Feb 122013



“It’s going to be a very competitive program.”

Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing at East Carolina University

Sylvia Brown College of Nursing dean

By Michael Abramowitz

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More nurses soon will be able to serve patients in rural eastern North Carolina at an advanced level now that the necessary training has been made available, education leaders at East Carolina University said Monday.

The university’s College of Nursing received approval Friday from The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors to offer a doctor of nursing practice program beginning this fall. The DNP degree is the highest level of clinical practice education for nurses. Doctor of nursing practice clinicians are experts in applying research findings to clinical practice and improving health care delivery systems, college officials said.

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“We’re very excited about the news,” Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing, said. “It makes us competitive at a national level. There are many DNP programs throughout the country, but they were only offered to students in North Carolina at two private schools, so we were lagging behind the rest of the country.”

UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Greensboro and Winston- Salem State University also received approval on Feb. 8 for doctor of nursing practice programs. UNC Charlotte and Western Carolina University received approval for a shared program. The only other doctor of nursing practice programs offered in the state are at Duke University and Gardner-Webb University, both private schools.

The doctoral program is particularly important to eastern North Carolina, Brown said, now that national health care reform is under way and bringing more people under the care umbrella.

“We will be seeing more and more use of clinical nurse practitioners here now” Brown said. “There is a physician shortage as well, so we’re all trying to work together to improve our citizens’ health. This program will give us the opportunity to have more advanced nurses well prepared for providing primary health care.”

The national move toward doctor of nursing practice programs is in response to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Institute of Medicine calling for nurses to achieve higher education levels to meet changing health care needs.

ECU’s coursework will all be online, and clinical practice sites will include primary care clinics, hospitals and public health care agencies. Students will be required to attend skills sessions several times a year.

ECU prepares the most advanced practice nurses in North Carolina and is nationally recognized as a leader in online graduate nursing education. U.S. News & World Report in January ranked ECU’s College of Nursing 10th out of 72 master’s or doctorate of nursing practice programs in the country.

The initial DNP student program is for master’s-prepared advanced practice nurses. The program will be available to registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees in fall 2014, Brown said.

“It’s going to be a very competitive program,” Brown said. “We’ve already had a flurry of emails from potential students since we announced the program’s approval, and our waiting list had already begun when people learned we were applying for it.”

Prospective students may contact Dr. Bobby Lowery, director of DNP implementation, for application information at lowerybo@ecu.edu.

The ECU Division of Health Sciences comprises the Brody School of Medicine, the colleges of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, the School of Dental Medicine, the East Carolina Heart Institute and Laupus Library.

The medical school is affiliated with Vidant Health in Greenville.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9571.

via The Daily Reflector.


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