Ashland University establishes Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree program

AU Press Release

Ashland University has received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree Program through the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“I want to congratulate everyone for all of their hard work in getting this dream to come true,” said AU Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew. “The granting of this new doctoral program moves the University forward with its graduate programming and raises the academic quality and reputation of the institution.”

Pettigrew noted that Dr. Faye Grund, dean of the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the nursing faculty, have been the driving force behind the new program.

“We are very excited that we will be able to offer this new online program and we expect this will be a very popular program because of the demand for primary care providers,” Grund said.

“The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is a graduate level educational program leading to a practice doctorate for baccalaureate and master’s prepared registered nurses,” Grund said. “The initial specialty focus of the program will prepare nurses for the advanced practice role of Family Nurse Practitioner. The DNP degree also will prepare graduates to assume roles as faculty for colleges of nursing.”

According to Grund, the University will begin offering the DNP classes as part of the summer session that starts in June, with that cohort having an application deadline of May 5. 

Dr. Brooks assumed the role of program director in November 2013. She joined AU after 15 years of practice and research experience, and most recently practiced in general Women’s Health and Obstetrics/Gynecology in a private practice in Cleveland. Since graduating from Case Western Reserve University with a Doctorate of Philosophy, she has worked in a variety of health care settings, including inner city community health clinics, as well as large hospitals and academic health centers. 

As a clinical researcher, her program of research includes insulin resistance, metabolism, diabetes in pregnancy and health disparities.

Brooks said AU’s new online DNP program delivers an innovative curriculum from post-baccalaureate to doctorate, emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration among health care providers, hospitals, community leaders and policy makers.

“Ashland’s program of study centers on knowledge and skill building in the areas of scholarly practice, practice improvement, innovation and testing of care delivery models, evaluation of health outcomes, health policy, leadership in healthcare delivery and quality improvement, and clinical expertise for advanced nursing practice,” she said.

Brooks said the majority of coursework for the new program will be delivered online with the exception of an orientation course and clinical courses that will require on-site time. The BSN to DNP is with a specialization as a Family Nurse Practitioner and will take three years of full-time study with a part-time option available. 

The MSN to DNP is for advanced practice nurses with a certificate of authority to practice and will take two years of full-time study with a part-time option available.

The DNP program also includes a scholarly project where students will conduct an evidence-based practice project aimed at improving practice and patient outcomes in the student’s area of interest, specialty or expertise.

The clinical coursework begins in the second year of the program and includes a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical hours at selected primary care and acute care clinical sites serving families across the lifespan.