In August, 2014 Wagner College’s Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing enrolled the first cohort in its new Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
Admission to the DNP cohort for the first 2 1/2 years is limited to those who have already earned their master of science in nursing degree and have national board certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The cohorts will be required to complete an additional 39 credit hours (on top of their master’s credits) for the DNP degree. The program is designed for working professionals who will be expected to take two courses each semester, both of which will meet the same evening each week. Based on this, Wagner’s first-cohort DNP students can expect to complete their doctorates in 2 years, 3 months.
“Wagner College is not the only DNP program in the area, but we have assets that set us apart from everyone else,” said Professor Kathleen Ahern, Wagner’s director of graduate nursing studies. “First, our DNP will focus on disaster preparedness and population health — and that makes us unique.
“Many of our courses include an extra focus on disaster preparedness — in biology, for instance, we will study ways to handle a bioterrorism event, and our course on post-traumatic stress will place special emphasis on recovering in the aftermath of a terrorist attack,” Ahern said. “And our course on disaster preparedness systems will give students an in-depth exposure to the Incident Command System for Healthcare/Hospitals. Students will obtain a certificate of completion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after that course.”
Ahern noted that students who have enrolled in Wagner College’s existing master’s nursing program have achieved a 95 percent completion rate because of the individualized attention and support they get from faculty members.
“All of the students in our graduate program are working. Many have families. We know how demanding it is for people with very busy lives to pursue a graduate degree — and we know how to help them achieve their goals,” Ahern said.
Wagner’s nursing program uses an interdisciplinary faculty, which will help its doctoral students assume clinical roles that provide leadership in community settings. Among the program’s instructors from other Wagner departments are professors of biology and microbiology and a philosophy professor who specializes in medical ethics.
Another distinguishing feature of Wagner College’s DNP program will be its global learning experience. Every doctoral student will participate in one of the college’s clinical learning partnerships situated within a different culture. Wagner’s current partners include clinics in Haiti, Mexico and a Native American reservation in New Mexico.
Wagner College created its baccalaureate nursing program during World War II, graduating its first class in 1946. The nursing program was first accredited by the National League for Nursing in 1951. It has been offering the master of science in nursing degree since 1978. The Family Nurse Practitioner certification was first offered in 1995.
Wagner College’s Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing has been named by the National League for Nursing as a 2012-2016 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education in the category of Creating Environments that Enhance Student Learning and Professional Development.