The University of Southern Mississippi School of Nursing recently welcomed the first students in a new program designed to take health care practice to a higher level.
Ten full-time students comprise the inaugural class of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Unlike the traditional research-based Ph.D in nursing program, whose focus is on knowledge generation, the DNP model ensures that evidenced-based knowledge makes its way in the health care arena.
Nursing programs nationwide, in response to studies documenting challenges of health care agencies to provide safe environments for patient care, recognized the need to prepare a more highly educated practitioner to direct patient care.
We believe that this program will fulfill a need within the profession for advanced practice nurses who can provide leadership as advanced nurse practitioners, nurse administrators and educators, said Dr. Katherine Nugent, director of the School of Nursing at Southern Miss. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, which is the highest level of educational preparation for advanced practice nurses, provides the scientific knowledge base and leadership skills to contribute to improved health care outcomes through the translation of research into practice.
The Southern Miss School of Nursing and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC) have partnered to grant the DNP degree through a consortium model. Other schools in the consortium Alcorn State University, Delta State University and the Mississippi University for Women will share state resources, such as faculty, and will utilize classes taught by distance learning technology to each university in the consortium. Students will be able to take the core DNP classes at any of the five universities in the consortium and receive the degree from one of the two degree-granting schools Southern Miss and UMC.
I am extremely confident that the DNP nurse will become that vital link that connects all facets of health care in clinical settings, said Dr. Sheila Davis, associate director for Graduate Programs in Nursing at Southern Miss. As an expert in translation of evidence-based knowledge, the DNP will provide invaluable in ensuring that patients receive up-to-date, holistic health care. They know the difference between health care and disease management.
Sonia McClinton, a nurse practitioner from Meridian, Miss., is excited about being a part of the first DNP class.
What a wonderful opportunity to take research utilization and improve the quality of care that we as nurses give to our patients regardless of their ages, economic circumstances and ethnicities, said McClinton.
Added fellow student Danny Lantrip, a nurse practitioner from Columbus, Miss., By offering the DNP degree, Southern Miss is providing nurse practitioners with a valuable tool to use in the pursuit of independent practice in Mississippi.
Members of the inaugural Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) class gathered on August 18 for a reception at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Nursing. Ten students comprise the first class of the new DNP program. (University Communications photo by Van Arnold)
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.