September 24, 2010

CWRU Nursing School Launches Dual Doctorate Program

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Eric Baum

Eric Baum couldn’t find a job as an English teacher after graduating in 2004 with his bachelor’s degree and needed one with benefits. His father, a geriatrician from Concord, told him the local nursing home in Mentor was hiring. 

 The Case Western Reserve University nursing student from Rocky River never imagined it would lead to a career in nursing.

“I gave myself one month at the nursing home and thought I would be gone. But I fell in love with nursing,” Baum said.  “I enjoyed working closely with the patients and becoming involved with their care.”

Today, not only is he a nurse practitioner in geriatrics and palliative care, but he also is a history maker at Case Western Reserve. He is the first student accepted into the dual doctorate DNP/PHD program at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.  The program begins this fall.

“Five years ago, I didn’t even know there were nurse practitioners,” Baum said.

In 2005, he began to pursue his degree to become a registered nurse through the graduate-entry program, which is geared toward students who have their bachelor’s degrees in fields other than nursing.

Now nearing completion of his Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP) degree with a focus on educational leadership, Baum will take on several additional years of courses and a dissertation project for his PhD.

“It’s ironical that I rebelled against doing what my parents have done, but now I’m pursuing advanced degrees in nursing with an interest in geriatrics–the same area my father practices in as a medical doctor,” Baum said.

One of the reasons Baum is seeking dual degrees is he hopes to teach at the faculty level at a nursing school in an effort to ease the nationwide shortage of nursing educators—and, subsequently, the shortage of practicing nurses.

The new dual degree program provides students an opportunity to simultaneously pursue both doctoral degrees and take courses concurrently in research and clinical leadership in nursing.

The DNP is a terminal degree for those pursuing leadership roles in advanced practice across diverse settings, and the PhD is focused on knowledge development and empirical research to advance nursing science, said Jaclene A. Zauszniewski, associate dean for doctoral education and the Kate Hanna Harvey Professor in Community Health Nursing.

The two degrees overlap on 11 of the 55 credits required, enabling students to complete coursework in three to four years. The entire program takes about five years and includes exams, proposal defenses and completion of two research studies.

Admission to the program is gained through the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing for the DNP and the Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies for the PhD.

The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing was the first school in the country to offer the DNP degree program, which has become a model for nursing schools across the country. The dual doctoral program strengthens the nursing school’s graduate programs and contributes to the profession of nursing, Zauszniewski said.

For information about the program, visit the website.

Posted by: David Wilson, September 24, 2010 10:23 AM | News Topics:

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