WVWC announces Doctorate of Nursing Practice Degree during a time of nursing shortage

UPSHUR COUNTY, W.va. (WDTV) - Starting in the fall of 2018 West Virginia Wesleyan College is offering their first doctoral program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

"I think it's very exciting and I think it's very meaningful. We need nurses that are looking at not just, and I don't mean just in a diminutive way, I mean not what's just going on at the bedside. We need to look at what's going on in our government, what's going on in our nation to be able to be better prepared to continue nursing practice into the future" says Director of Education for United Hospital Center Brenda Conch.

"We have a tremendous nursing shortage throughout West Virginia which will continue to be exacerbated by the fact that baby boomers are retiring from nursing" says Director of the School of Nursing and MSN and DEP Programs at West Virginia Wesleyan College Susan Leight.

This Doctor of Nursing Practice is being offered online to students and with two tracks: advanced practice nursing track and nursing leadership track.

"We're really focused on providing advanced clinicians for the state as well as looking at transformational leadership, preparing people to be healthcare administrators, who bring change to their institutions" says Leight.

Director of the program says that nurse practitioners now may need to be prepared at the doctorate level as soon as 2025.

"Our accrediting agencies are asking that the entry into advanced practice be the doctoral degree and we really want to avail our students of the degree they will need for the future" says Leight.

Graduating with a DNP degree makes for a high-level employee, but Director of Education at U.H.C. says that it's what you're able to do with the degree that matters.

"When we look at that Doctorate of Nursing Practice, we are the bedside nurses that are working throughout our hospitals and our clinical facilities to make nursing heard" says Conch.