UM-Flint Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Completes Successful Accreditation Review

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The Department of Nursing's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) began admitting students in 2009, and will graduate its first class in 2013.

This is a terminal professional degree intended primarily to prepare registered nurses (RNs) for advanced practice roles such as Family, Adult, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. The program also educates advanced practice RNs such as clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Curricula aims to meet today's practice demands in areas of leadership, informatics, evidence-based practice, education, cultural competence, and policy at the doctoral level.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), transitioning advanced practice registered nursing programs from the master's level to the doctoral level is a "…response to changes in health care delivery and emerging health care needs…In addition, the knowledge required to provide leadership in the discipline of nursing is so complex and rapidly changing that additional or doctoral level education is needed."

An accreditation review is done to assure that the UM-Flint DNP program meets the highest quality standards, and includes: mission and governance, institutional commitment and resources, curriculum and teaching-learning practices, and aggregate and faculty outcomes.

In mid-March, a review team representing the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the national accrediting organization for baccalaureate and higher degree nursing programs, spent three days conducting an in-depth initial accreditation review of the DNP Program.

On the final day of the site visit the CCNE accreditation team gave an oral presentation of their findings, stating that the accreditation review had been successfully completed.

"Many programs have 2 or 3 reviews before earning initial accreditation. I'm extremely proud that we received so many compliments and kudos from the reviewers, who left no stone unturned during the in-depth, detailed review process," noted Department of Nursing Director Margaret Andrews. "The excellent outcome of the review speaks to the high quality of our graduate curricula and faculty, the outstanding caliber of students enrolled in our programs, the scholarly accomplishments of students and faculty, the number and quality  of clinical placements, and the overall competence of all who are associated with  the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. I'd like to thank Graduate Nursing Programs Director Connie Creech for her outstanding leadership and vision for the DNP Program and for planning, implementing, and evaluating such an excellent program."

Creech said that there currently are 110 students in the DNP program and another 50 will be admitted in August. This is a strong indication that UM-Flint is contributing significantly to the supply of highly educated advanced practice nurses prepared to deliver primary care services locally, regionally, and nationally.

UM-Flint's bachelor and master degree programs in nursing are also fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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