VANCOUVER – Southwest Washington Medical Center Foundation and the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation have given $100,000 and $25,000 respectively to Washington State University Vancouver towards a two-year statewide initiative to develop a Doctorate of Nursing (DNP) program.

The gifts will allow WSU Vancouver to strengthen high levels of leadership and quality in the nursing workforce. By the fall of 2008, this project will result in a new DNP program being offered by the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing. Currently, the Nursing program at WSU Vancouver is home to three advanced practice nursing programs, including the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN), the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and the Registered Nurse to Master of Science in Nursing (RN-to-MSN). Over 110 students are enrolled in these programs at WSU Vancouver.

This initiative hopes to address the national context of a severe and prolonged nursing and faculty nursing shortage as well as the increased complexity in the health care environment (e.g. increased technology, increased patient diversity, aging population, increased information available) which requires higher levels of leadership and decision making skills for translating health care research.

It is the recommendation of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing that by the year 2015, advanced practice nurses be educated at the doctoral level, specifically through the doctorate of nursing practice.

“This programmatic intervention will improve the health of the region’s population and increase the quality and supply of the nursing workforce, and has the potential to positively affect the entire state and beyond,” said Dawn Doutrich, interim director of Nursing at WSU Vancouver.

The Southwest Washington Medical Center Foundation and the Samuel Johnson Foundation are taking a regional lead in partnering with nursing and investing in the nursing future and the overall health of this area and Washington State.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Southwest Washington Medical Center Foundation to develop this new degree. We are equally excited with our new partnership with the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation and welcome them warmly into the WSU family,” said Jennifer Crooks, assistant director of campus development.

WSU Vancouver offers 14 bachelors and nine master’s degrees in more than 35 fields of study. The campus is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205.