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.”
With a shortage of doctoral-level Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in the state of Wisconsin and 30 percent of all CRNAs set to retire in the next five years, the University of Wisconsin (UW) Oshkosh has responded by offering the first doctoral-level nurse anesthetist program in the state to help lessen the shortage.
The College of Nursing at UW Oshkosh has developed a nurse anesthesia program to meet the healthcare needs of Wisconsin citizens in rural and urban areas. Future CRNA students at the university will receive their doctoral level nursing education in new state-of-the-art simulation labs. Simulations will include scenarios with high-fidelity simulators, animal models, and cadaver models. The CRNA program will be a three-year, full-time program requiring 74 graduate credit hours in courses like anatomy, pharmacology, chemistry, and pathophysiology. Students will also complete clinical hours with partners around the Fox Valley area.
UW Oshkosh’s CRNA program is the second program at the university with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) emphasis. The first is a Family Nurse Practitioner emphasis which began in 2010. The DNP is the highest level of nursing education and it prepares nurse clinical experts in specialized advanced nursing roles.
UW Oshkosh is now accepting applications for the inaugural class which is scheduled to begin in June 2017.
Kaplan University recently announced that two programs from its School of Nursing have received national accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program which began in 2013 has been granted initial accreditation for the maximum five-year period offered to new programs. Kaplan’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program has also been re-affirmed for an additional five years of accreditation, while the Nursing School’s Post Masters Certification program was reaffirmed for ten years.
The CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency. Ensuring quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing, the CCNE continues to be a contributor to the improvement of the public’s health.
The MSN program includes several tracks for primary care nurse practitioners including Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), Nurse Informatics, Nurse Educator, and Executive Leader. In addition to the three higher education nursing programs offered, Kaplan also offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for RN to BSN students and a Pre-Licensure BSN program, both accredited by the CCNE.
CCNE accreditation for the MSN and DNP programs has been a momentous step for the School of Nursing. Dean and Vice President of the Kaplan School of Nursing, Dr. Chandice Covington, has given her gratitude to the nursing faculty whose contributions to the accreditation process have made it possible for Kaplan to continue contributing to the nursing profession and success for their students.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is a practice-focused doctorate for nurses for want a higher degree that gives them a clinical focus. It is the highest academic degree available in the field of nursing, and the University of Arkansas is the only nursing school in Arkansas that offers a DNP option to nurses with bachelor’s degrees. The University of Arkansas DNP program prepares advanced practice nurses to work as experts and leaders in complex healthcare settings. There are two entry levels for the program, one for nurses with bachelor’s degrees and one for nurses with master’s degrees.
With a nationwide shortage of medical providers, fast track DNP programs like the one being offered at the University of Arkansas are very beneficial to nurses and the healthcare system. The program takes longer to complete for nurses who start without a master’s degree but many students and faculty feel that the benefits make the program worthwhile. The program takes three to four years to complete and graduates of the program can pursue licensure as family nurse practitioners or adult geriatric acute care nurse practitioners.
The program is very fast and convenient for many students since its mostly online, only requiring students to come to campus one time per semester for advanced health assessment training. Most students are able to complete the program while still holding full-time nursing jobs. The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas began offering the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree online in the fall of 2013. Students complete coursework online and arrange clinical practicum hours in their local area with qualified preceptors to supervise them. The DNP degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
One student in particular has gained real value from the BSN to DNP degree. Teshekia Hawkins wanted to be a nurse her whole life and she just graduated in May 2016 as one of the first University of Arkansas graduates to complete the Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Hawkins knew that the advanced degree would set her above other nurses with master’s degrees, especially in the competitive Dallas area where she plans to work in a leadership role to help improve quality of patient care. As the first in her family to receive a terminal degree (the highest degree possible in a specific field), Hawkins hopes to set a high example for others.
The School of Nursing at King University in Bristol, Tennessee is pleased by the news that their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program has received accreditation status. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) granted the accreditation status for five years, beginning at the end of this month and extending through June 30, 2021. The next on-site evaluation of King University’s DNP program will take place in the fall of 2020.
King University was first approved to operate as a Level V Institution in December 2013 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. The university was then granted approval from the SACSCOC to implement a Doctor of Nursing Practice program in August 2014.
The DNP program at King University is a practice-focused platform contributing to the expansion of knowledge underlying advanced professional nursing practice. Their program emphasizes essential knowledge development in translation of research into practice, evaluation of interdisciplinary teamwork for performance excellence, and dissemination of new knowledge for outcomes improvement. The School of Nursing designed the DNP program using the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice as specified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Dr. Cecelia Lynn Holden, dean and associate professor of the King University School of Nursing, spoke up to give her thanks to the CCNE for King’s DNP program accreditation. It is a tremendous honor to receive accreditation status from the CCNE organization, and Holden believes that King University’s first doctoral program in nursing will be a great development for the nursing profession.
Karen Whitham, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Nursing Programs at American Sentinel University is a certified nurse educator who strongly believes in urging nursing students to pursue a career in nursing education. Most nurse educators have a background as nurses before joining the nurse education workforce, making most of them registered nurses with advanced education who also eventually serve as teachers.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that almost 80,000 qualified applicants are turned away from nursing schools each year because there is a shortage of nurse educators to train future nurses. The US is experiencing a severe nursing shortage, but without more nursing educators, schools simply can’t take on more students to start closing the shortage gap.
With such a strong need for nursing educators, a career in nursing offers high job security, opportunities for quick advancement, and personal reward. The personal reward that comes with a career in nursing doesn’t end when nurses advance to educator roles. Most nurse educators are still highly satisfied with their careers, knowing they play a significant role in preparing future nurses to care for patients, and finding their influence on students rewarding too.
For those with an interest in learning, Whitham strongly encourages the career path of becoming a nurse educator. Nurse educators typically have extensive clinical experience, and choose to continue caring for patients after becoming educators. But for those who choose to no longer practice at the bedside after moving into an educator role, they must still stay up-to-date on nursing methods and technologies in order to keep their students on the leading edge of clinical practice.
For Whitham, one of the significant rewards of a career as a nurse educator is shaping the careers of her students and giving them the foundation they need for technological advancement and impacting the patients and families they work with in their future nursing practice. Nurse educators act as role models for future nurses, providing necessary leadership for the evidence-based nursing practice that strengthens the nursing profession as a whole.
American Sentinel University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with a specialization in educational leadership. Students are taught by experienced nurse educators and surrounded by peers who share education-focused career goals.