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University to Offer Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree

A lack of professionals and educators in the healthcare industry has led to an increased need for leaders in the field. As a result of the shortage, more academic institutions appear to be introducing advanced nursing degree programs.

For instance, Samuel Merritt University in California will offer a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree beginning in January 2011.

According to Scot Foster, Samuel Merritt academic vice president and provost, the advanced nursing program’s focus is on leadership. "It’s intended for nurses who want to enhance their ability to make effective changes in a variety of healthcare delivery settings," he says.

The 36-credit program’s online format will allow students in nursing education, administration or advanced practice to work and study simultaneously. University officials felt that the addition of a DNP to its academic offerings was an important step to take.

An individual with an interest in a leadership role in the healthcare industry may want to consider pursuing a DNP. In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing endorsed a decision to change the required level of preparation for advanced practice from a master’s degree to the doctorate level by 2015.

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