UAMS College of Nursing Dean Lorraine Frazier (left), Ph.D., R.N., says the new DNP program will make an immediate impact on health care in Arkansas.
Nov. 9, 2012 | The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Nursing will begin offering a doctorate of nursing practice (D.N.P.) degree in fall 2013 to help meet the state’s growing health care demand.
The new D.N.P. program, approved Oct. 26 by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will be for advanced practice nurses and will prepare students with expert training in the delivery, management and care of patients. The D.N.P. is the second of two doctorate degrees UAMS students can earn, The college already offers the traditional Ph.D. in nursing.
“This is something we’ve been working on for nearly seven years and now have all of the faculty and curriculum ready to go,” said Lorraine Frazier, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing. “We expect this program to immediately begin making an impact on the health care landscape across the state.”
Along with advanced patient care components, the D.N.P. prepares students in leadership, health care policy, research and evidence-based practice measures.
“That’s perhaps the most exciting part,” Frazier said. “We expect that our D.N.P. graduates will immediately step into roles where they can impact change from a policy and leadership standpoint, which is an appropriate role for these UAMS graduates.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 500,000 Arkansans reside in areas with a shortage of primary care professionals.
“Our health care system is transforming to increasingly reward providers for quality, and prevention of avoidable complications, mortality and readmissions. The skills acquired in a D.N.P. program will enable organizations large and small to not only survive, but thrive in the new health care atmosphere,” said Matthew V. Hadley, R.N., D.N.P., clinical assistant professor in the UAMS College of Nursing. “There has been a tremendous need for Arkansas to rapidly develop and implement a D.N.P. program to meet these needs, and now we will swiftly move toward that.”
Hadley said UAMS conducted a survey of working nurses asking, “How strong is your interest in pursuing the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Arkansas?” More than 500 responded with positive interest, with nearly 150 of them having definite plans to enter a D.N.P. program.
Frazier said a major benefit of the program is that it will reach working students in every corner of the state via its online capabilities and through the UAMS Area Health Education Centers.
“An added bonus to that is the students don’t have to come to Little Rock for school and get situated,” Frazier said. “Our D.N.P. program will allow the students to continue working where they are as a nurse practitioner while earning the D.N.P. and then put those new skills to use in those parts of the state where it’s needed most.”