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Idaho State University now offers two doctoral nursing programs; nurse practitioner doctorate begins fall 2013

March 6, 2013
ISU Marketing and Communications

Idaho State University will now offer a second doctoral degree in nursing after the Idaho State Board of Education recently approved of a doctoral degree in advanced nursing practice.

"I am very pleased that our School of Nursing is taking a lead with national trends in post-baccalaureate nursing education by upgrading the credential of our nurse practitioners to a doctoral level," said Linda Hatzenbuehler, associate vice president and executive dean of the ISU Division of Health Sciences. "Nursing practitioners are key players in the current American health care work force. They will need additional education as they play an even greater role in the delivery of primary care under our new health care system."

ISU now offers two doctoral-level nursing programs. The first to be offered was a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in nursing that will begin this summer. The ISU nursing Ph.D. program was the state’s first nursing doctoral degree program and is the only nursing Ph.D. program in the state.

The Idaho State Board of Education approved the new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) practice degree at its February meeting. The new program will start this fall. 

ISU has a Memorandum of Understanding with Boise State University to ensure the delivery of practice doctorates that can benefit the state of Idaho. BSU's DNP practice doctorate will focus on indirect care, with emphasis in nursing care of populations. ISU's DNP program will focus on direct care advanced practice nursing.

"We look forward to working with BSU to bring practice doctoral education to the state of Idaho," said Mary Nies, associate dean of the Division of Health Sciences and the director of the ISU School of Nursing.

The ISU DNP will prepare clinical leaders for comprehensive clinical nursing practice that influences health outcomes for individuals, families, communities, or populations. The DNP is the terminal practice doctoral degree in nursing consistent with other health professions practice doctorates in audiology (Aud.D.), pharmacy (Pharm.D.)  and physical therapy (DPT),

The Ph.D. in nursing, on the other hand, will prepare students to conduct independent research, collaborate as scholars and leaders, and educate nurses for improving health and health care globally. The Ph.D. in nursing is designed with a research emphasis dedicated to extending nursing science and improving the delivery of health care for rural and vulnerable individuals, families and communities within existing cultural, geographical, and health care contexts.

"ISU is well positioned as a Carnegie-classified research high and teaching institution to offer the Ph.D. in nursing and the DNP practice doctorate in the School of Nursing, meeting national trends for nursing education in accredited nursing programs," Nies said "This is an exciting time for the School of Nursing as we move forward."

These doctoral programs will expand ISU School of Nursing post-baccalaureate graduate options, which also include the master's programs in nursing leadership and nursing education.   

For more information on the two ISU nursing doctoral programs contact the ISU School of Nursing, 208-282-2132 or



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