Doctor of Nursing practice program available in Rockford

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The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing has announce the recent approval for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The DNP course work will be available to students in all five regional sites including Rockford. The course work will be administered through online learning, video-conferencing, and/or in-person teaching. For the Fall 2007, only students with a master’s of science will be accepted into the DNP program. Beginning in the Fall of 2008 and beyond, students with a master’s or bachelor’s degree may be accepted. The application deadline is March 15.

The mission of the Doctor of Nursing Practice is to develop advanced practitioners of nursing into evidence-based, interdisciplinary providers who meet the needs of a rapidly expanding health care field. The DNP curriculum consists of three domains of competencies for advanced practice in direct clinical care or systems: a) core practice competencies, b) specialty-specific practice competencies, and c) role competencies. In keeping with the most recent position statements of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the UIC nursing practice doctorate will prepare individuals to be nurse leaders at the highest level of practice. It will become the terminal practice degree in nursing (AACN, 2005). These expert practitioners will also be in demand as clinical faculty members.

Illinois has one of the largest health care markets in the country. With this large market comes an increasing demand for highly-specialized nurses who are able to excel in complex interdisciplinary environments and systems, and provide cost-effective, evidence-based services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2005) lists nursing as one of 10 occupations with the largest projected job growth rates between 2003 and 2014. At the same time, vacancy rates for faculty in nursing are increasing, as faculty prepare to retire. Data from the 2000 Illinois nurse workforce study show the mean age of faculty in Illinois to be 50.1 years; that 67.2 percent of faculty are more than 45 years of age, and that 42.9 percent of Illinois nurse faculty plan to retire within 10 years of the study date.

About half of Rockford’s nurse practitioners received their advanced degrees from the College’s nursing program. The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford has served the area since 1971 as a regional academic health science center. For more information about the DNP program, visit or e-mail

From the Feb. 28-March 6, 2007, issue

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