Definition of the Doctor of Nursing Practice
Eva Stazzoni, RNC, BSN
Arizona State Universtiy
Definition of Doctor of Nursing Practice
The Doctor of Nursing is an advanced practice nursing degree with an emphasis on clinical practice rather that research, teaching or theory. The trend in other healthcare related fields is to have the terminal degree at the doctoral level, nursing wanted to declare the terminal degree for nursing. In addition, advanced practice nurses have often been completing clinical hours at the doctorate level, but not been given proper credit for it.
Nursing practice was defined as:
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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) set up a task force to determine the need and practicality of a practice based doctoral nursing program. It has become apparent to many leaders in the healthcare profession, including nurses, that other disciplines are now requiring doctorally prepared graduates as the entry level position. Nursing is one of the last health related disciplines that does not require a doctorate as the terminal degree (Lenz, 2005).
It was also apparent to many nursing leaders that advanced practice nurses were being required to do more work than other master’s programs. This phenomenon has slowly started to creep up and master’s nursing requirements are now the equivalent to or surpassing requirements for other doctoral programs in other fields, even clinical disciplines.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice is the nursing professions answer to the question, “What should be the terminal degree for nursing?” This degree does not change the way we practice as advance practice nurses, but gives us the proper credentials for what we have already earned.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2004a). AACN Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing. Washington, DC: AACN, accessed 7/20/05 at www.aacn.nche.edu/DNP/DNPPositionStatement.htm.
Lenz, E.R. (September 30, 2005). "The Practice Doctorate in Nursing: An Idea Whose Time Has Come". Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol. 10 No. 3, Manuscript