degree program could not have come at a better time.”
    In addition to a general statewide and regional shortage of nurses, universities are facing shortages in nursing faculty and advanced nurse practitioners.  The shortage has a negative impact on nursing education and on the healthcare industry in general.
    Interest in Georgia Southern University’s DNP program is already high, with more than 70 prospective students on a waiting list for admission. Prospective students include nurses who currently hold a master’s degree and work as nurse executives, nurse educators, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners.

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