Creating a Program That Is Easily Accessible and Affordable While Maintaining Quality Outcomes

Monday, 30 October 2017: 1:35 PM

Judy L. LeFlore, PhD, MS
College of Nursing and Health Innovation, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA

The DNP was first approved by deans and directors as an appropriate degree for the nursing profession in the fall 2004 meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). As part of that resolution, it was also described as the professional entry to practice degree to replace the specialty level of master’s practitioners. The intent was to provide education credentials in parallel to those in other disciplines, such as pharmacy and physical therapy.

Since that time, the demand for doctorally-prepared nurses has continued to grow. According AACN’s 2016 “Fact Sheet”, there are approximately 289 DNP programs offered nation-wide and despite more programs availability, there has been an increased enrollment year over year.

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has been developing and refining its methodology for scaling up exceptional in seat degrees to the on-line environment since 2008, working first with the RN-BSN population. Academic Partnership (AP) has assisted the UTA and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation (CONHI) with online preparedness of programs with process mapping and process improvement to maximize organizational efficiency for supporting the online student. Concurrently, AP’s Academic Services team has assisted the CONHI with online program design, blueprinting, and course development and conversion for program.

Not only have we learned a lot along the way, but the resources of technology have made quantum leaps that allow increasing flexibility and creativity in our methods. Our faculty members and Instructional Designers from AP are national leaders in harnessing new technology for the benefit of distance education. The process for preparing a degree offering is neither quick nor easy, using our methods. Faculty has spent more than a year meticulously dissecting each course, its objectives, assignments, rubrics for evaluation, etc. to reach the current point of implementation. In collaboration with AP, they have designed the curriculum to transition to an accelerated on-line program that will align with the current on-campus program. The course descriptions and course outcomes adhere to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s essentials for doctoral education for advanced practice registered nurses. The results are both a more sophisticated in seat and online offering. All students benefit when our educators conduct such rigorous course review and refinement, because the same course is taught in seat as will be offered online.

We are proud to move our DNP online to serve first our own citizens by preparing advanced practice nurses to distinctive levels of leadership in their home communities and later to the nation to fill the critical void in faculties who can guide the sophisticated education of the advanced practice nurse to become a DNP.

The UT Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation has forged a decade-long history of successful partnerships in delivering innovative educational programs that meet the needs of working nursing professionals. More than 10,000 nurses have graduated from UT Arlington online programs since they began in 2009. With its full array of on-campus and online nursing programs serving approximately 17,000 students, the CONHI is the largest public college of nursing in the United States. It is distinguished for its educational excellence, and received the prestigious Center of Excellence designation from the National League for Nursing in 2015.