First Cohort Begins Studies for Doctor of Nursing Practice

Written by Jonathan Eichberger

After two years of intense planning and preparation, the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing welcomed the first cohort of the new doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students in January.

Twenty-five students enrolled in the DNP program: “a very diverse group,” according to Associate Professor and interim director of the DNP program, Kathleen White, PhD, RN, CNAA, BC. The group includes both a hospital vice president and a chief of nursing, nine nurse practitioners, one certified registered nurse anesthetist, one senior director of policy for the American Nurses Association, one past president of the Association of Operating Room Nurses, and several more nurse managers, nursing directors, and clinical nurse specialists. The average age of the DNP students is 48. Three of the 25 students (12 percent) are men.

DNP students will receive the education to be leaders of multidisciplinary practice initiatives, including patient safety, quality of care, and performance improvement. Student-to-faculty matchup is a key component in this program, says DNP task force co-chair Phyllis W. Sharps, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN. “This is a program where students receive lots of mentoring and individualized attention,” she says. “It’s important to match students with faculty who have similar expertise in a specific area.”

The DNP is the highest possible degree in clinical work. The Johns Hopkins DNP is one of 63 such programs across the nation.

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