New Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Puts Pace University on Forefront of National Movement

Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing recently became one of only three institutions approved by New York State to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The others are Columbia University and the University of Rochester.


Cara Halstead Cea, Pace University


Pace’s Lienhard School of Nursing becomes one of only three colleges in NY State to offer the degree

Level of preparation for advanced nursing practice roles is transitioning from masters to doctorate by 2015

NEW YORK, NY – Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing recently became one of only three institutions approved by New York State to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The others are Columbia University and the University of Rochester.

The new DNP program will prepare nurses for the highest level of nursing practice. The degree is designed for those in advanced levels of direct clinical practice and in areas that support clinical practice administration, organizational management and leadership, and policy development.

Recruitment for the fall DNP program has begun. The school is accepting inquiries and applications at, or (914) 773-3552.

A trend to change. Across the nation, nursing is moving in the direction of other health professions in the transition to the DNP. In October 2004, the members of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the major voice of baccalaureate and higher degree nursing education programs, called for moving the level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice (ANP) roles from the master’s degree to the doctorate level by 2015. The AACN now recommends DNP programs for educating APNs and other nurses seeking top clinical positions. In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences also called for nursing to develop a non-research, clinical doctorate to prepare expert practitioners who can also serve as clinical faculty members, a need that the new DNP addresses.

DNP graduates will likely fill practice-leadership roles in a variety of settings, becoming managers of quality initiatives, executives in healthcare organizations, directors of clinical programs, and faculty members responsible for clinical program delivery and clinical teaching.

Research has established a clear link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes. According to the AACN, changing demands in health care require that nurses serving in specialty positions have the highest possible levels of scientific knowledge and practice expertise. These changes include: increased use of evidence-based practice, increasing complexity of patient care, rising national concerns about quality of care and patient safety, the national nursing shortage and shortages of doctorally prepared nursing faculty members to teach new nurses, and increasing educational expectations for the preparation of other health professionals.

Impact on nursing education and practice. Currently, advanced practice nurses, including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists, are typically prepared in master’s degree programs, some of which carry a credit load equivalent to doctoral degrees in the other health professions. DNP curricula build on current master’s programs by providing education in areas including evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems thinking.

The DNP focuses especially on providing leadership for evidence-based practice. This requires competence in translating research into practice, evaluating evidence, applying research in decision-making, and implementing viable clinical innovations to change practices. DNP-prepared nurses will work alongside nurse researchers prepared in PhD, DNSc and other research-focused nursing doctorates to advance the science and practice of nursing.
About the Lienhard School of Nursing: With classrooms and laboratories in culturally diverse urban and suburban settings, Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing (LSN) is committed to innovation and excellence in education, research, and practice in primary health care. With more than 600 students enrolled in baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, all approved by the New York State Education Department and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, LSN partners with communities to foster human growth and dignity and provide primary care. The School is devoted to preparing individuals, families, and communities at local, national, and international levels to meet health care demands now and in the future.

About Pace University: For 101 years Pace University has combined exceptional academics with professional experiences and the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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