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Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Programs Skyrocketing

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

Before DNP programs, doctoral degrees in nursing were research-focused, says to Gwen George, R.N., D.N.P., F.N.P., B.C., assistant professor of nursing and coordinator for the DNP program at Loyola. But many nurses who wanted advanced degrees didn't want to be researchers; they wanted to take care of patients.

"There wasn't a degree that fit them," she tells HealthLeaders Media.

As its name implies, the DNP is a practice-focused degree, and graduates are not only poised to become influential nurse leaders, but to close the research gap in nursing practice.

"There is a long gap between when knowledge is generated and when it's actually implemented into practice widely," George says. "We'll be able to bring research to the bedside more quickly because we'll have people have people actually engaged in practice who are looking at the literature."

As leaders, DNPs will be instrumental in trickling that knowledge down throughout their departments. For example, George says, if a hospital has a problem with patient falls, the DNP would look at the recent literature about preventing falls and figure out how that information can be applied in that situation, getting involvement from everyone who interacts with patients.

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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.