Development of a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Major at Duke University School of Nursing

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Kathryn Trotter, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, CNM, FNP-C, FAANP
School of Nursing, Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC, USA
Tennessee Department of Health; Division of Family Health and Wellness, State of Tennessee, Nashville, TN, USA
Clarann Weinert, SC, PhD, MA, MS, BSN, RN, FAAN
College of Nursing, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA


The focus on women’s health, including improved understanding of the unique health needs of women, has increased over the past few decades.  Further, the demand for women’s providers is escalating with many new women enrollees seeking primary care services via the Affordable Care Act legislation. (Report on Activities Related to “Improving Women’s Health” As Required by the Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148, Section 3509), 2013). Specialized knowledge of women’s health care is heightened when women also have multiple chronic conditions. (Weisman and Chuang, 2010; NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, 2010).


To develop and initiate a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) major within the MSN program at Duke University School of Nursing. This requires leadership and organizational skills on many levels as well as curriculum design and economic planning. The ultimate goal is a sustainable program.


  1. Conducted an internal and external needs assessment for the WHNP major within the MSN program. HRSA ANE grant application submitted early 2014.
  2. Through the Experienced Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (ENFLA) sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau International/Chamberlain College of Nursing Center for Excellence in Nursing Education, the scholar participated in a triad team of Scholar/Mentor/Faculty.  The 12-month leadership program helped to sharpen leadership and administrative skills.
  3. Created a business plan, to include internal marketing of the program to DUSON administration, faculty, as well as to current and potential students.
  4. Led a Team-Based Project focused on initiating the WHNP major.  Included multiple stakeholders, which will contribute to an improved overall product.
  5. Measured impact and outcomes in ongoing fashion.


  1. Enroll 8 in the 01 Year, 10 in the 02 Year, and 12 in the 03 year.
  2. Develop and implement innovative and sustainable IPE didactic and clinical experiences for students in the WHNP, PA and DPT graduate programs that define and validate the essential competencies necessary to provide high-quality, evidenced-based care to women.
  3. Evaluate knowledge and attitudes of scholars and graduates, skill development, and postgraduate board certification and employment.


  1. Received HRSA grant approval: July 2015-Celebration event for stakeholders, Project coordinator hired.
  2. Faculty voted approval of new courses x 4. First course (Gender and Women’s Health) completed August 2014. Next new course is slated for January 2015.
  3. Marketing: Launched online AANP SmartBrief Ads, and regional and national professional meeting exhibits.
  4. Students: Well over target with 20 enrolled in the Spring 2015 cohort, and 12 in the Fall 2015 cohort.
  5. Evaluate student/faculty impact.  Pre-test on knowledge and IPE interaction completed with first cohort, May 2015. 13/17 completed surveys. Post graduation, a repeat survey is planned.
  6. HRSA ANE Refunded for year 2.
  7. Key leadership strategies: Quarterly faculty meetings-check in, creation of welcome video by faculty to new students. PI has observed and participated in Physician Assistant teaching events in order to foster the relationship between schools and plan future IPE events.

 Conclusion: This was successful and an ideal leadership project for an experienced faculty member/leader candidate. It required many skills including:  vision for the WHNP role within the school and within the profession, organizational skills, relationship building and networking with administrators, preceptors, and students, building a marketing and economic plan, and curriculum design. Full program outcomes will be determined in year 2 and 3.