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Loyola University of New Orleans Introduces Doctor of Nursing Program

A major milestone is on the horizon for Loyola University New Orleans. According to a press release issued today, it is about to become the first university in the state of Louisiana to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program has been in the works at Loyola since May, when the college's board of trustees voted unanimously to add it to the School of Nursing's curriculum, and it is part of a grand tradition for the college. Since opening its doors in 1979, Loyola's School of Nursing has prided itself on innovations in administrative and vocational nursing degrees and on "keeping pace with dramatic changes in nursing education." Those dramatic changes include the rising career complexity of nurses over the years and the well-earned authority that comes with it -- plus, as a result, rising educational needs ranging from associates to graduate degrees. This new graduate degree offers a new level education, as well as of convenience: in an effort both to teach nurses across the country and to alleviate the stress of a rigid schedule, the course will be offered entirely online.

Ann Cary (Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., A-CCC), Director of Loyola's School of Nursing, mentions in the press release that a major focus of the program will be new and innovative technology in health care systems and how they translate to effective patient care. "The application of informatics, organizational analysis and implementation science," she says, "is critical to health care effectiveness. We intend to incorporate the use of integrated behavioral health approaches in primary care practices as a method to address effective health care delivery." This is vital now more than ever in Louisiana, a state hit hard by the current nursing shortage. Says Cary: "Sixty-three of 64 Louisiana parishes are designated as having shortages in one or more health professions. Producing more knowledgeable primary care providers is a logical extension of the university's mission of social justice, and to our commitment to health care for the state and the nation."

All that faces the program now is its pending final approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Upon that, the online nursing degree program will start enrolling its first class of 25 students for Summer of 2010.

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