AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (July 15) approved a new doctoral degree program in Nursing Practice (DNP) for the UT Health Science Center – San Antonio. The proposed program must still be approved by The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The DNP would replace the current advance practice concentrations in the Master of Nursing (MSN) degree and provide an alternative to the research-focused doctorate (Ph.D.) for nurses who desire a terminal degree in specialty nursing practice. The purpose of the DNP program is to prepare graduates for advanced practice, advanced administrative or public health role.
The shift is expected to draw nursing students and faculty to the medically underserved regions of South Texas and enable nurses already working in South Texas to pursue a DNP education.
The program will focus on indirect and direct care, with seven tracks designed for post-baccalaureate and post-master’s nurses in primary and acute care, administrative leaders in hospitals and public health leaders in other health care settings. Students in the program are expected to graduate in three years.
The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.9 billion (FY 2010) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's healthcare professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.