Does a Doctorate of Nursing Practice Make a Difference in Patient Care?

The question of whether the DNP impacts patient care has arisen among many NPs who hold those DNPs.

from JNP

To date, a large number of doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degrees have been earned by nurse practitioners (NPs) with experience as master’s prepared clinicians. Among those of us who find ourselves in this situation, the question of whether that DNP has affected our patient care has arisen. In my own case, as a graduate of a DNP program designed specifically for experienced master’s prepared nurses, I like to think that my DNP program changed my thinking, my approach to problems, and maybe even to life generally. That is what doctoral degrees are supposed to do—orient us toward knowledge synthesis and development and, in the case of nursing, to develop and apply theoretical contexts that help us to understand our work and deliver care. Do those same contexts apply to our clinical knowledge and approach to our patients?

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

2 thoughts on “Does a Doctorate of Nursing Practice Make a Difference in Patient Care?”

  1. No difference in patient care. What I believe makes the difference is the years of practice as a bedside RN is what makes a good NP. There is no degree that can match the experience as a nurse and then experience as an NP.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. And most physicians feel the same. The DNP standard will begin to dissuade the high quality, intuitive, REAL nurse from advancing toward a NP career where she will bring her experience and wisdom to advanced practice. The cost and time requirement will be too onerous. This requirement has been created by 1) people who would like to spend their career teaching something instead of practicing it, and 2) a for-profit educational industry, and 3) nurses who feel inferior to and competitive with the MD and somehow feel that creating a lot of theory will legitimize what we do. Churning out a new era of NPs with no experience taught by NPs with no experience has only diminished the level of respect we receive from physicians. Physicians who remember those nurses who guided them through the early years of their internships and residencies with skill and confidence. I was a badass nurse, and I never embraced nursing “theory” in any way. We need to learn the science and practice the art. It’s a beautiful thing.

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