School of Nursing Receives Grant from Paul L. Jones Trust Fund

News Story: August 29, 2013

Sacred Heart University’s School of Nursing recently received a grant from the Paul L. Jones Trust Fund to support graduate nursing students enrolled in the nursing practice doctorate program (DNP). The $30,000 grant, designated for scholarship support, will be distributed to students coming into the DNP program over the next three academic years.

“This funding will offset the costs of tuition and books and supplies for DNP students with a GPA of 3.5 or above and who demonstrate financial need while pursuing their degree. The DNP degree represents the attainment of the highest level of preparation in advanced clinical nursing practice,” noted Susan DeNisco, interim director of the School of Nursing.

The nursing practice doctorate was adopted by the Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in response to a number of societal, scientific and professional developments. Among these, the nursing shortage and the crisis in the health-care system have collectively called for a major paradigm shift that will empower advanced practice clinicians, nurse educators and leaders to respond to these evolving changes, DeNisco added.

The program infuses practice-focused doctoral education with innovation, practical clinical research and scholarship. It is designed to serve academically talented nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse executives and nurse educators. As a hybrid program, it blends on-campus residency experiences with online classes and discussions. It is also a clinical doctorate, which requires the completion of a practice-based dissertation that focuses on clinical nursing practice.

“Sacred Heart’s DNP Program prepares nurses for advanced roles in teaching, clinical practice and executive leadership. We graduated our first cohort of students this past May, and it was exciting to see the significant growth and accomplishments of the graduates both while earning their degree and upon graduation,” DeNisco said. “Our students are highly accomplished leaders in their health care organizations and specialty fields. This funding will assist many of the students to continue to disseminate their knowledge in their respective fields through peer-reviewed publications and presentations.”

This is the first time Sacred Heart has received funding from the Paul L. Jones Trust Fund. It will help prepare an educated nurse workforce that will influence better patient outcomes at multiple levels of health care and will also prepare the next generation of nurse educators.