The University of North Carolina Board of Governors has approved a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). The program should be up and running by the fall.
This will be WSSU’s second doctoral program. A doctoral program in physical therapy was established in 2011.
“Given the strong foundation in our nursing program, we are extremely pleased to be able to expand our efforts by offering the doctorate program,” said WSSU Chancellor Donald J. Reaves. “This new program is also consistent with the university’s goal of preparing graduates to be leaders in their professions and in their communities, as well as our efforts to meet the needs of the region and the State of North Carolina.”
The DNP program will prepare graduates to function as clinical leaders in healthcare and academic settings, as well as to serve as executive healthcare managers. It will be a three-year program for students with a B.S. degree in nursing and the program will take 12 to 18 months to complete for students holding a master’s degree in nursing.
The North Carolina Institute of Medicine has anticipated the need for more healthcare practitioners in primary care and has recommended expansion of nurse practitioner programs within the University of North Carolina to meet the growing demand and to increase nurse workforce diversity to more closely reflect the composition of the population served. As Baby Boomers continue to increase the need for healthcare services, high demand is predicted for nurse practitioners, particularly in underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.
“We surveyed our current undergraduate and graduate nursing students and alumni last year and saw that a significant number from both groups planned to pursue a DNP,” said Dr. Lenora Campbell, associate dean for the division of nursing. “In fact, nearly 40 percent of those who responded indicated they would pursue a doctorate in nurse practice, so we know there is student demand for the program. We also have continued to see strong demand for our nursing graduates with bachelor’s or master’s degrees, but we know there is an even greater growing demand for advanced practice nurses with strong leadership, policy and research skills within the healthcare field.”