UTHSC Announces Change in Degree Designation for DNSc Degree

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The UTHSC College of Nursing announces a change in degree designation for the Doctor of Nursing Science degree to become the Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Nursing announces a change in degree designation for the Doctor of Nursing Science degree to become the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Established as one of the nation’s first post-graduate practice doctoral programs in 1998, the UTHSC program has had a practice focus since its inception. Donna Hathaway, PhD, RN, dean of the UTHSC College of Nursing, commented, “As the number of DNSc degrees offered nationally increased, the majority of the programs have evolved into research degrees with the exception of our program. As a result, the American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) has recommended that there be two distinct doctorates, the research doctorate with a PhD or DNSc designation and the practice doctorate with a DNP designation; therefore, more universities are in the process of implementing DNP programs in addition to their existing research doctorates.”

“Also, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), our major accrediting body, is in the process of establishing standards for accrediting practice doctorate programs. This move will help ensure that the competencies expected from DNP graduates are consistent across programs,” Dr. Hathaway stated.

UTHSC Chancellor Bill Rice commented, “Since it began more than 100 years ago, our College of Nursing has been a leader in nursing education. We offered one of the first baccalaureate nursing programs in the country, one of the first nurse practitioner programs, and more recently, were among the first to offer a true post-graduate practice doctorate, our current DNSc program. We are pleased to have this opportunity to, once again, influence the future of the nursing profession.”

The first DNP program at UTHSC will begin in July 2005. During the interim, the UTHSC College of Nursing will review the curricula for both the practice and research doctorate programs specifically regarding how they might better complement one another.