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.