UT Austin Receives Final Approval for New Doctorate for Nurses

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has received final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to launch a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree program, a professional doctoral program designed to prepare graduates for today’s increasingly complex health care practice and clinical leadership roles.

The two concentrations of the DNP program are advanced practice and executive leadership, and the curriculum will emphasize clinical and leadership skills. Graduates will be prepared to translate nursing research into evidence-based standards of care while contributing to health care teams that improve patient outcomes.

“With our strong cadre of tenured and clinical faculty to lead the research and education efforts, I’m confident our DNP program will help meet the demand for more nurses who are able to provide leadership at the highest levels of health care in Central Texas and across the state,” said Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the School of Nursing.

The degree will complement the current professional practice doctoral programs at UT Austin such as the Pharm.D. and soon-to-be-offered M.D. The start date of the DNP program is scheduled for January 2016.

More than 15 years ago, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing identified the need for a doctorate for advanced practice nursing and recommended that the DNP become the terminal degree for nurse practitioners. The group recognized that the growth in scientific knowledge and sophisticated technology was contributing to the growing need for clinical career paths that would attract outstanding students and retain nurses in clinical careers.

In 2010 the Institute of Medicine published its report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” which affirmed this need and recommended doubling the number of doctoral-prepared nurses by 2020.

Currently there are more than 240 DNP programs nationwide and 11 DNP programs in Texas but none in Central Texas. The UT Austin program is designed for nurses who are employed full time. It will be offered in a hybrid format with a combination of on-campus and online learning experiences.

The School of Nursing plans to enroll 12 students in the first class. Professor Jane Champion will be the director of the program. For more information about the UT Austin School of Nursing's doctor of nursing practice degree, please contact Champion at jdchampion@mail.nur.utexas.edu.

For more information, contactAndria Brannon, School of Nursing, 512-471-5237.