The Doctor of Nursing (DNP) program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing has been ranked No. 26 on the U.S. News & World Report list of DNP programs in the magazine’s 2022 edition of Best Graduate Schools.
This ranking places the UTHSC College of Nursing DNP program in the top 8% of all 357 DNP programs nationwide, ranked and unranked. Among the 163 DNP programs ranked by the magazine, the latest listing places UTHSC’s program in the top 16%. The DNP is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice.
To determine the rankings, U.S. News & World Report uses a combination of statistics and expert assessment data, including input and output measures. The input measures reflect the quality of students, faculty, and resources. Output data include information, such as exam pass rates and job placement. Expert assessment comes from surveys of those knowledgeable in academia and practice for each profession. Although the list is for 2022, the ranking process occurred in 2021.
“The fact that our college was ranked so highly based on these measures is truly a reflection of the quality I see exemplified each day among our faculty, students, and staff. I could not be more proud of this achievement, especially as it has occurred during a time of great challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-Bc, FAANP.
“The exit survey from our graduates rated our program as equal or higher than comparable universities around the country,” said DNP Program Director Bobby Bellflower, DNSc, NNP. “To have U.S. News & World Report confirm that quality from multiple perspectives, points to the quality education that advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) receive at UTHSC College of Nursing. Many of our graduates provide care to underserved and underrepresented communities, where health care can be a scarce commodity. The faculty and staff at the College of Nursing have worked hard to develop state-of-the-art teaching strategies to enable APRN students to deliver high-quality, safe care to our communities.”
The College of Nursing has long shown leadership in the preparation of advanced practice nurses. In 2005, UTHSC opened the first DNP program in Tennessee, which was the second in the nation. The program is known for the variety of specializations it offers. With the recent addition of the Nurse-Midwifery concentration, UTHSC educates nurses in eight specific DNP concentrations. In addition, three dual concentrations are available, including a program focusing on pediatric primary care and pediatric acute care.
To become a nurse practitioner, a nurse must complete a master’s or doctoral degree program and have advanced clinical training beyond the initial professional registered nurse (RN) preparation. In 2018, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties committed to move all entry-level nurse practitioner education to the DNP degree by 2025.
Multiple studies show that nurse practitioners provide care that is patient-centered, effective, affordable and comparable in quality to that of their physician colleagues. As clinicians, they blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management. In the United States, more than 30,000 new nurse practitioners completed their academic programs in 2018–2019. Nearly 90% of all nurse practitioners are certified in an area of primary care, and 69% of all nurse practitioners deliver primary care.