Dumke College to Debut New Master’s Program in 2016

Anticipating greater demand for trained nurse practitioners within the next four years, the Dumke College of Health Professions will launch a new graduate program in fall of 2016. One goal of the Master of Science in Nursing-Nurse Practitioner (MSN-NP) program is to produce enough skilled nurse practitioners to offset a possible shortage of primary care physicians.

As our population grows and ages, the need for day-to-day health care increases. Older adults are at greater risk of developing chronic, noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, angina, diabetes and arthritis, and require more visits to a primary care physician. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that by 2020, there won’t be enough primary care physicians to meet everyone’s basic health care needs. This could be especially problematic in rural communities.

The Dumke College is preparing for the likelihood that in the future, educated nurse practitioners will be called upon to deliver a greater proportion of services traditionally provided by primary care physicians. The new MSN-NP program will prepare registered nurses to diagnose and manage acute and chronic health problems, prescribe medications, plan treatments and teach patients how to adopt healthy habits. “If you look at the cost of health care, a nurse practitioner is not quite as expensive as a physician, but can still give quality care,” says School of Nursing chair Susan Thornock. “Our graduates can help with health care now and in the future.”

Melissa Neville, MSN program director, says the new master’s degree will place Weber State at the forefront of advancing the field of nursing. “We want to prepare nurses who can practice at all levels and meet the demands of changing trends in health care,” she says.

Fifteen students are expected to begin the program in fall semester of 2016. Offered partially online and partially in a clinical setting, the MSN-NP program is the first of its kind at a Utah public institution. It is the third graduate program within the Dumke College of Health Professions. The other two are MSN-Nurse Leader: Executive, and MSN-Nurse Leader: Educator.