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Bailey advances health sciences
Bailey helped launch the MSN program in spring of 2011. The program has two tracks, a clinical role and a nursing education role. The MSN is the fourth of five “rungs” on CMU’s nursing career ladder. This curriculum enables nurses to progress from entry-level positions after completing a practical nurse certificate all the way to advanced practice and educator roles after completing graduate degrees.


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Bailey advances health sciences

Debra Bailey knows a thing or two about advanced nursing practice.

After graduating from Mesa College with an AS in 1980, she went on to obtain her Neonatal Nurse Practitioner certificate from South Dakota State University, then returned to the Grand Valley and Mesa to complete her BSN. She spent time working with high-profile local entities, including St. Mary’s Hospital and School District 51, while she completed her master’s degree and her family nurse practitioner certificate. Through it all, she kept coming back to Mesa.

“I’ve worked off-and-on for 20 years at CMU and came back full time in 2006.” In August 2012, Bailey took the helm as director of the Department of Health Sciences. Having completed her PhD on March 1, it’s no surprise that she’s a strong advocate for CMU’s graduate nursing programs, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Bailey helped launch the MSN program in spring of 2011. The program has two tracks, a clinical role and a nursing education role. The MSN is the fourth of five “rungs” on CMU’s nursing career ladder. This curriculum enables nurses to progress from entry-level positions after completing a practical nurse certificate all the way to advanced practice and educator roles after completing graduate degrees.

“The advanced practice role is really known for its quality healthcare for people in acute and chronic illnesses,” Bailey said. Nurse practitioners play a critical role across the healthcare industry, “from neonatal, to pediatrics, to adult, elderly, hospice, acute or chronic . . . I mean you name it, there is a nurse practitioner,” she added.

Both the clinical, advanced practice track and the nursing education track can end in an MSN, but students may also progress to the DNP, a family nurse practitioner.

“In 2002, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners voted to take the level of nurse practitioner education to the doctoral level. By 2015, they would like all nurse practitioners entering the practice to have a DNP,” Bailey said.

Colorado, and CMU, is leading the charge to provide nurses with advanced education and training. “We felt strongly that we should set the bar high . . . for the long-term need of healthcare practices,” she added.

The DNP program has generated a lot of interest and support. According to Bailey, 15 students entered the MSN program when it was implemented. The department expected only half of that cohort to choose to progress into the DNP program after completing their master’s. The department is finding increasing demand for the final rung of the career ladder.

“We’re finding that 90 percent (of students) are tracking onto the DNP and wanting to finish at the DNP level,” Bailey said.

The degree appeals to current nurse practitioners and nurse midwives who are interested in coming back to complete their DNP and expand their knowledge base, but it’s also attracting younger nurses. That’s good news for CMU and its nursing students. •

Media Contact

Dana Nunn, Director of Media Relations

dnunn@coloradomesa.edu

970.248.1868 (o)

970.640.0421 (c)