UTHSC Adds Pediatric Neonatal Options to Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Program
Memphis, Tenn. (March 29, 2013) – Recently, Laura Talbot, PhD, EdD, RN, dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science
Center (UTHSC), announced the opening of a new advanced training option – the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) — in the Doctor of Nursing Practice
(DNP) Program at the UTHSC College of Nursing. Educating doctorally prepared nurse practitioners who can deliver health care is one important avenue to
pursue to meet the need for more primary care providers in Tennessee and the region.
“There is a shortage of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners to meet the health care needs of the children and neonates in
our state and region,” Dean Talbot noted. “The UTHSC College of Nursing is committed to educating doctorally prepared advanced practice nurses who are
equipped to meet these growing health needs.”
It can take 7 to 10 years of rigorous academic and clinical effort before physicians are ready to practice on their own. Educating and training nurses
with doctoral degrees gives patients in need faster access to qualified health professionals on the front lines of care. In addition, the Neonatal
Nurse Practitioner (NNP) option in the UTHSC College of Nursing is reopening admissions at the doctoral level this year. The urban areas of Tennessee
that offer specialized care of critically ill newborns have ongoing shortages of experienced practitioners in the neonatal intensive care units. UTHSC
is the only public university in Tennessee to offer the NNP program.
From April 1 through June 1, the UTHSC College of Nursing will accept applications for its first-ever Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) option and its
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) option, which graduated its most recent class in 2011. Application packets are available from the college via email
to Roylynn Germain (RGermain@uthsc.edu) or Jamie Overton ( JOverton@uthsc.edu) and by phone at (901) 448-6125. Classes for the PNP and NNP options begin on August 1,
“The DNP program is primarily an online curriculum open to applicants with either baccalaureate [BSN] or master’s [MSN] degrees in nursing,” said Dean
Talbot. “Since the DNP candidates complete most of their academic work online, with only a limited, required on-campus component, they can choose to
work part-time while they study for the DNP,” she observed. “The online classes offer students flexibility in determining their own living
arrangements, schedule of study, and timing of engagement in coursework. Plus their clinical practicums are arranged within reasonable proximity of
where students reside,” she stated.
The PNP option anticipates accepting up to eight students, while the NNP option expects to enroll about six the first year. The small class size will
provide students with individualized instruction from expert clinicians in these areas. DNP students can graduate in four to six semesters, depending
upon whether they pursue full-time or part-time study, and whether they are already certified as an advanced practice nurse. Thus, the UTHSC College of
Nursing expects that students in the inaugural PNP class and the NNP class will begin to graduate in spring 2015. These programs of study also include
pathways for nurses with current advanced practice credentials and for those wishing to obtain initial certification.
The ideal candidate for the PNP or NNP option has a desire to improve the health of children or neonates through an advanced nursing practice role.
Applicants are evaluated on their potential or ability for functioning in the advanced practice role. They must demonstrate strong clinical skills,
critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative abilities with other health professionals, and nursing leadership. Academic requirements
include a BSN or MSN degree, and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
The UTHSC DNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to
take national certification exams in their specialty area. Susan Patton, DNSc, PNP-BC, FAANP, associate professor in the Department of Advanced
Practice and Doctoral Studies, will be coordinating both the PNP and NNP options.
The UTHSC College of Nursing is the leading producer of nursing faculty and graduate nurses in the Mid-South region. With nearly 5,200 alumni, the
college is consistently cited on the U.S. News & World Report annual list of America’s Best Graduate Schools. The college provides nursing
education and training at all levels, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral [BSN, MSN and DNP]. In addition to the PNP and NNP options, DNP candidates
may choose to focus on other options that include Acute Care, Family Practice and Psychiatric/Mental Health.
As Tennessee’s only public, statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC)
is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the
region, by pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Offering a broad range of postgraduate and
selected baccalaureate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences,
Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains cohorts of medicine, pharmacy and/or allied health
students — in addition to medical residents and fellows — at its major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. Founded in 1911, during its
more than 100 years, UT Health Science Center has educated and trained more than 53,000 health care professionals in academic settings and health care
facilities across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.