The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – the highest possible degree for nurses committed to clinical practice – is the latest academic program to be added to the timely array of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) educational options. Pending approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the first DNP class will launch in January 2008 with subsequent classes beginning in September each year.
The structure of the new JHUSON program is designed to accommodate the needs of practicing nurses – those who currently are nurse administrators, public health practitioners, or advanced practice nurses caring for individuals – and who come to the program already having earned a master’s degree. With the nursing shortage in mind, the JHUSON task force that designed the program worked to create an educational opportunity amenable to nurses who work full time, so they can enhance their nursing expertise while retaining their existing health care, retirement, and tuition benefits.
The innovative curriculum of 38 credits can be completed in four semesters – through both distance learning and executive-style immersion learning opportunities including week-long seminars. Key elements of the new program are the mentoring component that will match students with faculty who share their area of interest, and the interdisciplinary faculty drawn from not only JHUSON, but also the JHU schools of medicine, public health, and business.
An additional feature of the new program that will be attractive to the working nurse is the tuition: $9,500 per semester. The DNP tuition rate will be within the ranges of employer tuition reimbursement or can be offset by financial aid programs aimed at reducing the nursing shortage.
Like the JHUSON Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program that prepares nurse scientists to head interdisciplinary research teams, the JHUSON DNP will prepare nurse leaders for multidisciplinary practice initiatives, including those focusing on patient safety, quality of care, and performance improvement. By 2015, the DNP degree will be the level of educational preparation required by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for all advanced practice nurses.
Kathleen White, PhD, RN, CNAA, BC, interim director of the new program, looks forward to the impact the new DNP graduates will have on the health care system. “These new clinical leaders will be prepared to practice at the highest level of nursing. They will integrate nursing science with ethics and the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, organizational and public health sciences. And they will be among the vanguard of those solving the nursing shortage.”
Applications and more information concerning the new program can be found at http://www.son.jhmi.edu/DNP. The deadline for application to the cohort beginning January 2008 is October 15, 2007. For more information, prospective program candidates are invited to contact Dr. White at 410-614-4664 or the JHUSON admissions office at 410-955-7548.