The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program for the School of Nursing at UTMB. The School of

Nursing is also launching a new master’s degree program in Clinical Nurse Leadership. The programs commence in January, 2012.

“We are pleased that our Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program has been approved and look forward to enrolling our first students,” said Pamela G. Watson, dean of the School of Nursing. “This new degree program fills a need in the education of health care providers and recognizes the desire for nurses to pursue the highest achievement in clinical practice while developing leadership skills. The innovative master’s degree program in Clinical Nurse Leadership targets a need for nurses seeking a greater degree of management within the hospital setting.”

Only master’s degree-prepared nurse practitioners will be accepted into the DNP program, an online curriculum that will be offered part-time during the first five years. Most master’s programs for nurse practitioners require a minimum of 500 hours of clinical practice. The DNP is designed to provide more clinical practice hours and adds a concentration in leadership as well as quality improvement in patient outcomes. Previously the most advanced degree was a Ph.D., which traditionally has been focused on research.

The new master’s degree in Clinical Nurse Leadership is an innovative nursing education track and targets hospital nurses at the bedside to become leaders at the point of care. This degree will enable nurses to become leaders at the hospital unit level and achieve the best results in cost savings with an emphasis on patient safety and improving patient outcomes.
The new degree programs are a natural evolution for the UTMB School of Nursing, which had the first, and now one of the largest, nurse practitioner program in Texas.
Established in 1890, the School of Nursing at UTMB is the oldest nursing school in Texas and one of the first in the country directly affiliated with a university.