In a step which is expected to alleviate the national nursing shortage by producing more qualified nursing professors, allowing nursing schools to enroll more students, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has awarded $995,000 to the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing to support its new doctorate of nursing practice program, the 10th of its kind in the nation.
Thanking the Atlanta-based Woodruff Foundation, a private organization, for helping MCG progress advanced-nursing education in the region, Dr. Lucy Marion, dean of the MCG School of Nursing and a leader in the national DNP movement said "We look forward to preparing a critical mass of doctorally prepared nurse clinicians through increased collaboration with other graduate schools of nursing throughout Georgia."
MCG's partner in the initiative, Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, has been awarded $500,000 through the same grant. By offering distance-training options, the partnership will allow Emory faculty to enroll in the doctorate of nursing practice program at MCG. In return, MCG faculty will attend Emory's postgraduate program for clinical educators.
'This partnership provides an example of how the public and private sector can work together to address the severe shortage of qualified nursing faculty and clinicians in Georgia,' said Dr. Marla Salmon, dean and professor of the Emory School of Nursing.
The doctorate of nursing practice focuses on clinical and management expertise necessary to improve outcomes in health care practice, leadership and education. The program encourages nurses to stay in health care practice and contribute to issues faced in the field.
The first cohort of doctorate of nursing practice students, consisting of 13 MCG School of Nursing faculty, began this year. The DNP curriculum includes 40 graduate semester hours over four semesters, covering trends in effective care, methods of care delivery and concepts in evidence-based care.
Before this program was developed, nursing was the only health profession without a practice doctorate, said Dr. Saundra Turner, chair of the MCG Department of Biobehavioral Nursing.
Emory University will offer a 12-credit hour program, the Clinical Educator Certificate, to graduate nursing practice students. The certificate focuses on evidence-based clinical teaching and evaluation techniques, and can be pursued before, during or after the doctorate of nursing practice course of study.
Requirements for the program include a master's degree in nursing or associated program of study related to a specialty area, a graduate school admissions test, current professional nurse licensure and specialty certification as appropriate.