FEATURE | Posted June 19, 2013

UC Davis nursing school launches new nurse practitioner, physician assistant programs

Applications now open for summer 2014 enrollment

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis expanded its graduate programs this summer to include master’s-degree offerings for aspiring nurse practitioners and physician assistants with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities.

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. Through nursing leadership, the school discovers knowledge to advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and inform health policy. The school's first programs, a doctoral and a master's degree program, opened in fall 2010. Additional students and programs will be phased in over the next decade. For more information, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu.

“The new curriculum offers a broad education in understanding complex problems and generating solutions, understanding how health systems and health care works as well as how to improve quality, lead teams and deal with the business aspects of care,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing and Dean Heather M. Young. “Graduates are prepared to work as leaders of health-care teams.”

"Graduates are prepared to work as leaders of health-care teams."
— Heather M. Young

The new physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs at the School of Nursing build upon the UC Davis vision to prepare health-care providers who will practice in areas where they are most needed. Both programs were previously offered through the UC Davis School of Medicine. The physician assistant program was a certificate program with no degree. The nurse practitioner program was a joint program with California State University, Sacramento, requiring enrollment, and tuition, at both universities.

Over the past 40 years, the programs graduated more than 1,800 nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with 67 percent of graduates working in underserved areas. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of graduates work in primary care, compared to much lower national averages of between 30 and 40 percent.

The UC Davis programs were unique, though, because they were the only combined nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs in the nation and the physician assistant program is the only one provided in the University of California system.

Those distinctive qualities will continue, along with a greater emphasis on leadership, said Debra Bakerjian, an assistant adjunct professor at the School of Nursing and the vice chair for Family Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Studies.

“By learning together, physician assistant and nurse practitioner students are exposed to both medical and nursing perspectives prior to the clinical training for their profession,” Bakerjian said. “As part of the interprofessional programs of the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group at the School of Nursing, those perspectives are further broadened as the students engage in courses with faculty from a variety of disciplines.”

The nurse practitioner program is a two-year master’s degree program and the physician assistant program is a 27-month master’s degree program.

Applications are now open for summer 2014 enrollment. For more information, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu.