The highest degree a nurse can earn is the Doctor
of Nursing Practice, or DNP. Carlow's DNP is unique. Yes, it can be
taken almost entirely online-only two Saturdays per semester are
spent on campus. There's also a solid clinical component. But it's
the leadership component that sets it apart: Carlow doesn't just
teach its future doctors of nursing practice how to be better
nurses. It teaches them how to be better leaders.
This leadership component was an important factor to Angelo
Venditti, DNP '15, regional chief nursing officer (CNO) for
Geisinger Health System North East, based out of Scranton, Pa.
As CNO, Venditti is responsible for overseeing and coordinating
nursing departments and their daily operations in the northeast
region of Pennsylvania. He knows what nurses need.
"Carlow's program is great for chief nursing officers and
nursing directors," says Venditti. "They're nurses, but they're not
necessarily clinically specialized. Carlow's DNP program has both a
clinical and a leadership focus."
Renee Ingel, PhD, is the director of Carlow's DNP program. When
she heard, during a conference call with Venditti and some of his
staff, that Western Pennsylvania lacked nursing leadership
programs, she did a double-take.
"This is exactly who Carlow's DNP is for - systems-level
thinkers and change agents. It made perfect sense for us."
On Venditti's recommendation, Ingel and Wendy Phillips, director
of graduate admissions at Carlow, visited the three Geisinger
hospitals in the Scranton area-Geisinger Northeast, Geisinger
Community Medical Center, and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical
Center. Their mission? To spread the word about Carlow's doctoral
nursing leadership program.
"We tried a 'Tea Cart,' approach," recalls Phillips. "Along with
a hospital representative, we went around the hospitals to give
snacks and hot coffee or tea to the nurses working there, as a way
of thanking them for the work they do. We also let them know about
Carlow and what we can offer them."
They found exactly what Venditti promised: a huge demand for a
DNP program that encourages and enriches the leadership necessary
for the ever-growing contingents of nurses in all aspects of
"This program brings together an entire cohort of folks from one
system," says Ingel. "Using a cohort format provides unique
opportunities for those within a single healthcare system to work
together, which creates peer support. The students can help each
other and collaborate very efficiently."
Because the Tea Cart was a great success. Phillips and Ingel
easily recruited nine new DNP students from that visit alone, but
Ingel expects more. "Typically, we get the most students enrolling
for fall toward mid to end of summer." This effort won't stop
there -- they plan to take the same approach to other
As the landscape of higher education shifts, notes Phillips, the
need for fresh approaches to recruitment is more important than
"Outreach like this is a great way to connect the efforts of
alumni, faculty, administration and admissions," she says. "We're
all working toward the goal of recruiting and educating new
students at Carlow."