DU first to offer biomed, nursing dual program

By Julian Routh | News Editor

Duquesne is actively recruiting for a first-of-its-kind dual degree program that combines biomedical engineering and nursing.

The five-year program, launching fall 2015, will allow engineering students to gain clinical experience, which will open up “more immediately-beneficial career paths,” provost and vice president for academic affairs Timothy Austin said.

Biomedical engineers typically have to work with clinicians to test products, but a student in Duquesne’s program would be equipped to do both.

“The challenge for biomedical engineers is that it’s easy to dream up a new piece of equipment or a new technique,” Austin said. “But understanding how a nurse or a doctor will use the thing that you just invented is really hard if you don’t have training in one of the medical fields.”

Students enrolled in the program will spend the first two years studying biomedical engineering, the third year taking nursing prerequisites and the last two years combining the skillsets.

The biomedical engineering program is new this year. Its first group of 20 students started classes Monday. John Viator was named the inaugural director in June.

Duquesne’s nursing program is in its 77th year, and has earned numerous accolades from outlets such as U.S. News & World Report.

No students are currently enrolled in the dual degree program, but the University has “already received a lot of interest,” according to Viator.

Viator said the program will create a new brand of “nurse engineers,” and that there’s no better place for them to start than Duquesne.

“It’s very fortunate we are in the middle of this great innovative environment of Pittsburgh,” Viator said.