UW-Eau Claire: Nursing doctorate program on regents agenda this week

EAU CLAIRE — For the first time, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire could offer a doctoral program that would help the university fulfill changing practice requirements in the field of nursing and help meet the growing workforce demand for health care professionals.

The UW System Board of Regents will consider this week a request from UW-Eau Claire to offer a doctorate of nursing practice.

If approved, the DNP will meet the new national educational recommendations for advanced practice nurses, which change the entry level degree from a master’s to a doctorate. The recommendations are determined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and take effect in 2015.

“The DNP illustrates how UW-Eau Claire and the UW System can respond to changes in the professions and to demand in the state for the most well-prepared health professionals,” said Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich.”This program will help to ensure continuing opportunity for Wisconsin students to prepare for careers in nursing and for the preparation of future nursing faculty as well.”

The DNP is essential to the university’s efforts to support advanced practice nurses in Wisconsin, said Dr. Mary Zwygart-Stauffacher, interim dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“The DNP will prepare nurses to practice in the complex health care environment that now exists and to influence needed change in our health care system,” Zwygart-Stauffacher said. “The need for advanced practice nursing in our state is vast and UW-Eau Claire is poised to help meet that need through this new program.”

The DNP is a professional doctorate, similar to the doctorates required of physicians, dentists, pharmacists and attorneys. If approved, the DNP will be the first doctorate program offered at UW-Eau Claire. Apart from collaborations involving the traditional doctoral campuses, this would be the first doctoral degree offered by any of the UW System’s 11 comprehensive universities. The board also will consider this week a similar DNP program at UW Oshkosh.

The board’s education committee will review the campuses’ requests May 7, with the committee’s recommendation being reviewed by the full board on May 8. If approved, the DNP program at UW-Eau Claire will begin in summer 2010.

For information about UW-Eau Claire’s DNP program, contact Dr. Mary Zwygart-Stauffacher, interim dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, at 715-836-4977 or [email protected].