Joint Doctorate of Nursing Practice Accepts First Cohort

By:  Lori Rodriguez, Associate Professor, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing

On April 1, 2012 admissions for the joint CSU Fresno-SJSU Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program were closed. Over the last two months we have carried out many interviews and selected some amazing people to be part of the first cohort. All 45 of our incoming students are working advanced practice nurses whose jobs directly or indirectly reach thousands of clients and patients. For example, one of our incoming students is a public health nurse providing primary nursing care to underserved patients in Santa Clara County, another is a clinical nurse specialist in a pediatric unit at a local hospital, another runs the cardiac interventional radiology services at another local hospital, and still another is a hospital administrator. The commonality is that they share a passion for providing excellent health care to a specific population and they are all working on the front lines of the health care system.

The three doctoral options for most nurses are the PhD, the DNP, or the EdD. The DNP, the one offered by our joint program, distinguishes itself as a practice degree allowing nurses to continue doing their job, study and obtain further education, while forwarding their passion and growing their skills to translate research into their practice. The vision of our program to create leaders is consistent with the national vision for the DNP to create leaders for interdisciplinary health care teams, improve systems of care, be able to measure outcomes, and translate research into practice. A DNP program is typically 5 semesters long, has a classroom and practice component, and results in a project that is designed to improve health care for a population.

A unique feature of the CSU DNP NorCal program is that it will be online, thus allowing our students to keep working and attend class and complete coursework in a way that fits into their schedule. The designated catchment area in the state is north from the Kern County line. Our 45 students come from as far south as Bakersfield and as far north as Oregon.

Opportunities for interested SJSU faculty include serving as mentors or assisting on the students project committee. Since the students projects cover broad areas of nutrition, obesity, fitness, autism, palliative care, family centered patient care rounds, TB prevention, and access to care, organ and tissue procurement and much more, there are many potential opportunities for faculty outside of nursing to get involved. A detailed list of projects will be coming out soon.

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