WASHINGTON, D.C. (NursingSalary.org) – A new law allows the California State University (CSU) to offer doctoral degrees in nursing practice. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved the Assembly Bill 867 that permits CSU to launch a new pilot program – the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Prior to the Bill, only nursing schools affiliated with the University of California were allowed to offer doctoral degrees in nursing.
“Removing the barriers is the key to providing higher education”, said CSU representatives. “The momentum for raising the standards has to be sustained; the market is in high demand for skilled nurses to work in advanced roles”. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing applauds Governor Schwarzenegger’s initiative. “With the current market conditions, we admire the Governor’s recognition of the importance for creating greater access to DNP programs and for preparing more nurses at doctoral level for matching shortage of skilled personnel in key clinical and faculty positions”, mentioned AACN President Kathleen Potempa in a press release.
California State University is now authorized to offer Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees at their three campuses to up to 90 students. The curricula must be adapted in such a way that prospective DNP graduates can work full time while earning their degree. The program must accommodate future graduates with advanced practice roles and teaching in nursing programs.
A DNP program isn’t necessarily a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Science. PhD’s and DNS’s are generally focused on research and preparing candidates for teaching positions. At the end of such a program, students are to write and defend a dissertation or complete a substantial project. On the other hand, a Doctor of Nursing Practice caters on hands-on experience and the studying of real-life scenarios that might occur in a medical facility, with less focus on research.
Doctor of Nursing Practice programs offer a series of specialties, like Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP) and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP). California State University board is yet to announce which specialties they will be offering for the next school year. Admission requirements haven’t been published either, but we can assume the screening process will be harsh due to the limitation to 90 students per year. Candidates are to expect, at a bare minimum, to show proof of having practiced as a registered nurse for a couple of years and holding malpractice insurance.