WSU Tri-Cities College of Nursing and Kadlec Regional Medical Center
partner to bring Nurse Practitioner education to Central Washington

Kadlec-TC-GiftIn mid-January 2015, WSU Tri-Cities College of Nursing and Kadlec Regional Medical Center announced a transformative gift and partnership that will positively change healthcare in central Washington. The Kadlec Foundation donated a historic $18 million gift that will help to build out the Doctor of Nursing (DNP) program at the college in Richland. The DNP program prepares advanced practice nurses to become nurse practitioners and advanced practice clinicians, both high-demand careers nationally.

Kadlec’s commitment creates five new endowed faculty positions at the college in Richland along with five matching faculty positions funded by WSU. These distinguished chairs will allow WSU Tri-Cities to recruit doctoral-prepared faculty with the expertise necessary to meet the region’s need for preparing advanced practice nursing and will enhance WSU’s research capacity in central Washington. An additional result will be increasing the number of those earning the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree throughout the region.

“We are excited to help WSU grow the DNP program in the Tri-Cities. These endowed positions will help attract world-class instructors to our community and ensure a first-class program for years to come,” said Rand Wortman, CEO of Kadlec Regional Medical Center. “The nurse practitioners who graduate from the program will not only be a tremendous benefit to Kadlec, but to other healthcare organizations around the Northwest.“Planning for the build out of the DNP program and recruiting doctoral faculty to teach in the program have begun. The timeline is
aggressive, as is interest from prospective students.

“There has been substantial discussion and planning around expanding the DNP program in central Washington for some time. Growing the DNP is a natural fit based on the current program offerings in Richland. It’s a strategic progression that will also raise the bar in terms of increasing the amount of doctoral-prepared nursing leaders, nurse scientists, and nurse practitioners,” explained Cindy Fitzgerald, associate dean for academic affairs.

The DNP program had been offered through the WSU Tri-Cities College of Nursing, but students were required to travel to Spokane to complete aspects of their DNP education. This gift allows the program to be offered exclusively at the college in Tri-Cities, eliminating travel to Spokane. It is expected that the expansion of the program will be completed over the next five years, with up to thirty new graduate students potentially admitted annually.