News Release| Doctor of Nursing Practice Program; Cal State L.A.

January 19, 2011

Cal State L.A. selected to take first step toward a Doctor of Nursing Practice program

 DNP pilot program to address potential shortfall of nurses

 Los Angeles, CA Cal State L.A. has been selected to begin planning for a joint Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) pilot program to launch as early as fall 2012, pending approval from the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees next week.   

Due to California’s pressing need for nursing faculty, the state adopted AB 867 (2010) that allowed the CSU to offer an independent DNP. The CSU already awards 60 percent of bachelor’s level nursing degrees in California, and has several excellent master’s level programs.

“Cal State L.A. has many qualities that will contribute to the richness of a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. We have a long history in graduate education and advanced practice, and subsequently have accumulated knowledge and experience in this area,” said Cynthia Hughes, director of the School of Nursing at CSULA. “We have a wonderfully diverse and motivated student body from which to draw that will ultimately contribute to enriching the diversity of professional nursing at the advanced practice level.”

According to Hughes, CSULA is located uniquely on the edge of Los Angeles, enabling the campus to serve a distinct geographical region.

“One of our specialty options, the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option, was unique in the L.A. regional area for many years. We also have six other advanced practice options including a long-standing graduate option in education,” explained Hughes. “We bring to the table an extensive network of established clinical and educational resources, and a significant number of successful alumni who are widely respected in the community and would support this endeavor fully.”

Hughes also said that CSULA is housed in a “supportive university environment that has nurtured doctoral education at this level for a significant time period.” The University first launched its renowned nursing program in the early 1950s.

The U.S. Bureau of Health Professionals projects California will have a shortfall of more than 100,000 nurses within in a decade. A key challenge to closing this projected shortfall has been a limited number of slots available in California nursing programs, which is tied to a limited number of individuals qualified to serve as nursing faculty.

“The nursing shortage is a complicated problem, and while some small gains have been identified in the last few years in California, the projections for the future indicate a continuing nursing shortage,” said Hughes. “Currently, we have many students interested in the major. The supply is there, but nursing continues to be an expensive educational program to run and nursing education, unlike other majors, is monitored strictly through state legislation and accreditation standards, such as mandating low student/faculty ratios.”

Hughes also discussed some of the other hurdles related to nursing education in California and why it is crucial for the CSU system to offer DNPs, such as:

      * resources in the public sector are visibly limited and educational expansion has been uneven at best over the last few years;

     * clinical resources, where students can practice and study, are restricted by community demand;

    * increasing higher acuity of hospitalized patients, which results in new graduates having to practice at an extremely high skill level;

    * hospitals have to assume an expensive orientation and educational role for new graduates in order to meet these challenges.

There are three proposed joint DNP programs to be planned at a total of six CSU campuses throughout the state. The doctorate programs will build on the CSU faculty expertise and campus resources based in existing nursing departments.

Each DNP program is subject to the CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed’s approval and determination of need and feasibility, and must demonstrate that qualified faculty, financial support, facilities, and information resources are sufficient to establish and maintain the programs. Prior to chancellor approval, programs will seek professional and regional accreditation, as well as the recommendation of the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

Click here to find photos of CSULA nursing students training in a lab.

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Working for Californiaa since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 215,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.