Brandman University recently announced that its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).  Offered through the university’s School of Nursing and Health Professions, Brandman’s DNP is the first doctoral degree offered by the 58-year-old adult education institution.

Brandman University has introduced this program at a critical time for the U.S. health care system.  The nation’s growing nursing shortage has become especially acute among specialties requiring advanced practice designation, such as adult critical care, pediatric and neonatal acute care, and psychiatric care.  Against this backdrop, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has changed the level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice from a master’s degree to a clinical doctorate beginning in 2015. Today, less than 1 percent of the three million nurses in the United States have a doctoral degree, according to the Division of Nursing of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Brandman’s DNP degree is designed for the registered or advanced practice nurse who is ready to take on a leadership role in the professional clinical practice of nursing.  Program curriculum is based on an innovative, technology-enriched approach to create advanced practice clinical nursing experts who base decisions on the best evidence available to provide patient-centered, culturally appropriate care.

Coursework blends three instructional strategies to produce an engaged learning curriculum: immersion, practical experience and self-directed study. During three immersion sessions, students will spend up to four days at Brandman’s Irvine campus to work in teams with peers and mentors. To receive practical experience, students will complete internships or supervised clinical practice residencies conducted in the workplace.  Finally, all students will be required to complete self-directed study, including online lectures, discussions, social networking, demonstrations, tutorials, readings, or other homework.

Classes will begin in August 2010 for RNs with a master’s degree, and in January 2011 for RNs with a bachelor’s degree. For more information, visit www.brandman.edu/nursing.