The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a doctor of nursing practice for Wichita State University.
It's a new degree for the state of Kansas and relatively new in the nation, said Juanita Tate, chair of WSU’s School of Nursing and associate dean of the College of Health Professions.
WSU and KU worked together this past year for approval of the degree, said Tate. WSU has been lobbying for the advanced nurse practitioner credential since early 2005. With a projected shortage of general care medical doctors and an increase in elderly as baby boomers age, advanced practice nurses and other health professionals are essential to help deal with the burgeoning demand, Tate said.
“It was approved because of the great need for nursing leadership in the state of Kansas,” said Tate.
A graduate of the program may be prepared as a nurse practitioner, a clinical nurse specialist, a nurse educator or a nurse administrator and executive nurse leader.
The WSU School of Nursing will continue to offer master’s nursing education and has about 150 students enrolled each year in that program.
The school has also worked for the past several years on increasing capacity in all levels of nurse training. Until 2004, the baccalaureate program’s class size had been capped at 80 students per year (40 in fall semester and 40 in spring) for more than a decade.
External corporate sponsorship from Wesley Medical Center/HCA Cares provided for 10 additional students for the spring 2004, fall 2004 and spring 2005 classes, and Via Christi Regional Medical Center provided funding for 10 additional students for fall 2005.
In 2006, the university provided funding to increase the class size to 60 students per semester and created an early admission option for freshmen that guarantees at least 30 students, at time of admission to WSU, a place in the nursing class contingent upon completion of at least 48 credit hours of their prerequisite course work at WSU with a 3.0 GPA and meeting all other requirements for admission.
The same year a $350,000 grant from the Kansas Board of Regents helped fund more faculty and classroom space. And in fall 2007, WSU created an accelerated baccalaureate nursing program that will begin in May 2008 at the new South Campus in Derby.