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Project Directors, Susan M. Swider, PhD, APHN-BC and Pamela F. Levin, PhD, APHN-BC received notice that their HRSA Advanced Education Nursing Grant developed to educate Advanced Public Health Nurses (APHNs) at the clinical doctorate level via a distance learning curriculum is being funded in 2012 at Rush University College of Nursing.

The goal of the program is to educate baccalaureate-prepared nurses to become Advanced Public Health Nurses (APHNs) at the clinical doctorate, DNP level, as well as develop a post-master's DNP in advanced public health nursing. A simultaneous goal of the program is to lead a national effort to develop and disseminate an action agenda for public health nursing education, practice and research to enhance APHN leadership in public health.

One objective of the program is to achieve an increase in the number of APHN students prepared at the doctoral level, 32 over 3 years, with 15% of matriculants being from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. These new APHN students will include primary care providers, with expanded knowledge and competencies in population focused nursing care. The APHNs educated in this program will be prepared as the next generation of nursing leaders in public health, with a focus on providing care to underserved populations.

The initiative is significant in that the program is nationally accessible in a distance format, based on current national competencies for the specialty, as well as national DNP essential knowledge and skills. The grant builds on a previously developed innovative minority recruitment and retention strategy, as well as strategies to assist students with diverse learning styles to succeed in on-line educational programs. The program will educate nurses in population focused nursing in a BSN to DNP curriculum, as well as a post-MSN curriculum for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to integrate population focused competencies into their practice.

To guide the development of this program, with its strong focus on clinical competency, a group of nationally recognized experts in public health nursing and APRN practice are engaged as a virtual Advisory Council for review of curriculum and clinical experiences and student recruitment efforts. Project faculty from Rush include: Susan Swider, PhD, APHN-BC, Pamela Levin, PhD, APHN-BC, Marilyn O'Rourke, DNP, RN, Sarah Ailey, PhD, RNC, Diane McNaughton, PhD, APHN-BC, Lisa Rosenberg, PhD, RN, Rosemarie Suhayda, PhD, APN, ANP-BC, and Delamie Thompson, MPH, RN.

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