The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) College of Nursing and Health Innovation recently added five new nursing graduate degrees to its online catalog for the spring semester. The new online programs include a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree and four nurse practitioner master’s degrees in pediatric primary care, pediatric acute care, adult gerontology acute care, and adult gerontology primary care.
After drastically increased enrollment from UTA’s master of science in nursing (MSN) education and nursing administration courses were offered in an online format, the university decided to further expand its online nursing degrees. The additional online degrees will provide advanced nursing education access to students who are unable to attend on-campus courses.
The new online DNP program provides advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with the information, knowledge, and skills to transform healthcare from the local to global level. With an online learning system that doesn’t require specific class times, the program’s goal is to provide the rigorous standards of a DNP program in a flexible and affordable way for professional working nurses.
Adding new online programs supports UTA’s mission to improve health and human condition by making advanced nursing programs more available so that UTA students can have a broader impact on the health and lives of people in their own state, country, and around the world. To learn more about UTA’s new online nursing programs, visit TheShorthorn.com.
Effective as of January 1, Cathrin Carithers, DNP, has taken over as the new Assistant Dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Nursing Kearney Division. Carithers is succeeding two previous interim assistant deans who served from 2014 to 2016.
With previous experience as a clinical associate professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science in Little Rock and director of their doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program from 2014 to 2016, UNMC is excited about the knowledge she brings. She also previously served as director of the DNP program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center from 2002 to 2011 and co-director of the DNP program from 2011 to 2013.
Carithers’ education background includes a BSN degree from the University of Kansas in 1981, a MSN degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2002, and her DNP from the University of Arizona in 2011. UNMC is pleased to welcome Carithers as Assistant Dean as she brings her experience leading doctor of nursing practice programs and a strong background as a registered nurse as well as in advanced practice nursing.
Discussing her new position with the UNMC Newsroom, Carithers says, “I’m excited to be part of the rich academic environment with growing student enrollment and programs to address the nursing shortage to meet the health care needs of Nebraskans and beyond.”
The Veterans Administration (VA), the largest integrated health system in the US, passed a new rule last week to allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) full practice authority without physician supervision within its network. Nurses along with veterans, their families, and caregivers have been lobbying for the VA to grant full practice authority to APRNs for quite some time. The VA finally responded in May with a proposal to allow APRNs to work to the full extent of their education, training, and certification without physician supervision, a proposal which has finally been granted.
Three types of APRNs have been approved to practice under the new ruling: certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives. They will be allowed to practice to the full extent of their training and education regardless of state laws including providing physical exams, health assessments, and screenings; diagnosing, treating, and managing acute and chronic diseases; ordering laboratory tests and integrating results into clinical decision-making; prescribing medications and medical equipment; and making referrals. Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) have been excluded from the rule for the time being, but the VA has been urged by critics to reconsider their exclusion.
Dr. Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, President of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), released a statement in response saying, “This final rule is a critical step for America’s veterans to be able to obtain timely, high quality care in the Veterans Health System…America’s nurse practitioners are honored to continue to serve our nation’s veterans by providing them with direct access to the high-quality health care they deserve.”
The VA has been receiving backlash from physician organizations since their proposal was first announced, arguing that veterans deserve physician-led patient care. However, their arguments have been overruled by more effective arguments from the American Nurses Association (ANA) that nurse practitioners are “a zero cost, zero risk solution” to strengthening care for the veterans who have served our nation by providing them with access to timely and efficient care.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a $350,000 traineeship grant to the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) College of Nursing. The grant will fund 50 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) from 2016-2018, covering two full academic years.
Intended to support the traineeship of future APRNs pursuing service in Mississippi’s rural and medically-underserved populations, the grant will help increase primary care in Mississippi. Dr. Melanie Gilmore, Associate Professor and Program Director of USM’s Family Nurse Practitioner program, tells Southern Miss Now, “Mississippi is primarily a rural state (55.14%) that is ranked as the poorest state as well as the state with the poorest health in the nation.”
Many of the graduate nursing students at USM are also working nurses with family and financial obligations. Supporting 50 traineeships helps offset the financial burden of Mississippi nurses who want to return to school in a high poverty state. With required courses in evidence-based practice, ethics and role development, and health care policy and finance, graduates of the APRN and nurse practitioner programs will be highly marketable for employment in the underserved state in desperate need of more comprehensive care providers.
