WVWC launches first doctorate program

BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College is accepting enrollments now for its first-ever doctoral level degree.

Beginning in fall 2018, a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree will be offered through the college’s School of Nursing.

At a press conference Wednesday, Dr. Joel Thierstein, president of the college, said educating nurses is critical to West Virginia’s future.

“This is an exciting day for West Virginia Wesleyan College,” Thierstein said. “The nursing field is critical for the state of West Virginia’s future. It is a big reason why we are announcing this program. It is critical for the state that we continue to supply qualified nurses and highly trained nurses in the state of West Virginia.”

Dr. James Moore, dean of the faculty, said he was excited for the genesis of the new program.

“We are continuing to fulfill part of our mission, which is to serve this region, and this program takes another gigantic step forward,” he said. “I am incredibly proud of all faculty at this institution, and in this case, the quality of our nursing program is incredibly high.

“That is due in no small part to our dedicated nursing faculty,” Moore added. “We have some of the most talented, conscientious and student-centered faculty at any institution in the country, maybe even the world in my opinion. I am incredibly proud of our nursing faculty and the work that was put into this program by the faculty, by former dean Dr. Boyd Creasman and most importantly by Dr. Susan Leight. This will be transformative for us and the region.”

Susan Leight, director of the School of Nursing and graduate programs, said, “With our longstanding and successful Master in Nursing program, the DNP will focus on advancing professional roles, preparing tomorrow’s nurse leaders to drive reform in the health care system and advocating for the most vulnerable of our population.

“Nurses need to be leaders on the health care team. They need to be people who bring expertise to practice to ensure quality patient outcomes. To fulfill these roles, nurses need to have access to the necessary educational preparation, advanced clinical practice and transformational leadership.”

The DNP will offer two programs of studies ­— advanced nursing practice and nursing leadership.

Students who opt for advanced nursing practice can choose from a concentration in family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or nurse midwifery. Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and nurse midwifery are done in collaboration with the School of Nursing’s academic partner, Shenandoah University.

Leight said students will be able to move directly from the BSN program into the DNP, or after they complete their MSN. Both part-time and full-time options will be available.

“We will offer our DNP using the latest instructional technologies, including our virtual classroom, with audio and video linkage between the faculty and students,” she said.

Much of the teaching will be done remotely. Students will come to campus for occasional intensive residencies receiving skill instruction, working one-on-one with faculty and program guests and interacting with other students in the program, according to Leight.

“We are really fortunate to have phenomenal nursing factory who are doctorally prepared and have experience working with graduate students in nursing,” she said. “We all have enjoyed offering web-based courses, and we believe we can effectively reach students in their home environments using these technologies.

“It’s the goal of our program to graduate exceptional nurse leaders and advanced nurse practitioners. West Virginia has so many health-related problems and it is just so important that our graduates excel as advanced nurse clinicians and transformation leaders as we strive to meet the needs of society and provide the absolutely best care possible.

“We believe our nursing programs provide students with a supportive college environment that encourages excellence in scholarship and professional development as well as instilling the importance of service and commitment to others.”

To learn more about the admission process, visit www.wvwc.edu or contact Morganne Tenney, assistant director of admissions at 304-473-8525 or by email at [email protected]

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