New DNP Nurse Executive program will address nursing needs in Georgia and beyond

A new program at Augusta University’s College of Nursing (CON) will advance the future of nursing and healthcare leadership in Georgia and beyond.

The interactive online Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Executive Program (DNP NEP) is designed exclusively for chief nursing officers, vice presidents of nursing and other executive-level nurse leaders or nurses in line for promotion to executive-level positions.

The DNP NEP prepares current and future nurse executives to perform with business acumen, empathy and self-leadership while navigating the pressures of today’s competitive local and global health care environments. The curriculum and competencies, which meet the standards set by the Council on Graduate Education for Administration in Nursing and the National Center for Healthcare Leadership Competency Model, reflect the advanced skills, technical understanding and personal development required for effective healthcare executive practice.

Through a balanced mix of interactive online teaching and health system leadership experiences, students will gain proficiency in a number of areas including leadership, relationship management and analytical thinking.

Throughout the course of study, students will meet a required 1,000 hours of executive training experiences, which includes hours in previous leadership programs. In addition, the program is rounded out with a “practice-transformation” project, which integrates DNP essentials in a formal health system setting.

Dr. Lucy Marion, dean of the College of Nursing, said the new DNP Nurse Executive Program will further bolster the college’s already strong commitment to producing exceptional nursing leaders.

“Nurse leaders have always been key to quality health care,” Marion said. “Now that the nurse executive role has emerged as essential in almost all sectors of health care, we are proud to address the increased leadership demand with our new Nurse Executive Program.”

A program advisory council, which includes faculty from CON and the James M. Hull college of Business in addition to a number of nationally recognized thought leaders in the field of Nursing Management and Leadership, helped ensure the relevance and quality of the program. The advisory council, faculty and students in the initial cohort will meet at the university on March 16 to discuss the current status and future of the NEP program.

Members of the NEP Advisory Council include:

  • Beth Brooks, PhD, president of The Brooks Group, LLC, and creator of the Brooks’ Quality of Nursing Worklife Survey – used to measure the quality of nursing worklife in countries across the globe. Brooks has a truly one-of-a-kind mix of leadership experiences including work in academic administration, for-profit companies and nursing administration in health care systems. Having served as the executive leader of a state nursing association, the board of an association for university presidents and the executive committee of a higher education advocacy association, Brooks is an internationally recognized expert in the quality of nursing worklife.
  • Therese Fitzpatrick, PhD, senior vice president of Kaufman Hall. Fitzpatrick has more than 40 years of healthcare experience including policy development and operations in local, regional and global markets. Before joining Kaufman Hall, Fitzpatrick served as Principle and Practice Operations Lead for Philips Healthcare North America, where she provided strategic and analytical support for governments, hospitals and health systems to help create sustainable population health solutions and clinical and business performance improvements.
  • Bob Kepshire, administrator and Chief Nursing Officer of University Hospital McDuffie. In his dual role, Kepshire serves as both the nurse executive and senior administrator of hospital operations for University Hospital McDuffie – a twenty-five bed, not-for-profit community hospital located in Thomson, Georgia. Kepshire also serves as a member of the University Health Care System senior management team.
  • Karen Minyard, PhD, director of the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) at Georgia State University. Minyard has directed the GHPC at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies for the past 16 years. Prior to assuming her current position, Minyard directed the networks for rural health program at GHPC. An advocate for the importance of community in national, state and local policy, Minyard serves on the boards of the National Network of Public Health Institutes, the Physicians’ Innovation Network and Communities Joined in Action – a private, non-profit membership organization of nearly 200 community health collaboratives.
  • Carole Miserendino, DrPH, nurse executive consulting manager at Philips. Miserendino has more than 30 years of experience in a number of fields and skillsets, including nursing and patient-centered care, patient care quality and safety and clinical informatics, to name just a few. Prior to assuming her current position, Miserendino served as the Regional Chief Nursing officer of Presence Health, one of the largest integrated health systems in the state of Illinois.
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Written by
Nick Garrett

Nick Garrett is a communications coordinator in the Division of Communications & Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him at 706-446-4802 or

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Written by Nick Garrett

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