UB Removes Obstacles to DNP Program for Nurses Near and Far

Offers only DNP program in NYS with direct entry for new BS grads and distance-learning format for post-MS

Release Date: April 26, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo School of Nursing is addressing the need for more registered nurses with advanced degrees by making the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP) more accessible to nurses in Western New York and New York State in three distinct ways.

The school is launching a "Go the Distance at UB!" campaign to advertise their program, which offers both the DNP and PhD via distance learning to RNs with a master's degree.

Nancy Campbell-Heider, PhD, associate professor of nursing and chair and director of the MS/DNP programs, says that the program offers students the opportunity to take classes from their home or workplace as their schedules allow.

"Although we launched the post-MS-to-DNP last fall, we have now completed the implementation of this program as an online offering. It is my understanding that there is no other post-MS-to-DNP program that is completely online in the region or in New York State," says Campbell-Heider.

The second change allows the admission requirement for entrance exams (either GREs or Miller's Analogies) to be waived for post-MS applicants with an MS GPA of 3.5 or greater.

Campbell-Heider says, "The faculty believe that MS graduates who have completed a rigorous specialty program do not need entrance exams to demonstrate capability for graduate study."

Finally, the one-year experience requirement for BS-to-DNP applicants has been removed (except for the nurse anesthesia program at Nurse Anesthetist Program). New BS graduates are now able to enter the program on a part-time basis in the fall semester once they have attained their RN license.

"While working part time on their clinical doctorate, these students will also be asked to work at least part time during their first year of study to gain clinical experience," explains Campbell-Heider.

Marsha Lewis, PhD, dean of the UB School of Nursing, adds, "The American Association of Collegiate Nurses has recommended that the DNP become the new standard for advanced clinical practice in 2015. We see it as our mission not only to offer the DNP as part of our academic curriculum but also to remove as many obstacles as possible for our prospective students who are working and have family commitments."

The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report on the future of nursing supports this initiative. Currently 184 schools are enrolling DNP students, and more than 100 are in the planning stages. This is the direction of advanced practice nursing for the future. The ultimate goal of the DNP is improved patient care outcomes.

"The DNP addresses the demands of our complex health care environment because it provides the highest level of knowledge and practice expertise for advanced practice nurses. It also offers needed competencies for the increasingly complex nurse-leadership role," said Lewis.

For more information about the DNP go to: http://nursing.buffalo.edu/Academics/DoctorofNursingPractice.aspx

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