Academic journal article ABNF Journal

The Coppin State University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

The Coppin State University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

Article excerpt

The Coppin State University (CSU) School of Nursing had a vision for a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP program. The identification that the need existed for the DNP program was the impetus for the development of such a program, and a foundational principle and belief of the faculty. Inherent in the CSU mission and philosophy is a focus on empowering individuals and preparing graduates of such programs with education, so that they are able to provide an optimal level of health care to individuals, particularly among underserved populations. The DNP program development was identified as an integral component of the School of Nursing Strategic Plan.

The development of a doctoral nursing program began with a single step in the academic journey. The process is dependent on the policies and procedures already in place within the academic institution and the academic governing agencies of the state of Maryland.

The DNP program was developed in response to the October 2004 endorsement of the AACN Position Statement, which recognizes the DNP as the appropriate credential for all advanced nursing practice roles by 2015 (AACN, 2004a) . The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is a vital academic endeavor that will assist in increasing the number of doctoral prepared nurse practitioners in Maryland and other areas. The program will assist in fulfilling a strong local, regional, and national need for doctoral prepared advanced practice nurses. According to the United States Census Bureau, the nation's minority population constitutes 37 percent of the U.S. Population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). There is a strong relationship between a culturally diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide quality, culturally competent patient care (AACN, 2014). Increasing the numbers of doctoral prepared advanced practice nurses that mirror the patient population is critical and more has to be done to make certain adequate representation becomes a reality. The DNP program focuses on population health care needs. Graduates of the program will be prepared to implement policies, practices and initiatives to improve health outcomes for urban individuals, families, and communities.

Paradigmatic Influences on Program Development

A major paradigm shift has occurred in the education of Nurse Practitioners. A pivotal force for the change was the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's (AACN) decision to adopt the goal that preparation for specialization in nursing should occur at the doctoral level by 2015. AACN (2004a) developed this position after an intensive study of the health care system with the findings and recommendations of many national groups.

A report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Health Professions Education cited the importance of advanced education for nurses. The report in part, emphasized that organizations should develop operating principles that promote a vision to be achieved that, "All health professionals should be educated to deliver patient-centered care as members of an interdisciplinary team, emphasizing evidence-based practice, quality improvement approaches, and informatics (IOM, 2003, p. 3)." The IOM Report (2010) called for the doubling of nurses with a doctorate by 2020. The CSU DNP program addresses the IOM report recommendations that nursing education should serve as a platform for continued lifelong learning and should include opportunities for seamless transition to higher degree programs. Coppin State University Helene Fuld School of Nursing plans to offer the baccalaureate to DNP program option within 3 years after the beginning of the DNP Post Master's program.

The DNP program will prepare expert practitioners who can also serve as clinical faculty. This will aid in increasing the number of nursing faculty, which is declining annually. According to a Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions (AACN, 2009), a total of 803 faculty vacancies were identified in 554 nursing schools with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs across the country. …

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