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University of St. Thomas Welcomes First DNP Students

This fall semester the University of St. Thomas Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing (PSON) welcomed its inaugural cohort of Doctor of Nursing Practice students. The PSON DNP Program was established to meet nationally identified nursing leadership needs in a university setting devoted to continuing the Catholic nursing legacy. This program’s unique focus is on building the transformation leadership capacity of nurses who are committed to creating healing environments that support the conditions and relationships necessary for patients, families, and communities to heal.

Students in the Inaugural DNP Cohort Lto R: Corey Cowart, Mary Lee Pruzinsky, Maribel Marquesz-Bhojani, Lori Timmons, Dell Roach, Brenda Charles, Gregory BearingerAccording to the Texas Center for Workforce Studies, only 0.7 percent of licensed nurses in Texas hold a terminal degree. In 2010 the Institute of Medicine released a report titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” which identified recommendations for transforming leadership in nursing practice, education, and research. A key recommendation was for an increase the number of nurse leaders prepared at the doctoral level.

“With this in mind, the PSON assembled a commission of nurse executives from the Texas Medical Center and professional experts from across the country to facilitate the formation of a unique graduate program within the only Catholic university in metropolitan Houston,” said Dr. Phyllis Waters, PSON Associate Dean for Professional Advancement and Graduate Studies. The DNP program was developed to prepare nurses to provide transformative leadership at all levels within nursing practice. UST is the only university in Houston to offer a Doctorate in Nursing Practice focused on nursing as a healing ministry. A unique aspect of the program is that students work with clinical practice coaches throughout the program.

“Development of such a program was a good fit for us since it aligns with the University’s mission, philosophy, and our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Lucindra Campbell-Law, PSON DNP Program Coordinator.

Story by Katie Fleming

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