Austin Peay State University Doctor of Education Now Offers Nurse Educator Concentration


Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, Tennessee – In 2018, after more than 20 years as a nursing professional, Terri Clark joined the Austin Peay State University School of Nursing as a tenure-track faculty member. The RN has spent most of her career working in hospitals, fitness centers, her own healthcare business, and even as a nurse educator at places like Hopkinsville Community College.

 Austin Peay State University Nursing Class (APSU)
Austin Peay State University Nursing Class. (APSU)

But once Clark became an assistant professor, she learned that she would need more than this extensive experience to stay in college – she would need a doctorate.

“Nursing lacks faculty, so there’s more leniency (with your education) when you’re hired,” she said. “I got hired with my masters and researched what kind of degrees other schools require. “

She considered getting a doctorate. or a doctor of nursing, but with a full teaching load, she knew it would be difficult to find time to travel to other schools. Instead, Clark decided to stay on campus and help develop a revolutionary new nurse educator concentration that is now attached to the APSU’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) program. Eriksson College of Education.

In May, she will become the first graduate of this new concentration.

“I’m really a part of it, I was downstairs and helped develop one of the classes,” she said. “And I enjoyed it – I’m not going to say it’s easy. I have grown so much, I think it will help me to be a better teacher.

Education / nursing collaboration

The year Clark joined the faculty of the APSU School of Nursing, the College of Education launched Austin Peay State University’s first doctoral program. This degree began with only an emphasis on K-12 leadership, but four years later it expanded to include two additional concentrations – higher education administration and nurse educator. And, starting this fall, the Ed.D. program will be offered entirely online.

“We have students who live a few hours away, and since we serve rural districts, that makes it more accessible,” said Dr. Sherri Prosser, doctoral program coordinator. “The Dean has arranged to offer HyFlex courses. It’s going to be outfitting one of the largest conference rooms with this technology, so that students can still attend a few face-to-face lessons, but they also have the option of zooming those lessons. The rest of the lessons are online – asynchronous, but still interactive. “

Once the College of Education began offering the degree, the APSU School of Nursing expressed interest in adding a concentration.

“One thing we know in nursing is that there is an overall shortage of nurses, and this has contributed to a shortage of nursing faculty,” said Dr. Michelle Robertson, program coordinator. ‘APSU Graduate Studies in Nursing. “I was watching what they were doing and they had the option for students to take electives so I reached out to Dr Prosser and asked if we could collaborate and maybe a nursing student could take their elective courses in our program. “

The new concentration now provides nurses with the educational leadership strategies they will need if they want to advance their careers in higher education or take on managerial positions in healthcare institutions.

“The program teaches them curriculum and pedagogy in nursing electives,” said Prosser. “An elective course, they learn nursing pedagogy. When you are in these non-educational fields, you are an expert on content, but you might not know how to teach that content. This is what our program does.

Improve community health

In addition to addressing a shortage of nurses and nursing educators, the program has the potential to improve health outcomes in the community. This is because nursing students are also required to address a problem in their field through an academic thesis.

Clark, the first student in this program, will spend her final year researching how to promote a bachelor’s degree in nursing within the profession. To become a registered nurse, a person can earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree.

“A lot of research shows that with a registered nurse, patients have better outcomes and less mortality,” she said. “I’m going to interview employers of nurses and see if they’re supporting them to get a bachelor’s degree and what they’re doing to encourage that. One study even said that a bachelor’s degree resulted in better patient outcomes than years of experience as a nurse.

For more information on the Nurse Teacher Concentration, visit

For more information on Ed.D. program, visit


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