The College of Graduate Nursing at Western University of Health Sciences will host a historic California nursing doctoral education conference Feb. 5, 2010 on the WesternU campus.

The goals of the conference are to enhance dialogue, discussion and debate about doctoral level nursing, build capacity, and strengthen the doctoral-level nursing community in California. Nursing educators, clinicians and nursing students from throughout California are invited to attend.

Dr. Fay Raines, president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), is the keynote speaker. All 11 doctoral level nursing programs in California — both Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) — from nine universities will be represented by their deans, program directors, and/or doctoral program faculty.

The conference also will tackle the integration of doctoral-level nursing practice, specifically the DNP, by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) in the Nursing Practice Act of California. Effective in 2015, the DNP degree and doctoral entry into advanced practice nursing for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives will be mandatory.

“”The driving reason for the conference was to have a public discussion with DNP and PhD educational leaders, educators and clinicians from all over California about doctoral-level nursing in order to build collective wisdom about the role of doctoral-level nursing in the health care system of the future,”” said Ellen Daroszewski, PhD, APRN, director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at WesternU. “”The increasing number of nurses with doctoral preparation, both DNP and PhD, will dramatically shift nursing’s paradigm.””

Less than one percent of registered nurses are trained at a doctoral level, and less than one half of one percent have a doctorate in the discipline of nursing based on data from a 2004 national survey of registered nurses conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recently reported DNP programs account for the largest portion of growth in enrollment in nursing doctoral programs and doctorally prepared graduates. In 2005, there were nine DNP programs; five years later, in 2010, there are 102 nationwide, with 100 more under development (AACN, 2010). The number of research-focused programs, such as PhD programs in nursing, increased a little more than four percent over the same period of time.

The DNP/PhD Nursing Conference will also commemorate the 2010 International Year of the Nurse and will mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

The conference is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Health Education Center (HEC), Lecture Hall II. The HEC was recently completed on the east end of WesternU’s campus.

Registration for nursing students is $20. Registration for professionals and non-students is $40. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, and six continuing education units (CEUs) for RNs. The conference hall can hold more than 350 people.

For more information about the conference and a link to registration, please visit WesternU’s Web site. You can also e-mail, or call 909-469-5523.