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New Mexico State University

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NMSU’s doctorate in nursing practice program receives national accreditation

New Mexico State University’s doctorate in nursing practice in the College of Health and Social Services’ School of Nursing received national accreditation for five years from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Pam Schultz, director of the School of Nursing and associate dean of the College of Health and Social Services, made the announcement this week.

Woman on the right shows three women an oxygen mask.
Student nurse Gloria Sevilla, right, introduces fifth-semester nursing students to some of the oxygen equipment they will use in nursing simulation laboratories during a nursing fair event held at the College of Health and Social Services building. NMSU’s doctorate in nursing practice has received national accreditation. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

NMSU’s Doctorate in Nursing Practice has specialty tracks in Family Nurse Practitioner, Family/Psychiatric Mental Health, Adult/Geriatric Nursing and Public/Community Health Nursing.

Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate and residency programs in nursing. The NMSU School of Nursing achieved all four accreditation standards: mission and governance, institutional commitment and resources, curriculum and teaching-learning practices and assessment and achievement of program outcomes. There were no compliance concerns.

“New Mexico State University’s School of Nursing has been a pioneer in the state of New Mexico by developing flagship nursing programs that address the increasing complex health care needs of culturally-diverse populations,” said Donna Wagner, interim dean of the College of Health and Social Services. “The faculty and staff of CHSS are proud of the fact that the School of Nursing started the first DNP in the region. DNP’s are of particular importance in a medically underserved state like New Mexico, since this program rigorously trains advanced clinical nurses to become primary care providers.

“Our nursing leadership and faculty have created a preeminent accredited academic program,” Wagner said. “We’re proud of our graduates and look forward to many more external recognitions of the quality of our faculty, students and leaders in nursing.”

The DNP is a doctoral degree for nurses at the highest level of nursing practice. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has proposed that the DNP degree will be the level of entry for all advanced practice nurses by 2015.

Wagner said the changing demands of today’s complex health care environment, outlined in recent reports from the Institute of Medicine, require that nurses serving in specialty positions have the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible. Nurses are constantly working with individuals who have a high level of preparation in their respective fields – physicians, pharmacists and other health providers.

The effectiveness of nurses is directly related to the amount and type of education they receive, and recent research has established a clear link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes, Wagner said.

NMSU’s School of Nursing online Ph.D. program prepares graduates to pursue careers as leaders in nursing research, education, practice and health policy. Wagner said the program develops nursing knowledge with a focused emphasis on meeting the health care needs of diverse populations on the U.S.-Mexico border and in rural communities.

During the accreditation review process, NMSU hosted an onsite assessment of the program in February 2014. Currently, NMSU’s School of Nursing has 62 DNP and 30 Ph.D. students. The school’s bachelor’s and master’s programs also are accredited by CCNE.