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University of Iowa News Release


July 11, 2007

UI To Offer Doctor Of Nursing Practice Degree

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa and the Iowa Board of Nursing have approved a plan by the UI College of Nursing to offer the doctor of nursing practice (D.N.P.) degree. Enrollment for this program will begin in fall 2007.

A relatively new degree in the field, the D.N.P. is a practice-focused degree (as opposed to the research-oriented Ph.D.) that prepares advanced practice nurses for leadership roles by educating them in evidence-based practice, economics, finance and policy. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing requires that by 2015 all nurse practitioners entering advance practice be prepared at the practice doctorate level.

"We prepare excellent practitioners with excellent patient outcomes," said Patricia Clinton, Ph.D., clinical professor and director of the master's and D.N.P. programs at the UI College of Nursing. "Now the D.N.P. degree will prepare advanced practice nurses with the skill set to make meaningful contributions at the business and policy making table."

Brenda Hoskins, D.N.P., assistant clinical professor at the UI College of Nursing, will be among Iowa's D.N.P. program faculty. In describing her decision to obtain a D.N.P. degree, she said, "I investigated the Ph.D., but decided I was not a researcher. I use nursing research, and I respect it, but I'm not a scientist." Hoskins added, "What the D.N.P. provides is curriculum that delves into leadership, public policy/advocacy, specialty of practice, systems, change theory, finance and business, and entrepreneurial tools for starting a new practice."

It was the entrepreneurial aspects of the D.N.P. degree that appealed to Hoskins. "I had the same goal as other nurses of wanting to improve care, but rather than functioning within an organization, I wanted more independence, so I opened my own practice," she said.

According to Hoskins, the timing is right for the D.N.P. degree. In Iowa, nearly 200 areas are designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as underserved. One of the goals of the Healthy People 2010 initiative is to increase access to care. This is an issue that could be addressed by D.N.P. practitioners and other nurse practitioners, Hoskins said.

In Iowa, nurse practitioners are licensed to conduct physical exams, take medical histories, diagnose and treat common acute illnesses and injuries, order and interpret lab tests and X-rays, and prescribe medications.

"Nursing has always been about solving problems and finding alternative ways of getting things done," Hoskins said. "No other discipline has representatives in all levels of care, including a wide variety of specialties and settings. Nurses are an important part of the answer to what health care needs today."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Michele Francis, 319-335-8960,