Aug 302013
 

We are thrilled to welcome an outstanding class to the inaugural Doctor of Nursing Practice program to the College of Nursing at East Carolina University!  Our first class includes clinical leaders from a variety of areas and advanced practice registered nurse roles.

The DNP degree is a practice-focused terminal degree earned by specialists in advanced nursing practice. The DNP focuses on developing nursing experts in translating and applying research findings in clinical practice. The post-master’s DNP curriculum expands the competencies of the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) from the master’s level to encompass knowledge required as nurse leaders in increasingly complex healthcare systems to assess published evidence informing practice, improve systems of care to improve healthcare outcomes, and to make changes to enhance the quality of care. Graduates of the DNP program will provide nursing leadership to inform clinical practice, evaluate and improve health care delivery systems, improve health care outcomes and effect positive change for the citizens of eastern North Carolina and beyond.

Twenty-one students were accepted to the first class. The majority of students were from eastern North Carolina (56 percent).  The remaining students were from central N.C. (29 percent) and western N.C. (15 percent).  The majority of students enrolled in the part-time program of study (57 percent).  Of those admitted, 14 percent were male and 15 percent were identified as ethnic minorities.

When broken down by APRN role, the majority admitted were nurse practitioners (90 percent), certified nurse midwives (5 percent), certified registered nurse anesthetist(5 percent) and one applicant dually certified as adult nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist (5 percent). The inaugural cohort brings a rich diversity of clinical, policy and interprofessional expertise that will enrich the shared experiences of peer to peer learning. One of the students shared “…I could have applied to any DNP program, but ECU has a reputation and history of excellence…I wanted to go someplace for my DNP where things are done right.”

The new program supports the mission of our college to serve as a national model for transforming the health of rural underserved regions through excellence and innovation in nursing education, leadership, research, scholarship, and practice. Our college has a long history of preparing excellent advanced practice nurses and is a nationally recognized leader in online education, having been named in the nation’s top 10 masters or doctorate of nursing practice programs in the country in the 2013 U.S. News and World Report.

Building on this history of excellence, the DNP program is offered in a distance education format with requirements for four executive on-campus sessions in September, February, June, September. The inaugural cohort will be on campus Sept. 9-11. 

The DNP program emphasizes and extends the interprofessional work of a number of existing programs of research, community engagement, and service at ECU (East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute, the East Carolina Heart Institute, the ECU Center for Health Disparities Research and the Bariatric Nursing Consortium) as opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty involved in research and community engagement.

Additionally, the DNP program addresses specific priority outreach initiatives identified by ECU including the military population and the needs of vulnerable populations in this region.

Welcome to our first class!  We look forward to working with you over the time ahead as you transition into Pirate nursing leaders who will transform the health of eastern North Carolina and beyond!

Bobby Lowery, PhD, FNP-BC
Assistant Professor
Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
College of Nursing
3131 Health Sciences Building
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Office PH:  252-744-6363
Email:  Lowerybo@ecu.edu

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