HealthBeat News from Quinnipiac University School of Health Sciences | spring 2011 From the Dean Nurses can advance with new DNP Donna Montesi of Cheshire, Conn., graduated from Quinnipiac’s nursing master’s program in 2002, but is eager to continue her education. She was thrilled to learn that Quinnipiac University is set to offer a doctor of nursing practice degree beginning in Fall 2011. Health science fields are growing fast to meet the medical needs of our communities. It’s not surprising Quinnipiac’s health sciences programs are quickly changing as well. The University’s goal is to make its programs even stronger to prepare our graduates for the demands they will face once they enter their respective fields. To that end, we are welcoming a new School of Nursing on July 1. Jean Lange, formerly a professor at Fairfield University, has been selected to be the school’s dean. The School of Nursing will have the independence to grow and evolve as nurses continue to play an increasingly important role in the health care team, and in particular in primary care medicine. The nursing administration will work closely with the School of Health Sciences and the Quinnipiac School of Medicine, headed by Dr. Bruce Koeppen, dean. His team now includes Dr. Anthony Ardolino, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs, David C. Gillon, senior associate dean for administration and finance, and Stephen Wikel, chair of the Department of Basic Medical Science and senior associate dean for research. Another example of growth is the establishment of the Department of Athletic Training/Sports Medicine, which was previously a program in the physical therapy department. To encourage collaborative teaching, the School of Health Sciences held a faculty development day in January with speaker Charlotte Royeen, a health sciences dean at Saint Louis University and an expert in interprofessional education. For the first time, the School of Health Sciences hosted an interdisciplinary poster session on May 6. Students showcased their work, and the event provided an opportunity to highlight the common threads that connect different areas of the health sciences. People say change is good. Seeing the exciting direction we are heading in science and medicine, I would say change is great. “It’s a way to make me more marketable in my current practice,” said Montesi, who works as an adult nurse practitioner at West Haven Medical Group. She would like to teach one day, and an advanced degree would give her that opportunity. To better prepare nurses to excel in today’s increasingly challenging health care environment, the current two-year nurse practitioner master’s level program will transition to a three-year, clinical doctorate program. The DNP program will offer five tracks, including two post-master’s degree tracks. The program will be part of the new School of Nursing, which the University will formally establish on July 1. Jean Lange of Woodbridge, Conn., will head the school as dean. Donna Montesi MSN ’02, working with a fellow nurse, is excited to see Quinnipiac offer a doctor of nursing practice. “Primary health care has become more complex, and primary care clinicians now are responsible for so much more than what was required 20 years ago,” said Lynn Price, chair of the nursing department. The pressure to increase access to health care for more people has also placed more responsibilities on nurses and other health professionals, as has the decline in the numbers of practicing primary care physicians, she said. The DNP would offer nurses an opportunity for career advancement, preparation to serve as muchneeded clinical faculty and a higher salary. Nurses with DNP degrees earn nearly $7,700 more than master’sprepared nurse practitioners, according to a 2009 survey by ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners magazine. Unlike doctorate programs that focus on original research, the DNP is a clinical degree. The program provides more intensive education in areas such as diagnostic testing and health assessments, and allows postmaster’s students the opportunity to deepen their existing clinical practice. “We’ve designed this program to give students additional time to gain fluency in the depth and breadth of care they must provide,” Price explained. Nurses with a bachelor’s degree may choose from three DNP tracks: adult practice, family practice or women’s health. Quinnipiac is the only University in the state to offer a women’s health track. Graduates are eligible for national certification as nurse practitioners in their specialty area. Advanced practice registered nurses with master’s degrees may select either the “care of the individual” track, which offers advanced clinical education to deepen or broaden an existing APRN practice, or the “care of populations” track, which prepares graduates for positions that focus on health care for populations working within systems at the local, regional, national or global level. Other health fields, such as physical therapy and pharmacology, now expect professionals to earn a doctorate degree. “Nursing also needs to be competitive with other health professions,” Montesi explains. For more information on the doctor of nursing practice, visit www.quinnipiac.edu/x793.xml. Edward R. O’Connor Dean, School of Health Sciences In the community Each SHS program organizes service events to encourage healthy living and support underserved populations. o In April, the Physical Therapy Club celebrated its 30th year hosting its “Special Athletics” event. Students invite members of the special needs community to campus for activities and games. o The Physician Assistant Student Society sponsored its 13th annual 5K Road Race and Cow Chip Bingo in April. o Four faculty members accompanied 15 physical therapy and occupational therapy students to León, Nicaragua, in January to volunteer in areas with limited health care. Promoting literacy for better health In March, 50 physician assistant students read to children as part of the second annual Health and Literacy Fair at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven. More than 270 people from the hospital and the community attended the event, which coincides with Read Across America week and Dr. Seuss’s birthday. At the Health and Literacy Fair, PA students set up hands-on activity stations on health issues, such as healthy eating, exercise and hand-washing. Literacy helps people be better prepared to make decisions about their health, from evaluating information for credibility and quality to reading and assessing medication labels, said PA student Todd Bruss. “These young children will someday be patients faced with complex information and treatment decisions,” he said. Physician assistant student Sarah Blank, right, reads to a child at the Health and Literacy Fair at the Hospital of Saint Raphael.