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Doctor of Nursing Practice program accepting fall 2016 applications

ISSUED: 8 March 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, is currently taking applications for the fall 2016 semester. Shepherd will accept a group of 15-20 students into the program, which is housed at the Martinsburg Center. Shepherd’s D.N.P. program offers three areas of concentration for B.S.N.-qualified nurses: nursing leadership-education, nursing leadership-administration, and nurse practitioner-family nurse practitioner.

“With the ever-increasing focus on our nation’s healthcare system, providing affordable and accessible advanced nursing education to professional nurses in the regional workforce is crucial to the vulnerable populations of West Virginia,” said Dr. Scott Beard, dean of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education. “Shepherd’s D.N.P. students will have the opportunity to improve the quality of life for clients and patients and ensure that the state and region have an educated and diverse workforce.”

Beard said Shepherd’s advanced nursing program offers admission to B.S.N.-to-D.N.P. applicants. Master’s qualified nurses who are changing their field of practice are encouraged to apply. He said classes take place at Shepherd’s Martinsburg Center using innovative instructional models, including face-to-face, hybrid, and online, with a curriculum designed to help nurses advance and succeed.

This is the second year Shepherd is offering the D.N.P. program, and Dr. Sharon Mailey, director of the D.N.P. program, said the first year has been very successful. Mailey said most of the students this year have chosen the nurse practitioner-family nurse practitioner concentration.

“‘This is what nurses do!’ has been a hallmark statement for our inaugural class of D.N.P. students,” Mailey said. “They have all been engaged in the practice of nursing in diverse settings from the National Institutes of Health to physician offices, clinics, and medical centers. We are thrilled with the insight they bring to the classroom and their commitment to making a difference in the quality of healthcare services for our region’s population.”

The program requires students to have a minimum of 1,000 hours of hands-on experience working in the community with health care professionals, educators, and administrators throughout the region. Admission criteria also include having a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for a baccalaureate degree and for all work beyond the baccalaureate level, a current unencumbered R.N. license in the state of West Virginia, a letter describing how the student envisions using the D.N.P. degree, and two professional references.

Prospective students can submit their applications through the Nursing Centralized Application Service website at, which is operated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.  More information is also available at

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