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Commission accredits Nevada universities’ collaborative DNP program


In 2010, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno joined forces to offer a collaborative DNP degree. The program also was recently accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The process to earn accreditation began almost two years ago when the program began a required extensive self-study to address the accreditation standards set forth by the commission. Although official notification of the accreditation was received in November, the accreditation is effective retroactively to the first date the commission representatives visited the program in March 2012.

“That is great news because it means that the program’s first 20 graduates who received their degrees in May have graduated from a CCNE-accredited program,” Patsy L. Ruchala, RN, DNSc, professor and director of the University of Nevada, Reno, Orvis School of Nursing, said in a news release. “It really speaks to the quality of the program that it has been accredited for our very first graduating class.”

The unique collaboration of the nursing schools at the two universities is designed to serve as a model for other states. In July 2011, the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the program a three-year grant of $685,000, in part, to continue to strengthen the successful collaboration. The funds also will help the schools refine the curriculum, recruit and graduate culturally diverse and well-qualified applicants, and evaluate the program.

“We have been successful in building a program that serves as a model for … how to collaborate to offer quality programs that meet state and national needs,” Ruchala said in the release.

For information, contact Sarah Keating at the University of Nevada, Reno, at 775-682-7163 or or contact Tish Smyer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 702-895-5952 or


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