New Doctorate of Nursing Science approved by the Board of Regents

Research−based degree program aims to prepare more nurse educators‚ address health disparities

Georgia (Feb 12, 2009) — New Doctorate of Nursing Science approved by the Board of Regents

Jennifer Hafer


Director of University Relations
Frances Weyand Harrison

Contact: Jennifer Hafer‚ 770−423−6711 or

New Doctorate of Nursing Science approved by the Board of Regents
Research−based degree program aims to prepare more nurse educators‚ address health disparities

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Feb. 10‚ 2009)
— A new doctoral program at Kennesaw State University aims to boost production of nurses and nurse educators to help alleviate a nationwide shortage of both.

On Tuesday‚ the Georgia Board of Regents voted to approve the university’s third doctoral program‚ a Doctorate of Nursing Science (DNS). As part of the approval process‚ the board asked the WellStar School of Nursing to enroll 10 – 12 students annually in the program.

“KSU continues to expand its doctoral offerings‚ providing high−demand programs in critical areas of need for our state‚” said KSU President Daniel S. Papp. “This new doctorate will contribute greatly to addressing the dire shortage of nurses by enabling us to educate a greater contingent of highly qualified nursing faculty‚ which is sorely needed.”

The new Doctorate of Nursing Science is the only program of its kind in the state of Georgia.

“The DNS degree is listed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) as a research−based degree‚ unlike a practice degree‚” said WellStar College of Health and Human Services Dean Richard Sowell. “There are only a limited number of similar programs nationwide. We feel our program adds a new option for potential students seeking a doctorate.”

A Board of Regents nursing education task force previously identified nursing faculty as a critical element in increasing the number of nurses in Georgia. According to Sowell‚ “There’s an even greater shortage of nursing faculty than of nurses.” He said‚ KSU “can never grow the number of nurses we produce unless we have the faculty to teach them.”

In addition to producing more nurse educators‚ the research component of the new KSU doctoral program will focus on understanding and addressing health disparities‚ according to. Tommie Nelms‚ director of the doctoral program initiative.

“In general‚ we will be preparing nurse scholars and researchers to advance the profession of nursing and to advance health−care knowledge‚” Nelms said “We hope to educate nurses in how to deal with the vulnerable populations that are being seen more and more in the health−care system.”

Dealing with populations who are at risk when it comes to health outcomes is not new territory for the WellStar College of Health and Human Services.

KSU’s Center for Community Health Care Services‚ under the auspices of the nursing school‚ operates the KSU Clinic at MUST Ministries. The center conducts office visits‚ phone consultations and provides prescription refills to the uninsured. The clinics provide access to health care to approximately 2‚500 to 3‚000 contacts per year.

The WellStar School of Nursing also conducts Project IDEAL – the Initiative for Diabetes Educational Advancement for Latinos – a program that so far has helped more than 1‚000 Latinos in metro Atlanta learn about diabetes and preventative health care.

“There is a lot of literature out there about dealing with vulnerable populations in the health−care system‚ but there is still a good bit that we don’t know‚” Nelms‚ said. “This program will be a combination of teaching what we know and trying to learn more about those populations and their access to health care‚ while enhancing their health care.”

With a waiting list of potential students already formed‚ the new degree program could be launched as early as this fall.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for us‚” Sowell said. “Approval of this program really does speak to the quality of the faculty and the growth of the university‚ and of the significance of the role KSU is playing in educating the next generation of nurses and nurse educators.”

Kennesaw State also offers doctoral degrees in business administration and education.

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Kennesaw State University is the third−largest university in Georgia‚ offering more than 65 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including new doctorates in education and business. A member of the 35−unit University System of Georgia‚ Kennesaw State is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of more than 21‚000 from 142 countries.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit