Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree in the United States: Reflecting, readjusting, and getting back on track.
Journal Article (Journal Article)
BackgroundIn 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) called for all nursing schools to phase out master's-level preparation for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and transition to doctor of nursing practice (DNP) preparation only by 2015. Today, five years after the AACN's deadline, nursing has not yet adopted a universal DNP standard for APRN practice entry.
PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the factors influencing the ability of nursing schools to implement a universal DNP standard for APRNs.
MethodsDeans from top-ranked nursing schools explore the current state of the DNP degree in the US. The authors draw upon their collective experience as national leaders in academic nursing, long-time influencers on this debate, and heads of DNP programs themselves. This insight is combined with a synthesis of the literature and analysis of previously unpublished data from the AACN on trends in nursing doctoral education.
FindingsThis paper highlights issues such as the long history of inconsistency (in messaging, curricula, etc.) surrounding the DNP, certification and accreditation challenges, cost barriers, and more. The authors apply COVID-19 as a case study to help place DNP graduates within a real-world context for health system stakeholders whose buy-in is essential for the success of this professional transition.
DiscussionThis paper describes the DNP's standing in today's professional environment and advances the conversation on key barriers to its adoption. Insights are shared regarding critical next steps to ensure national acceptance of the DNP as nursing's terminal practice degree.
- McCauley, LA; Broome, ME; Frazier, L; Hayes, R; Kurth, A; Musil, CM; Norman, LD; Rideout, KH; Villarruel, AM
- July 2020
Volume / Issue
- 68 / 4
Start / End Page
- 494 - 503
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)