S 53

1st Session

S. 53

To express the sense of the Senate concerning the establishment of Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Pharmacy dual degree programs.


January 25 (legislative day, January 5), 2011

Mr. INOUYE (for himself and Mr. REED) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


To express the sense of the Senate concerning the establishment of Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Pharmacy dual degree programs.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Pharmacy Dual Degree Program Act of 2011'.


    The Senate makes the following findings:

      (1) The terms dual, joint, double, or combined degrees are used interchangeably, and such terms mean students working for 2 different and distinct degrees in parallel, completing 2 degrees in less time than it would take to complete each degree separately.

      (2) The overall purpose of the innovative cross cutting dual or joint degree nursing programs is to prepare nurses to expand the traditional scope of nursing practice, with the goal of strengthening health care teams.

      (3) The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) 2009 survey of schools of nursing documents that there are over 100 nursing schools that offer dual degree programs of which 74 are MSN/MBA programs, 34 are MSN/MPH programs, 10 are MSN/MHA programs, 5 are MSN/MPA programs, 4 are MSN/MDIV programs, and 3 are MSN/JD programs.

      (4) There is currently no dual degree program that combines nursing and pharmacology.

      (5) Recently, the University of Hawaii at Hilo has explored the option of nursing and pharmacy partnering to meet the needs of the changing health care field.


    It is the sense of the Senate that--

      (1) there should be established a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) dual degree program;

      (2) the development of a joint degree in nursing and pharmacology should combine a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD);

      (3) such a dual degree program would improve patient outcomes;

      (4) through such a dual collaborative role, health providers will be better able to meet the unique needs of rural communities across the age continuum and in diverse settings;

      (5) such a dual degree program--

        (A) would enhance collaboration between Doctors of Nursing Practice and physicians regarding drug therapy;

        (B) would provide for research concerning, and the implementation of, safer medication administration;

        (C) would broaden the scope of practice for pharmacists through education and training in diagnosis and management of common acute and chronic diseases;

        (D) would provide new employment opportunities for private physician or nurse-managed clinics, walk-in clinics, school clinics, or clinics at institutions of higher education, long-term care facilities, Veteran Administration facilities, hospitals and hospital clinics, hospice centers, home health care agencies, pharmaceutical companies, emergency departments, urgent care sites, physician group practices, extended care facilities, and research centers; and

        (E) would assist in filling the need for primary care providers with an expertise in geriatrics and pharmaceuticals; and

      (6) additional research and evaluation should be conducted to determine the extent to which graduates of such a dual degree program improve primary health care, address disparities, diversify the workforce, and increase quality of service for underserved populations.