Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing will begin offering the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in 2008 to meet a need for advanced practice nurses who can provide leadership in healthcare during the 21st century.
Samford becomes only the second Alabama nursing school to offer the new degree, joining the University of South Alabama in making the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program available to nurses. Samford's program will begin in June and graduate its first class in 2009.
"The Doctor of Nursing Practice program will fulfill a need within the profession for advanced practice nurses who can provide leadership as advanced nurse practitioners, nurse administrators and educators," said Dr. Nena F. Sanders, Samford nursing dean.
"The Doctor of Nursing Practice will be a visionary leader for the practice of nursing and the delivery of health care in all settings."
The Samford Board of Trustees approved the new degree at its annual year-end meeting Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Qualified students will be able to complete the new degree within one calendar year of full-time study, according to Dean Sanders.
These graduates will focus on developing "competencies that include organizational and systems leadership, advanced clinical skills, and the ability to mobilize interdisciplinary teams, to establish collaborative relationships to solve complex clinical problems, and to initiate policy and programmatic changes," said Dean Sanders.
She said Samford would build on the strong bachelor's and master's degree program already offered by the nursing school in beginning the new program, "and the health care of our community will be better for it."
The Samford nursing school was designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing by the National League for Nursing (NLN) in 2005.
One of Alabama's oldest nursing schools, it was founded in 1922 by Birmingham Baptist Hospitals. In 1955, it became the first program in Alabama accredited by the NLN. The school became a part of Samford in 1973.
Over the years, it has graduated more than 5,000 nurses.