UK HealthCare

UK College of Nursing Celebrates Anniversaries of DNP and PhD Programs


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2012) − The University of Kentucky College of Nursing is celebrating two milestone anniversaries this year with the 10th anniversary of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP) which is the first DNP program established in the U.S., and the 25th anniversary of the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) program, also the first PhD in nursing program in Kentucky.

During a dinner in celebration of the anniversaries, Nancy Fugate Woods, dean emerita of the University of Washington School of Nursing, commented in her keynote speech that at UK, there is a unique synergy between the two programs. Most doctoral nursing programs emphasize different curricula for the DNP and PhD, but at UK, the programs combine selected courses and emphasize intraprofessional education.

"The College of Nursing celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and this year we are very pleased to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of our PhD Program and 10th anniversary of the DNP Program," said Jane Kirschling, professor and dean of the UK College of Nursing.  "Both programs exemplify the nursing faculty’s unwavering commitment to prepare nurse scientists, as well as nurses for advanced practice, who can meet the needs of the Commonwealth, nation and others across the globe. We are extremely proud of our DNP and PhD alumni and look forward to continuing to lead through excellence in doctoral education."

The DNP Program admitted its first class in 2001 and the 50th student will graduate this May. The PhD Program admitted its first class in 1987 and the 100th student will graduate this May.

The DNP Program focuses on development of advanced competencies for complex practice, and research utilization for the improvement of clinical care delivery, patient outcomes, and system management. The UK College of Nursing offers a post-Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) entry option for those with an awarded master's degree in nursing who are already prepared in the role of the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). A post baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) entry option is offered as well.

"Our DNP graduates are the new generation of nursing practice experts whether in direct advanced practice patient care or indirect systems management or academic roles," said Patricia B. Howard, professor and associate dean of MSN and DNP Studies. "Many are in practice settings whereas others are in high-level nursing administrative roles. Still others are in academic settings where they are influencing the shape of new practice-doctorate programs."  

The PhD Program prepares students to conduct clinical research for the generation of new knowledge applicable to nursing practice. Interdisciplinary research opportunities are emphasized. Mentoring by the college's nationally and internationally known faculty and collegial interactions among doctoral students enhance students’ development as nurse researchers. The college offers both post baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) and post-Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) entry options.

”Nurses have always provided care to individuals to improve health outcomes," said Terry Lennie, professor and associate dean of PhD Studies. "Our PhD graduates, through research and preparation of the next generation of nurses, do this at a higher level, affecting the lives of not just one but thousands of people. We are proud of our alumni, who in faculty positions throughout the U.S., Asia and the Middle East have a global impact on people’s health and well-being.

The UK College of Nursing Graduate Program is tied at 21st among graduate schools of nursing according to U.S. News & World Report in its 2012 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, putting it in the top seven percent of graduate nursing programs in the U.S.

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at (859) 323-6442 or