Post Classifieds

Health Sciences adds doctoral degree program

By De-Ann Smith
On May 8, 2013

  • De-Ann Smith


Coming this fall, 10 students will be enrolled to study nursing at the doctoral level for the first time at Winston-Salem State. 

The doctor of nursing practice will be the second doctoral degree to be offered at WSSU and the first to be offered at a HBCU in North Carolina.  

"It's exciting that we can offer the program at WSSU," said Peggy Valentine, dean of the School of Health Sciences. 

The degree was approved by the UNC Board of Governors in February. The DNP is more practice-oriented, preparing nurses to be leaders in the practice arena of health care unlike the Ph.D. which is focused on conducting research and teaching.

The DNP was introduced to replace the master's program which will start to fade by 2015, according to coordinator Gohar Karami.  She said the DNP will be a master's to doctoral program and in 2015, a bachelor's to doctoral program track will be established.

Valentine said there is a nationwide movement to shift nurse practitioner programs from the master's level to the doctoral level. 

 "There are so many advances in health care. The nurses who are practicing medicine need to be trained at a higher level. So this program will help them function at that level," Valentine said.

Every year, 50 students are admitted into the master's program at WSSU

However, next fall only 40 will be admitted, making room for the 10 students coming in for the doctorate. 

In attempt to gradually end the master's program, each year they will admit less students to accommodate more students for the DNP

Karami said although the program has not been advertised yet, through word-of-mouth, the department has been contacted by 50 people interested in the program. She said the program will be officially advertised after an informational meeting. 

All the courses were approved April 10 by the graduate council.

Karami said students with a master's degree will be able to complete the DNP within four semesters. When introduced in 2015, the BSN-DNP will take up to seven semesters. 

Lenora Campbell, the associate dean of nursing said, there is a lot to do to have the program ready by fall.  She said there has to be policies, procedures, handbooks and new clinical sites for practice. She said about this time next year, the program will seek accreditation.

Valentine said, "I think it [the program] will do well, and it's a high commitment on behalf of the faculty to offer this program."

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