New Doctoral Recipient Looks Beyond Her Degree
When Kimberly D. Hall of Christiansburg receives her Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree from Radford University at this weekend’s Winter Commencement, she sees the event as a milestone not only for herself but also for the nursing vocation.
“Nurses are the largest body of professionals in health care,” Hall said. “High levels of education, scholarly work, evidence-based clinical practice and clinical expertise all help to validate the role that nurses play.”
Hall is convinced that national health care policy in the future will mandate that advanced-practice nurses have a seat at the table as key decision makers. “As a future leader in health care, I see the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree not as an end to my education but as a beginning for new, expanded opportunities,” she said.
Hall is the third graduate from Radford’s first cohort of D.N.P. students. DeEtta Compton of Radford and Arneda Faye Lyons of Dublin received their doctorates earlier this year.
Hall works at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital as a wound, ostomy and continence clinical nurse specialist. She completed the clinical nurse specialist track at Radford in 2010 before entering the doctoral program.
“I think the first cohort of any new program has its challenges,” Hall said. “Students, faculty and staff have had to adapt to the changes from a traditional, on-campus program offering an M.S.N. to beginning a fully online doctoral program. Thankfully, the faculty have all been very receptive when students give feedback, and their attitudes have been supportive and encouraging for students to succeed. I have been able to develop close personal relationships with many of my faculty, and I think that there is potential for future collaboration in a professional practice setting.”
Radford’s is the only university D.N.P. program in Virginia offered entirely online and the only one to accept postbaccalaureate nursing graduates for doctoral study. The program enrolled its first cohort of 32 students in August 2010. In an agreement with Shenandoah University this fall, it added a track in psychiatric mental health.
Speaking of the new doctoral program earlier this year, RU School of Nursing Director Kimberly Carter said, “This is a milestone in the history of the university and a huge honor for the School of Nursing and for the Waldron College of Health and Human Services. We are proud of our first doctoral nurses and deeply grateful to everyone who made their success possible.”
The D.N.P. is one of three doctoral programs at Radford. The Doctor of Psychology program admitted its first students in fall 2008 and anticipates awarding its first degree in summer 2012. The university’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program enrolled its first students in June.