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Seattle University

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Caring for the Vulnerable

Written by Mike Thee
December 6, 2011

Seattle University’s College of Nursing is expanding its commitment to a nursing education that serves vulnerable populations by offering a new Doctor of Nursing Practice.  

One of four new SU academic programs to be launched next year, the new doctoral degree in nursing will help meet a rapidly expanding demand for scientific knowledge among nurse practitioners, says Janiece DeSocio, associate dean of the college and director of the new program.  

True to the college’s ethos, the new program will focus in a particular way on caring for marginalized populations. “(This degree) will fulfill the mission and goals of Seattle University by preparing advanced practice registered nurses to practice and conduct research and scholarship with vulnerable populations,” DeSocio says. “Our DNP graduates will provide leadership for just and humane health care policies and access to high-quality, culturally competent healthcare for vulnerable individuals, families, communities and populations through regional, national and global engagement.” 

The College of Nursing also plans to expand their Center for Vulnerable Populations, DeSocio says, "to allow students to collaborate with faculty in building programs of research focused on the health of vulnerable populations.” 

The doctoral program, DeSocio says, is based on a national directive from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to establish the Doctor of Nursing Practice as educational preparation for advanced practice registered nurses by 2015. The new degree will complement and build upon the College of Nursing’s five master’s-level programs. 

The college expects a cohort of 10 students for the inaugural 2012-2013 academic year. Applications are now being reviewed. In the future, the college plans to increase enrollment through distance-education options.

The new program was in the works for six years. A task force within the College of Nursing began working on a proposal in 2005, and after being approved by decision-making bodies within the college and the university, the new program received the go-ahead from SU’s Board of Trustees in May. The board also approved the Albers School of Business and Economics’ Health Leadership Executive Masters in Business Administration and the College of Science and Engineering’s Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology and Bachelor of Science in Marine and Conservation Biology.