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First DNP students in class

HATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Nursing recently welcomed the first students in the inaugural class of the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program.

Unlike the traditional research-based Ph.D in nursing program, whose focus is on knowledge generation, the DNP model ensures that evidenced-based knowledge makes its way in the healthcare arena.

“We believe that this program will fulfill a need within the profession for advanced practice nurses who can provide leadership as advanced nurse practitioners, nurse administrators and educators,” said Dr. Katherine Nugent, director of the School of Nursing at USM. “The doctor of nursing practice degree, which is the highest level of educational preparation for advanced practice nurses, provides the scientific knowledge base and leadership skills to contribute to improved health care outcomes through the translation of research into practice.”

The USM School of Nursing and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) have partnered to grant the DNP degree through a consortium model. Other schools in the consortium, Alcorn State University, Delta State University and the Mississippi University for Women, will share state resources, such as faculty, and will utilize classes taught by distance learning technology to each university in the consortium. Students will be able to take the core DNP classes at any of the five universities in the consortium and receive the degree from one of the two degree-granting schools, USM and UMMC.

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