VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will offer an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) and online Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.), both recently approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents, to meet growing demands for nursing leadership and informatics at an advanced level.
The D.N.P. degree with a specialization in organizational and system leadership prepares nurses for a high-level career in the health care industry. Students will learn the skills needed to lead within complex systems, and they can hold administrative positions in hospital and ambulatory care, private consultation, clinics, government agencies, academia and businesses. The D.N.P. program begins in the spring of 2021.
The Department of Nursing will collaborate with the USD Beacom School of Business to offer the D.N.P. program, which broadens the perspectives of students and strengthens their ability to engage in interprofessional practice. The curriculum prepares students to incorporate principles of business, finance, budget and policy as well as nursing science, patient care improvement, population health and ethics into their practice.
“Becoming an expert in health care elevates the quality of care, improves patient safety and shapes health care systems,” said Haifa Abou Samra, R.N., M.S., Ph.D., the School of Health Sciences dean. “Nurses will learn to integrate health care technology and informatics, preparing them to be the next generation of leaders within health care organizations.”
Starting in the fall of 2021, the M.S.N. degree with a specialization in nursing informatics and e-Health will prepare students to use data, information systems and health care technologies to direct patient care, improve the delivery of services and lead transformative practice and organizational change.
The nursing department has partnered with the USD Beacom School of Business and the Dakota State University (DSU) College of Business and Information Technology and the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences to offer the M.S.N. degree. The collaboration will leverage resources in program delivery through sharing of courses via distance delivery, which will enhance student access to expertise in nursing informatics and e-health.
“The range and use of telehealth services have expanded over the past decades, and as the nation moves to accelerate the adoption of telehealth, our M.S.N. students will be ready to support the health of citizens through virtual and electronic means in rural populations as well as in cities,” said Samra.
Sustaining the workforce of nurses has become a priority in South Dakota, and there is a critical need for nurses with advanced education. The new programs align with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s initiatives to increase availability of telehealth services and critical expertise to remote and rural areas across the state.
“USD is looking to the future and anticipating the health care needs for which the new generation of nurses must be prepared,” said Samra.
The new programs, offered online, provide flexibility and allow students to continue employment while enrolled part-time or full-time.