UW-Madison School of Nursing Program Wins National Award

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Madison, Wisconsin - A UW–Madison School of Nursing program that identifies academically talented undergraduate nursing students for immediate admission to the nursing PhD program in order to provide seamless progression and preparation for a career in research has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award.


The award recognizes AACN member schools that re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change. The UW–Madison School of Nursing was selected in the Academic Health Center institutional category and will receive a $1,000 prize.


The Early Entry Option-PhD Program (EEO-PhD) capitalizes on the School of Nursing's exceptionally strong undergraduate applicant pool and the rigorous research training model already in place in the PhD program.


A key component of the program is early and intensive research training with an established nurse researcher. The other two components of the program - theoretical courses and clinical experiences - are consistent with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) guidelines while allowing for individualization to support the student's developing research focus.


The program, one of the first of its kind in the country, was initiated in 2003; 21 students have since enrolled. The goal is to attract a younger, more diverse population of students who have secured research funding has been met.


"The future of PhD education in nursing is at a crossroads," says Nadine Nehls, associate dean for academic programs. "The current practice of primarily enrolling post-master's students with years of clinical experience is not producing an adequate number of graduates who are able to make significant and sustained contributions to nursing research.


"Therefore, we need to consider educational innovations which encourage a different population of students to consider doctoral research training. Our experience at UW–Madison has shown that a pre-baccalaureate or early entry option to the PhD in nursing is a means toward this end."

Date Published: 09/29/2011

News tag(s):  nursing

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