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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 10, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 2
Hopkins Doctoral Degree Creates Clinical Nursing Opportunities

By Lynn Schultz-Writsel
School of Nursing

The Doctor of Nursing Practice — the highest degree for nurses committed to clinical practice — is the latest academic program to be added to the array of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing educational options. Pending approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the first DNP class will launch in January 2008, with subsequent classes beginning each year in September.

The structure of the new program is designed to accommodate the needs of practicing nurses — those who currently are nurse administrators, public health practitioners or advanced-practice nurses caring for individuals — and who come to the program already having earned a master's degree. With the nursing shortage in mind, the School of Nursing task force that designed the program worked to create an educational opportunity amenable to nurses who work full time so they can enhance their expertise while retaining their health care, retirement and tuition benefits.

The innovative curriculum of 38 credits can be completed in four semesters, through both distance learning and executive-style immersion learning opportunities, including weeklong seminars. Key elements of the Johns Hopkins program are a mentoring component that will match students with Nursing faculty who share their areas of interest, and an interdisciplinary faculty drawn from the schools of Medicine, Public Health and Business as well as Nursing.

An additional feature of the program that should be attractive to the working nurse is the tuition: $9,500 per semester. The rate will be within the ranges of employer tuition reimbursement or can be offset by financial aid programs aimed at reducing the nursing shortage.

Like the PhD program that prepares nurse scientists to head interdisciplinary research teams, the DNP will prepare nurse leaders for multidisciplinary practice initiatives, including those focusing on patient safety, quality of care and performance improvement. By 2015, the DNP degree will be the level of educational preparation required by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for all advanced-practice nurses.

Kathleen White, interim director of the new program, says she looks forward to the impact the new DNP graduates will have on the health care system. "These new clinical leaders will be prepared to practice at the highest level of nursing," she said. "They will integrate nursing science with ethics and the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, organizational and public health sciences. And they will be among the vanguard of those solving the nursing shortage."

More information concerning the program can be found at; prospective candidates are also invited to contact White at 410-6147-4664 or the Admissions Office at 410-955-7548. The deadline for application to the cohort beginning January 2008 is Oct. 15.


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