Southeastern Nursing Doctorate approved by SACS

Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: October 9, 2012

      HAMMOND – The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges has approved Southeastern Louisiana University to offer its nursing doctoral program.

     The university's Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program – approved late last year by the state Board of Regents – is offered jointly with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Southeastern began enrolling students this fall and currently has 11 participants.

     "This program is an important element in helping to meet Louisiana healthcare workforce needs, particularly in the southeast region of the state. The SACS approval demonstrates the university has met the accrediting agency's various requirements intended to ensure academic quality" said President John L. Crain.

     He said the DNP program is intended to prepare graduates who can provide complex hospital and community-based care for patients and families, help redesign and evaluate nursing and health care systems, and address the severe shortages of clinical faculty to mentor and educate new nurses."

     The program, in which courses are delivered totally over the Internet, accepts nurses who have already earned master's degrees as nurse practitioners or nurse service administrators, explained Ann Carruth, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Under the partnership with ULL, students can take courses at either institution with the degree being awarded by the home university.

     Carruth said the program builds on a highly successful masters in nursing practice program that the two institutions have offered for years in a consortium that also includes McNeese State University in Lake Charles. Nicholls State University in Thibodaux also was recently added to the master's degree consortium.

     "The partnership allows Southeastern and ULL to combine the strengths and resources of each institution, including faculty in various specialties and library support services," said Carruth. "This represents an excellent use of limited state resources and allows us to offer a much-need program in a cost effective manner."

     She explained that Louisiana falls below the national level for doctorally prepared nurses. According to the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, there are currently about 330 doctoral prepared nurses, or less than one percent of all licensed nurses.

     "Louisiana needs to significantly accelerate the number of graduates to meet the needs of a workforce educated in health management and public health to address the complex healthcare issues of the state," she added.

     The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is the second doctoral-level program implemented at Southeastern. A doctorate in educational leadership, also offered in conjunction with ULL, was approved several years ago.

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