Grant to advance MCG/Emory nursing partnership

11/18/05



The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has awarded $995,000 to the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing to support its new doctorate of nursing practice program, the 10th of its kind in the nation.

The gift from the Atlanta-based Woodruff Foundation, a private organization with a broad charter to support charitable, scientific and educational activities, is the MCG School of Nursing's largest from a private foundation.

"We thank the Woodruff Foundation for helping MCG progress advanced-nursing education in our region," said Dr. Lucy Marion, dean of the MCG School of Nursing and a leader in the national DNP movement. "We look forward to preparing a critical mass of doctorally prepared nurse clinicians through increased collaboration with other graduate schools of nursing throughout Georgia."

MCG's partner in the initiative, Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, has been awarded $500,000 through the same grant. By offering distance training options, the partnership will allow Emory faculty to enroll in the doctorate of nursing practice program at MCG. In return, MCG faculty will attend Emory's postgraduate program for clinical educators.

"This partnership provides an example of how the public and private sector can work together to address the severe shortage of qualified nursing faculty and clinicians in Georgia," said Dr. Marla Salmon, dean and professor of the Emory School of Nursing. "We are excited about the opportunity to work with MCG in advancing the capacity of nurses to improve care and meet ever increasing needs for nursing services."

The doctorate of nursing practice focuses on clinical and management expertise necessary to improve outcomes in health care practice, leadership and education. The program encourages nurses to stay in health care practice and contribute to issues faced in the field.

"Before this program was developed, nursing was the only health profession without a practice doctorate," said Dr. Saundra Turner, chair of the MCG Department of Biobehavioral Nursing. "Graduates of our program will be nursing leaders with a global perspective, able to collaborate with physicians and other health care providers to optimize patient care."

The program also will alleviate the national nursing shortage by producing more qualified nursing professors, something which allows nursing schools to enroll more students, according to Dr. Turner.

The first cohort of doctorate of nursing practice students, consisting of 13 MCG School of Nursing faculty, began this year. The class size is expected to increase to 20 to 30 students in the next two years.

The DNP curriculum includes 40 graduate semester hours over four semesters, covering trends in effective care, methods of care delivery and concepts in evidence-based care.

"For the first time ever, nursing doctoral education includes the financial aspects of health care," said Dr. Georgia Narsavage, School of Nursing associate dean for academic affairs. "Nurses with this degree will be equal players amongst those making budget and finance decisions."

Requirements for the program include a master's degree in nursing or associated program of study related to a specialty area, a graduate school admissions test, current professional nurse licensure and specialty certification as appropriate.

Emory University will offer a 12-credit hour program, the Clinical Educator Certificate, to graduate nursing practice students. The certificate focuses on evidence-based clinical teaching and evaluation techniques, and can be pursued before, during or after the doctorate of nursing practice course of study.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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