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Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Programs Skyrocketing

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2012

"But they don't have enough education."

That's one of the arguments that physicians make against autonomy for advanced practice nurses. But that argument will slowly erode away as more and more nurses get their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees.

In just a few short years, the number of DNP programs in the country has skyrocketed from 20 in the year 2006 to 184 in 2011. An additional 101 programs are in the planning stages, according to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The AACN also reports that DNP programs are available in 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

One of those states is Louisiana, where Loyola University New Orleans has just graduated its first class of 18 doctoral students from the state's only DNP program. Loyola has two DNP options: a two-year post-master's program and a three-year post baccalaureate program. The program there started in 2010 and just accepted its third class.

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2 comments on "Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Programs Skyrocketing"


Romeo Smith (6/3/2012 at 3:35 PM)
It is wonderful that physical therapists, pharmacists, and now nurses can actually have a degree at the doctorate level; and so be called "doctors" and not to mention the people with PhDs. How are you guys going to introduce to your patients? Hi I'm doctor x.... I am certain that this would create a lot of confusion to the patients, especially to our underserved population (which have low levels of education). Perhaps we should find a different title for the real doctors that are our physicians!!!

dr k (6/1/2012 at 7:16 PM)
Nurses are trained differently and the details of the study is different then medical school. 1) PAs and NPs should practice under the supervision of a doctor regardless if they study a few more years. 2) If you wanted to function like a doctor then attend medical school like doctors. Would you get law advice from someone who did NOT attend law school. 3) State medical boards need to be wary of NPs and PAs hiring lobbyists to push this agenda.