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First-Ever Clinical Doctorate in Nursing Approved


Sarah Sheets Cook, the Dorothy M. Rogers Professor of Clinical Nursing and vice dean of the School of Nursing, instructs students.

The New York State Regents approved and registered Columbia University School of Nursing's doctor of nursing practice (DrNP) degree. This first-ever clinical doctorate in nursing program in the United States will prepare nurses for highly sophisticated practice. The Jan. 17 decision followed the Board of Trustees June 2004 approval.

Built on evidence derived from more than 10 years of increasing independence and scientific inquiry, including a randomized trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Columbia University School of Nursing faculty developed the DrNP degree to educate nurses for the highest level of clinical expertise, including sophisticated diagnostic and treatment competencies.

The degree builds upon advanced practice at the master's degree level and prepares graduates for fully accountable professional roles in several nursing specialties. The program is composed of 30 credits of science underpinning practice, a year of full-time residency and the completion of a scholarly portfolio of complex case studies, scholarly papers and published articles.

"We are extremely pleased to be the first academic institution in the country to offer a clinical doctorate in nursing that prepares nurses for practice at such a high level," stated Mary O'Neil Mundinger, dean and Centennial Professor in Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing. "The implications of the doctor of nursing practice degree cannot be overstated. Currently, primary care is a medical specialty in decline. Due to the unique training provided during the DrNP program, graduates will be able to fill the gap that has been left in the primary care specialty. In addition to complex diagnostic and treatment skills, DrNPs will add a unique focus on health promotion, disease prevention and health education, ultimately bringing added value to the patients they serve."

Mundinger continued, "The establishment of the DrNP will have a direct impact on the nursing shortage this country is currently experiencing. The rigor and depth of training required of individuals undertaking the DrNP will lend increased status to the nursing profession. In turn, the profession will become a more attractive career choice for those entering higher education."

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Published: Feb 16, 2005
Last modified: Feb 15, 2005

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