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New DNP program gets go-ahead in North Carolina


In February, the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors authorized UNC at Chapel Hill School of Nursing to offer a graduate-level nursing degree, the doctor of nursing practice. Previously, there were no state-supported colleges or universities offering the DNP degree in North Carolina, which has 91 counties out of 100 that are designated as medically underserved areas, according to a news release.

The decision of the Board of Governors allows UNC and five other state-supported schools to join Duke University and Gardner Webb University in offering the most-advanced level of clinical education to North Carolina nurses.

“The health of our nation relies on the availability of a highly educated nursing workforce,” said Debra J. Barksdale, RN, PhD, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, CNE, FAANP, FAAN, an associate professor in the nursing school and director of the DNP program. “With this historic decision, UNC-Chapel Hill will educate nurses at the doctoral level to practice collaboratively with other care providers and offer care that is accessible, affordable and of the highest caliber.”

Along with three years of coursework, students will complete a capstone project in which they study new approaches to improve care delivery or patient care outcomes.

The School of Nursing plans to admit the first class of DNP students in the fall.

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