Fairfield University's School of Nursing to have first doctoral program at University


Image: Jean Novotny
Pictured is Fairfield University School of Nursing Dean Jeanne Novotny, Ph.D., RN, FAAN. "A DNP program at Fairfield is in keeping with our mission to prepare nurses for the highest level of nursing practice," Dr. Novotny said.

Fairfield University is launching a new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, making it the University's very first doctoral program.

The DNP program at the School of Nursing will begin classes in September, 2010. It allows nurses to select or build on a specialized clinical focus as a family or psychiatric nurse practitioner. Nurses with either a M.S.N. or B.S.N degree can go directly through to Fairfield's DNP program, unlike many universities where a master's degree is required to enter a DNP program.

The School is now accepting applications to the DNP program in family and psychiatric nurse practitioner specialty tracks. More information about the DNP program can be found at fairfield.edu/dnp or call Graduate Admissions at (203) 254-4184.

A nurse with a DNP has numerous career opportunities. They include leadership roles in a variety of settings, such as being managers of quality initiatives, executives in healthcare organizations, directors of clinical programs and nursing school faculty with a clinical focus. In addition to the selected practice specialty, Fairfield University's DNP students will be educated in business management, organizational systems, population-level healthcare, information technology, clinical scholarship, leadership and policy-making to improve systems of healthcare delivery.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), employers are quickly recognizing the unique contribution nurses with DNP degrees are making in the practice arena, and the demand for DNP-educated nurses continues to grow.

Fairfield University's School of Nursing is a national leader in nursing education, preparing advanced practice nurses who can respond to a complex healthcare environment, take on leadership roles on major national issues, and advocate for the underserved.

Jeanne Novotny, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing, said offering a doctoral program is in keeping with this mission to educate nurses for the highest level of nursing practice. "We are building our nursing education programs at Fairfield with a consistent vision toward the future. This is the logical next step in our growth trajectory."

Jean W. Lange, Ph.D., RN, professor of nursing and doctoral program director, said that nurses choosing to earn a DNP will be on "the cutting edge of the profession. As the preferred degree for advanced nursing practice, our doctoral students will experience a rigorous and personalized education that prepares them to be tomorrow's leaders."

Fairfield's Practice DNP is a clinical doctorate for advanced preparation in nursing practice that is comparable to advanced clinical degrees in other health disciplines. With a DNP, one will be able to assume a leadership role in an increasingly complex healthcare system during this critical era of healthcare reform.

The AACN voted to transition APRN programs to DNP programs by 2015. Existing nurse practitioners will be grandfathered to continue to practice with a master's degree.

In addition to a DNP, Fairfield's School of Nursing offers M.S. in Clinical Nurse Leader, Healthcare Management and Nurse Anesthesia programs. The M.S. in Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs will continue to be offered during the phasing in of the DNP.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 9, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 192