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New UW Nursing Program Receives Full Accreditation

November 21, 2014
two women use a stethoscope on a man
UW DNP Program Director Ann Marie Hart, left, provides hands-on clinical training to DNP students David Wells of Rock Springs and Teresa Thompson of Scottsbluff, Neb. Following a lengthy self-study and on-site visit, the DNP Program was accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program has been fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, an achievement that will strengthen delivery of both primary and mental health care in Wyoming.

Without national accreditation, UW’s DNP Program graduates would not be able to sit for the national certification exam and would not be able to obtain licensure to practice as nurse practitioners in Wyoming or elsewhere, says DNP Program Director Ann Marie Hart, an associate professor in the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing.

UW’s Board of Trustees, in 2010, approved the new DNP Program as part of a national shift to offer extended training for nurse practitioners and in response to Wyoming’s health care needs, says Mary Burman, School of Nursing dean.

The DNP Program offers two options: family nurse practitioner (FNP), which prepares nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice as primary care providers; and family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (FPMHNP), which prepares NPs to practice as mental health providers. Both FNPs and FPMHNPs are prepared to diagnose and manage illness, including prescription of medications.

To be accredited, UW completed a lengthy self-study that took into account not only the program's curriculum and faculty, but also the leadership and resources at the School of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the university.

“So, receiving national accreditation truly reflects that the program is part of a strong school, college and university,” Hart says.

A CCNE-appointed team also conducted an on-site visit during which it met with faculty members who teach in the DNP Program and across the School of Nursing, as well as with college and UW administrators. Additionally, the site visitors met with students in the program, and also nurse practitioners and physicians from around the state, who help provide clinical education to students and may eventually hire DNP Program graduates.

“In addition to national accreditation being an important milestone for the DNP Program and its graduates, it also is important for the state and its citizens, who will ultimately receive primary and mental health care from our DNP-prepared nurse practitioners,” Hart says.

The first DNP students enrolled in the fall semester of 2012; the program’s first graduates will enter the workforce in 2015.

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