LAKELAND (October 26, 2018) – With its planned launch of a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in fall 2019, Florida Southern College will help address the urgent healthcare needs of Polk County residents. The goal of the program is to strengthen the leadership skills of nursing professionals, preparing them to make critically important organizational changes to improve patient care.
“Our program is all about healthcare leadership, to improve the health of people in central Florida and beyond,” said Dr. Linda Comer, professor and dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “When we look at Florida, we have some desperate needs. By having more nurses educated in healthcare leadership, we’re aiming for better outcomes for patients.”
Through classroom learning and practicum experiences in partnership with community agencies, DNP students will gain knowledge and skills to drive institutional change, to manage finances and budgeting, and to develop effective, evidence-based healthcare policies and procedures.
“A majority of our hospital operations are either directly performed by or managed by nurses,” said Dr. Janet Fansler, chief nurse executive for Lakeland Regional Health and executive vice president at LRH Medical Center. “The ability for nursing leaders to demonstrate both advanced clinical skills and advanced leadership skills is essential for delivering high-quality care.”
Scott Dimmick, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for LRH, said students will collaborate directly with clinical leaders and senior management to “bridge the gap between the scholarly insights from the DNP program and the practitioner applications from a real-time progressive and successful health system.”
The Doctor of Nursing Practice program demonstrates Florida Southern’s commitment to preparing nurses for practice in expanded roles. A minimum of 38 credits will be required for graduation from the program, which can be completed in as few as six semesters. Applications are now being accepted online at www.flsouthern.edu/DNP.
“We are very excited to hear Florida Southern is starting a Doctor of Nursing Practice program,” said Amy Whann, clinical education coordinator at Watson Clinic. “The clinic has been accepting nursing students from Florida Southern College for over 10 years, and we hope to become an active participant in educating these students as well. This is a wonderful opportunity for both Watson Clinic and the surrounding community.”
Nearly 25,000 students currently are enrolled in approximately 250 DNP programs nationally, providing post-master’s education to address a broad range of nursing practice needs.
“There is an interest, there is a need, and that’s why we’re starting this program,” Dr. Comer said. “Nurses coach, empower, advocate and protect people, no matter what their level of nursing; that’s the work of nursing. This program is designed to go one step farther, to add the organizational leadership skills that nurses need to function at higher levels.”
About Florida Southern College
Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private comprehensive college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, and nursing. Florida Southern has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the Top 20 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; named a Top Baccalaureate College by Washington Monthly; and included in The Princeton Review’s 384 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society. FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.