June 4, 2014
The University of Mary's School of Health Sciences and the Division of Nursing are proud to announce that the university has been approved by the Higher Learning Commission to offer its second doctoral degree - the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) - to continue to meet the health care challenges emerging today. Responding to recommended changes in the nursing field, the university received approval for its application that its current Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) degree be advanced from a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) to a DNP. The University of Mary is only the second school in North Dakota to offer a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) to DNP program of study in the area of nurse practitioner. This new doctorate in nursing will be a further addition to the university's extensive health care programs dedicated to educating top-tier medical professionals. To meet the growing demands and complexity of health care delivery, a 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine called for a doubling of the number of doctoral prepared nurses by 2020. "This approval represents not only remarkable effort and dedication and thorough preparation for the Higher Learning Commission site visit, but also daily attention to offering excellence at all levels of nursing education," said Dr. Diane Fladeland, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Mary. "We owe gratitude and congratulations to Dr. Billie Madler, Director of Graduate and Distance Education in the Division of Nursing; Dr. Jodi Roller, Dean of the School of Health Sciences; Dr. Glenda Reemts, Division Chair, and all nursing faculty, as well as Dr. Kim Long, who worked with the faculty in preparation of the (application) report and visit," she said. This new offering will amplify the educational opportunities that the university currently offers, Madler said, meeting challenges such as shortages of primary care professionals in the state. The University of Mary's first doctorate, established in 2003 with the first graduating class in 2006, is the Doctorate of Physical Therapy. "This new doctorate is another wonderful addition to the University of Mary," said Monsignor James Shea, president of the University of Mary. "Nursing education was one of the university's founding cornerstones, and continues to be a vital and growing legacy of the Benedictine Sisters' desire to serve the needs of the people. "We are tremendously proud of this long tradition of excellence. This new doctorate is another step forward, in a time of exciting growth for the university, to serve the expanding and complex needs of our community, of western North Dakota, the state, region and beyond." The doctoral program is currently underway with its first cohort, Roller said. Its first doctoral class is expected to graduate in May 2016.