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Idaho State University to offer first nursing doctoral program in Idaho

June 27, 2012
ISU Marketing and Communications

The Idaho State University Division of Health Sciences has broken new ground again, this time by offering a Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing through the ISU School of Nursing beginning in January 2013.

The program was approved by the Idaho State Board of Education at its June meeting in Idaho Falls.

"It is very exciting to see the Ph.D. in nursing officially approved by the State Board," said Linda Hatzenbuehler, Associate Vice President and Executive Dean of the ISU Division of Health Sciences. "Plans for this program have been in the works on the ISU campus for a very long time, and the professional community has been anxiously awaiting it. Idaho will finally have doctoral education in nursing!"

"This is the first doctoral program, specifically the first Ph.D. program in nursing in Idaho," said Karen Neill, Associate Director for Graduate Studies and Professor in the ISU School of Nursing. "Our graduates will be able to conduct original research, contribute to the effectiveness of our health care system, and advance the art and science of the practice of nursing."

Six Ph.D. students will be admitted in spring 2013 as the ISU School of Nursing begins small and then grows the program. There is a huge demand for nurses with doctorates nationally and within the state of Idaho.

"Creating the new nursing Ph.D. program is really important, primarily because we need to educate future nurses, and that requires advanced degrees," Neill said. "There has been a high demand for the doctoral education of nurses in Idaho. Before now, nurses had to leave Idaho to earn a doctorate. Now they can stay in Idaho, raise their families and access quality education."

A doctorate is the terminal degree for nursing. Besides the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing degree, there is also the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which ISU plans to offer in the future, Neill said.

"I am grateful to all of the professional nurses who have contributed over the years to this project in one way or the other," Hatzenbuehler said. "I look forward to welcoming our first class of students."



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