Addressing Gaps in Care, UArizona Health Sciences Offers Dual Pharmacy-Nursing Degree with Family Nurse Practitioner Add-on

Jan 9, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. – Students at the University of Arizona Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy soon will be offered the opportunity to simultaneously earn a Master of Science in Nursing, a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a Family Nurse Practitioner certificate through a first-of-its-kind program created with the future of health care in mind

The program responds to a national need for qualified health-care providers. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030, while demand for primary-care services is projected to increase at a more rapid pace than physician supply. An aging population, mixed with an exodus of primary care providers entering retirement, has stretched health-care resources thin, particularly for individuals living in rural or medically underserved areas that lack regular provider access

“This unique program allows students to train as a nurse with a master’s degree and then obtain a Family Nurse Practitioner certificate and PharmD at the same time, giving them flexible career choices,” said UArizona College of Nursing Professor Terry Badger, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAPOS, FAAN, chair, Division of Community and Systems Health Science.

The College of Nursing and the College of Pharmacy worked together to develop a curriculum pathway to save students both time and significant tuition dollars. Students graduating from the specialty program will be ideally qualified to provide care in community-based settings and will have the skill set and certifications to diagnose, prescribe and treat patients unable to easily access primary health care

“This program is an inventive solution to alleviate the health-care provider shortage facing the nation,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Rick G. Schnellmann, PhD. “The College of Pharmacy is proud to collaborate with the College of Nursing on this pioneering initiative, and is excited to provide students an enhanced interdisciplinary skill set they can use to better serve their communities.

The answer to the impending shortage of qualified primary-care providers lies in novel approaches that complement the current education and training programs the two colleges have in place

Current efforts to alleviate the situation include increasing the numbers of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. This will help address the shortage, but is considered unlikely to meet the immediate health-care needs of the country

“These two exceptional colleges are working together to address a critical national need, demonstrating the forward-thinking, collaborative spirit found at the University of Arizona Health Sciences,” said Michael D. Dake, MD, senior vice president for UArizona Health Sciences. “This innovative program exemplifies our focus on providing next-generation education and preparing our students for the inevitable changes and new challenges they will face in their fields.”

About the University of Arizona College of Nursing
Established in 1957, the University of Arizona College of Nursing has been transforming nursing education, research and practice to help people build better futures for more than 60 years. Consistently ranked among the best programs in the nation, the college is strengthening health care’s largest workforce and the public’s most trusted profession through its undergraduate and graduate programs, offered online and on-campus in Tucson and Phoenix. Headquartered in Tucson, Ariz., where integrative health has been pioneered, the UA College of Nursing is home to the world’s only Integrative Nursing Faculty Fellowship. With key focal strengths in integrative health, cancer prevention and survivorship, and nursing informatics, the college has more than 7,000 alumni worldwide promoting health and wellness in their workplaces and communities. For more information: nursing.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn)

About the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy
The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy is the premier pharmacy college in the Southwest, and one of the top in the nation, focused on drug discovery, toxicology, pharmaceutics, health outcomes and sciences, pharmaceutical education and research through interprofessional training and collaborative public/private partnerships. Preparing pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in undergraduate, professional, graduate and post-doctoral programs, the college embraces an entrepreneurial spirit, providing tailored educational opportunities to broaden students' experiences. Established 72 years ago as the first health sciences college at UArizona, the college has a long history of improving science and health, both in Arizona and around the world. It is currently ranked No. 8 among the nation’s 143 colleges of pharmacy by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. For more information: pharmacy.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube)

Original Story Link: