NY State Education Department Approves New Ph.D. Program in Nursing

New York State Education Department has given its stamp of approval, as of February 1, for a Ph.D. Program in Nursing at the Graduate Center. With this approval, the Graduate Center, CUNY, follows the national trend of converting the Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) to the Ph.D. degree as the recognized research-focused doctorate in nursing. The new program will help the nation meet the current and projected complex health demands of its culturally diverse people. Alumni will be prepared to pursue careers in clinical and health policy research and educate future leaders in the profession.

In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) cited fragmentation of care as a major health problem and proposed setting up interdisciplinary research teams, which require both nursing’s unique perspective and advanced nursing practice models of interdisciplinary care. At present there is a critical shortage of Ph.D.-prepared nurses to carry out IOM’s proposal, as there is a critical shortage of Ph.D.-prepared faculty in baccalaureate and graduate programs to develop the science and educate the next generation for advanced practice and research/faculty roles. The Ph.D. program in nursing will relieve these critical shortages.

In order to meet the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s most recent recommendations for research-focused nursing doctorates, the curriculum will undergo some revisions, including the removal of two existing courses—Information Technology in Health Care and Nursing, and Database Analyses; the addition of four new required courses—Interdisciplinary Research and Theories, Educational Research in Health Care Settings, and Advanced Scientific Writing II and III; a change of three DNS electives into Ph.D. required courses—Doctoral Practicum, Applied Statistics II, and Qualitative Methods II; and the revision of three existing courses—Bioethics, Measurement in Nursing Research, and Quantitative Design. These changes will increase the total minimum post-master’s doctoral coursework credits from 48 to 50 credits.

The new program evolved from the Graduate Center’s DNS program, now in its seventh year, whose curriculum has been consistent, since its inception, with the AACN’s research-doctorate curricular standards. Currently enrolled DNS students may choose whether to continue their course of study or petition for a change to the Ph.D. program.

“We are thrilled to offer our students the opportunity to address major health problems, work with interdisciplinary research teams, and advance nursing practice,” stated Dr. Keville Frederickson, executive officer of the doctoral program in nursing. “This will ensure an adequate supply of Ph.D.-trained nurses who are well-prepared and positioned to develop the science and educate the next generation of nurses.”