College of Nursing
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Important Announcement


The College of Nursing has requested permission from the UNC Board of Governors (UNC-BOG) to establish a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.  A decision is anticipated in early 2013, and if approved, the first cohort of students will be admitted to the post-master’s DNP program in the fall of 2013.


The DNP degree is a practice-focused terminal degree earned by specialists in advanced nursing practice; it is defined by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Advanced Practice Nursing (APRN) Consensus Model as follows:
  • certified nurse midwives (CNMs)
  • certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs)
  • clinical nurse specialists (CNSs)
  • nurse practitioners [certified] (NPs)
The DNP focuses on developing experts in translating and applying research findings into clinical practice rather than in generating new knowledge.  

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), “In response to changes in health care delivery and emerging health care needs, additional knowledge or content areas have been identified by practicing nurses. Further, the knowledge required to provide leadership in the discipline of nursing is so complex and rapidly changing that doctoral level education is needed” (AACN, 2004). The DNP prepares graduates to practice at the highest level of advanced practice nursing.

The proposed online post-master’s DNP degree will be a 36-semester-hour (s.h.) program that builds upon the current College of Nursing (CON) master’s level curriculum will be open to all categories of advance practice nursing in the College of Nursing.  Intentional campus requirements and group learning will serve as a foundational component of the DNP program of study.  A minimum of 12 scholarly practicum credit hours divided over 4-5 semesters depending on capstone project complexity. 
 
The DNP curriculum includes advanced study in scientific underpinnings for practice, health care finance, policy, and leadership, as well as patient safety and risk management.  Students will gain greater depth of knowledge regarding policy issues, interdisciplinary models of health care delivery, techniques and models for influencing the health care system, particular problems of rural health populations, clinical scholarship to improve quality and safety, and translational research.   The proposed DNP degree will address the following objectives in delivery of health care to the people of eastern North Carolina:   
  • Improve patient outcomes through enhanced knowledge of nursing research and practice
  • Strengthen nursing practice and health care delivery through enhanced leadership skills
  • Link research and practice through the process of translating research from “bench to bedside
  • Improve the health of citizens through the preparation of practitioners who deliver primary care in rural areas of the state
  • Enhance clinical nursing practice and improve patient outcomes through innovation in the clinical arena
The last year that the CON plans to admit students to the traditional MSN program in the adult-gerontology and family nurse practitioner concentrations is 2013.  The first post-BSN to DNP cohort in the AGNP and FNP foci is planned for the fall of 2014. Other APRN MSN concentrations will be transitioned to the DNP entry level based on the timelines established by their professional associations and accrediting bodies.  
 
For more information on the proposed program, please contact Dr. Bobby Lowery (lowerybo@ecu.edu).