Message from the Dean

Debera Thomas

Welcome to the Orvis School of Nursing (OSN) at the University of Nevada, Reno.

We are the oldest school of nursing in the state of Nevada. Since our beginning in 1956, our mission has been to prepare students to become excellent health professionals. The OSN aims to facilitate learning, provide quality instruction, advance nursing knowledge through research and provide service to improve the health and well-being of Nevadans. The Orvis School of Nursing provides opportunities for collaborative teaching, research and service with other disciplines and professions within the University.

One of the foremost challenges in health care today is the shortage of qualified nurses in both clinical practice and nursing education. With the lowest registered nurse to population ratio in the nation, the nursing shortage is critical in Nevada. The Orvis School of Nursing is well positioned to ease the demand for BSN prepared nurses, advanced practice nurses and nurse educators through our quality academic programs. Our talented faculty accentuate the importance of community-based nursing care through their expertise and involvement in teaching, research and service.

Our undergraduate curriculum has a strong emphasis on health promotion across the life span and the care of individuals and families in changing and challenging health care environments. Graduates of the undergraduate program receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam, and are prepared for general nursing practice in a variety of health care settings. For students who are already licensed as registered nurses but whose educational preparation is at the diploma or associate degree level, the OSN also offers an online RN to BSN degree program. Because the RN to BSN program is completely online, nurses from rural and underserved area of Nevada can complete their BSN in their home communities.

To meet the increasing demands for advanced nursing practice in primary care settings, for clinical nursing leadership and for nurse educators, the Orvis School of Nursing offers graduate education leading to a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a choice of five specialty tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Nurse Educator (CNE). Postmaster's certificates are also available for the FNP, CNL and Nurse Educator tracks for nurses who have already completed a master's degree in another specialty.

Our newest program at the Orvis School of Nursing is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The DNP is a post-master's terminal practice degree for advanced practice nurses and nursing leaders in health care organizations. The BSN to DNP program offers three specialty tracks, including: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for nurses without a prior MSN.

The Orvis School of Nursing faculty, staff and students are dedicated to providing leadership in meeting the challenges and opportunities facing the nursing care needs of Nevada and the nation. I invite you to explore the opportunities we have to offer and to join us in the education and development of future nursing leaders.

Debera J. Thomas, DNS, RN, ANP/FNP
Dean and Professor
Orvis School of Nursing