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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Doctor of Nursing Program: Local, National Trend

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Across the country, more and more nurses are earning Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. These are patient-oriented doctorates focusing on clinical care rather than academic research. Three Texas Health Resources nurses recently completed these degrees at Texas Christian University.

The movement toward increased higher education among nurses represents a national trend designed to take what nurse scientists are discovering in labs and at academic healthcare institutions and apply it to the bedside.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree has exploded on the scene in the last five years, with the number of programs nationally mushrooming from 20 in 2006 to more than 120 in 2009. Until recently, the most common doctorate-level degree in nursing was a doctorate of philosophy in nursing science — an academic and research-based degree.

The trend toward equipping more advanced-practice nurses with Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees emerged as a result of recommendations in “The Future of Nursing,” a landmark study conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study emphasized the need for continued lifelong learning and concluded that nurses should be full partners — with physicians and other health professionals — in redesigning health care.

My congratulations to Texas Health Resources’ most recent Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates. I thank you for all you are doing to combine innovation with health care delivery and translate the latest evidence from literature into practice.

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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