Regents Approve Doctoral Degree Program in Nursing Practice
Eastern Kentucky University’s second doctoral degree program moved one step closer to reality on Monday, June 7, when its Board of Regents approved a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program, contingent upon approval by the Kentucky Board of Nursing and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
Earlier this year, EKU awarded its first-ever doctoral degree in the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Also at the June 7 meeting, Regents approved the University’s 2010-11 budget.
In anticipation of expanded roles for advanced level practitioners, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has called for the establishment of professional practice doctoral programs for graduate education in nursing by 2015. The Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, separate and distinct from research doctoral programs, are intended to eventually replace the current master’s degree programs in nursing that now prepare advanced practitioners.
EKU’s program will be online (mixed web) and made available to nurses in the Commonwealth, particularly to nurses in rural and underserved areas. Recent data indicates that Eastern nursing graduates typically remain in Kentucky to practice. In fact, in 2008, 100 percent of the master’s degree graduates planned to practice in Kentucky, 69 percent in rural or underserved areas.
“As a result of EKU nursing programs, the educational level of health care providers in the Commonwealth has been raised and the health care needs of the people of the Commonwealth have been served,” said Dr. Deborah Whitehouse, associate dean of EKU’s College of Health Sciences. “The DNP program will serve to advance the educational level of health care providers in these areas even further.”