Graduation of the Inaugural Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare Doctorate of Nursing Practice Cohort

Dhahran - August 16, the first and only Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) in the kingdom has celebrated the graduation of the inaugural cohort of 13 Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) nurses. The cohort, who commenced their DNP journey two years ago, celebrated their graduation and attained their professional doctorate. Their graduation increases the number of practicing nurses in Saudi Arabia who hold doctorates by 30% in one day.

The DNP is a practice focused degree that prepares students to lead healthcare innovations and influence healthcare policy. This degree promotes leadership, implementation science and theoretical principles of nursing, analytical skills principles and evidence-based practice.

Addressing the graduates, Dr. Patricia Davidson, Dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, and an administrator and professor in the program, declared, “Today you’ve become a “Hopkins” nurse and you are now part of a renowned history and community, based in excellence and compassion. We welcome you and we are so proud of you.”

The DNP program was a foundational element of the joint venture agreement between JHAH’s parent organizations - Saudi Aramco and Johns Hopkins Medicine International. The close academic ties between Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSON) and JHAH enabled the design and execution of an integrated, flexible educational model. Throughout the JHAH DNP, the 13 nurses continued with their professional duties, spending most of their time studying at JHAH medical facilities. They also traveled to the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) campus in Baltimore for two weeks of studies and clinical training at a time. The DNP is collaborative, culturally respectful, engaged, and tailored to the needs of JHAH and the students.

“We had the right students, individuals with the potential to not just complete our program but to thrive in it and to move the nursing profession forward in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere,” stated Dr. Sharon Dudley Brown JHUSON professor.

The return on investment for the DNP at JHAH is manifold:

  • Retain Saudi nurses in the profession and at JHAH
  • Leading JHAH nursing in the implementation of evidence-based practice and quality care
  • Avoid the loss of high performing staff during educational periods
  • Cost effective, as compared to sending staff for graduate education outside the kingdom
  • Contribute to JHAH’s role in leading change in the kingdom to help achieve 2030 vision

Additionally, the partnership between JHAH and JHUSON focuses on capacity development initiatives to promote nursing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through discrete but linked activities such as:

  • Acting as a thought leader for innovation and nursing leadership through collaboration with Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS)
  • Implementing and evaluating a clinical leadership component of the nurse intern program
Graduation of the Inaugural Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare Doctorate of Nursing Practice Cohort

During the graduation ceremony, faculty, family and friends filled the hotel ballroom to show their support for the 13 graduates as they accepted their diplomas dressed in traditional Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing gowns.

“The graduates excelled during the rigorous two-year program. They were challenged to grow and develop academically, professionally and personally. This program enhanced their clinical and leadership skills, and solidified their role as an essential component in delivering quality healthcare,” commented Dr. Zeina Khouri-Stevens, chief nursing officer, JHAH, and a leader and professor in the doctoral nursing program.

Ali Rabaan, father of DNP graduate Maisa Rabaan, spoke at the event. “There is no doubt that higher nursing education can make a difference in many ways, be it at the level of patient care, safety or leading the continuous improvement process. The knowledge and skills our daughters have acquired will surely have a positive impact on the quality of healthcare.”

“Leadership development is a fundamental need to ensure the sustainability of our success and growth into the future,” said Daniele Rigamonti, M.D., chief executive officer, JHAH. “We have many reasons to be optimistic about the future of JHAH, and the success of this first remarkable cohort is certainly one of them” he added.

The program is also of national importance, JHAH has a productive relationship with the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS) and earlier this year the DNP was presented to the SCFHS. This collaboration continues to explore the wider potential of the program. Dr. Mustafa Bodrick, SCFHS Consultant in Nursing Education, is an adjunct faculty in the JHUSON and was an honored guest at the graduation.

JHAH is working with Johns Hopkins University to expand opportunities for the DNP and will share more information on the program and the application process as it becomes available.

Graduation of the Inaugural Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare Doctorate of Nursing Practice Cohort