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Release: Immediate

College of Nursing seeks Regent approval to create nurse practitioner programs

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Nursing has asked the State Board of Regents to approve three new graduate programs when it meets July 15-16 in Ames. The changes would add two new subtracks in the Master of Science in Nursing degree program and a post-master's specialty certificate program.

"With recent changes in the health care delivery system and in health care needs, there is increasing demand for specialization in the training of health care providers," the nursing college wrote in a memo explaining the need for the new programs. "A general master's degree in nursing no longer necessarily meets the demands of today's environment ..."

The two new subtracks proposed for the master's degree program would add a family nurse practitioner option and a psychiatric/mental health advanced practice option. Like existing master's level training programs for nurse anesthetists, adult/gerontology nurse practitioners and pediatric nurse practitioners, the new subtracks would prepare graduates to take certification examinations and practice as advanced nurse practitioners in Iowa.

The College of Nursing established the need for both programs through surveys of clinical service directors and government data showing a shortage of health professionals, especially in rural Iowa. Moreover, the college said it has received numerous inquiries from students interested in advanced practice training in family and mental health care. The college said it would admit six students to each subtrack in the fall 1998 semester and eight to 10 students each year thereafter.

No new funding will be required to implement the family nurse practitioner or the psychiatric/mental health advanced practice option, the college said. Both subtracks will be built around existing courses combined with clinical preceptorships in the two specialty areas.

The nursing college is also asking the Regents to approve a post-master's certificate program for all nurse practitioner specialties offered by the college.

"There are many nurses who obtained a master's degree prior to initiation of an advanced specialization curriculum who now wish to complete only the advanced practice specialization portion of the curriculum," the college wrote to the Regents. "A formal post-master's certificate [in each of the specializations the college offers] would meet this need."

The certificate program would prepare master's-trained nurses to take certification examinations and be registered as advanced nurse practitioners in adult/gerontologic, family, pediatric and psychiatric/mental health nursing.