Two years after reports were first published informing the nation that veterans were waiting too long for health care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), over 530,000 veterans are still waiting 30 days or longer for care. To improve veterans wait times for healthcare, the VA released a proposal granting veterans full access to over 4,800 advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) working in VA facilities, enabling those APRNs to practice to the full scope of their education and clinical training.
The VA’s proposal to expand nurse practitioner care in VA facilities was released in May, and now six months later, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and a grassroots coalition called Veterans Deserve Care are calling for a swift enactment of the VA proposal to ensure timely health care access for veterans in VA facilities.
Nurse practitioners are licensed to diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses, and promote health and disease prevention in their patients. They can assess, order, perform, supervise, and interpret laboratory tests, make diagnoses, initiate and manage treatment including prescribing medications and non-pharmacologic treatment, coordinate care and counseling, and educate patients and their families. 21 states and the District of Columbia already offer direct access to NP care, with proven outcomes equivalent to or better than those of physicians. Based off these positive results, organizations including the National Academy of Medicine, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are urging support for removing unnecessary barriers to NP practice to improve veteran care.
According to AANP President Dr. Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, “For more than fifty years, nurse practitioners have proudly treated our men and women in uniform, ensuring them the high-quality health care they deserve…We urge the VA to take immediate action to enact this proposed rule for the benefit of our nation’s veterans.” Veterans have waited long enough for health care and America’s 222,000 nurse practitioners are prepared to meet the needs of patients inside and outside of the veterans healthcare system as soon as their proposal is granted.
Are you currently in school with the goal of earning a PhD or DNP degree? If the answer is yes, there’s a good chance you see yourself headed for a faculty position as a nurse educator in academia.
Until the very recent past, PhDs filled the majority of faculty positions. However, DNPs are now frequently entering academics to fill faculty positions, and the crossover of expectations and tasks are creating increasingly blurry lines between the roles of PhDs and DNPs. After all, in both roles, there are usually teaching, scholarship, and service expectations. With only a superficial view, it’s almost impossible to detect what the differences might be.
Because specific faculty roles are often determined by institutional leadership and policies, and are not consistent across the United States, you should consider yourself an investigative reporter and ask the right questions wherever your job search takes you. Knowing the right questions to ask before accepting a job offer is essential in order to avoid unpleasant surprises after being hired!
The following questions will help you get a better understanding of the faculty role you may be applying for.
1. What type of appointment will I be eligible for?
A tenure track appointment vs. a clinical track appointment has important implications for your workload and how you will be expected to structure your time. Tenure-track appointments usually have research expectations built into them (along with teaching), and are generally reserved for research-focused PhD faculty. However, these appointments are now available at some institutions for clinically-focused DNP faculty.
Clinical appointments usually carry a primary teaching responsibility, and are generally reserved for clinically-focused DNPs. But, frequently, PhD faculty may also find themselves in clinical track positions.
As if that is not confusing enough, an academic appointment may be either 9 months or 12 months, which has critical implications for ongoing finances and health insurance coverage. With a nine-month appointment, you may not be guaranteed a full workload (or full paycheck!) each summer. Definitely a critical point to know ahead of time.
2. Where do new faculty learn the educator role?
New faculty need guidance from more experienced faculty colleagues, and you should not be expected to go it alone. Without a background in teaching strategies, evaluation of learning outcomes, or the general culture of academia, the first year of teaching is full of unknowns and not easily tackled without an experienced guide. Being part of a teaching team that includes more experienced colleagues is ideal. Additionally, you should also have access to professional development opportunities as an educator through institutional resources and educator conferences.
3. When do faculty in my position assume active roles on committees at the department and university level?
While committees are an integral part of faculty life, too many committees can easily distract from other commitments. Setting up new courses, developing a scholarly trajectory, and adjusting to academia in general is time and energy intensive. Being pulled into intense service commitments can easily distract from those, and if possible, administrators may shield new faculty while they are adapting to their new role.
4. How will I be evaluated on the expectations related to teaching, scholarship, and service?
Since this may determine eligibility for merit increases or promotions, you’ll definitely want to ask this!
By clarifying the type of appointment you are eligible for, resources available to you, and the institution-specific expectations for evaluating your performance, you’ll be better prepared to face the exciting challenges and opportunities that await you in your new position.
Acknowledgement: Faculty colleagues Ms. Mercedes Martinez, Dr. Kathleen Cox, and Dr. Karim Singh.