A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is the final advanced training level in nursing education. DNP graduates often find it hard to incorporate this degree into their professional life. The purpose of this paper is to use knowledge learned from the DNP guidebook by Chism (2017) as well as writing and communication skills book by Hofmann (2014) to answer three main questions.
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My Perception of the DNP-Degree after Reading the Guidebook
My perception of the DNP degree has changed after reading the guidebook. My initial perception was that the DNP degree involved pursuing nursing education at the highest level. However, after reading the guidebook, I have gained knowledge concerning the distinction between research-focused doctorate (Ph.D.) and practice-focused doctorate (DNP), which are part of the advanced nursing degree. The DNP degree is described as a “practice-focused doctorate degree” (Chism, 2017, p. 4). On the other hand, nursing practice is outlined as any form of nursing intermediation that shapes healthcare outcomes for entities or populations. Such interventions include providing direct care to patients, handling care regimens, managing nursing organizations, in addition to creating and executing healthcare policies. The DNP curriculum pays attention to areas such as evidence-based practice, nursing leadership, scholarship to expand the profession, using information technology to augment care, advanced nursing practice, working together with members from other healthcare disciplines, and healthcare advocacy (Carter & Jones, 2017). The DNP-trained graduate can provide competent leadership in acute care settings as well as all areas that provide health care.
The practice- and research-focused nursing doctorates have an intellectual approach to nursing and a dedication to the enhancement of the profession. However, the two programs differ in terms of training and proficiency (Chism, 2017). The practice doctorate prospectus emphasizes nursing practice as opposed to theory and research techniques, which are the foci of the research doctorate. Additionally, the objectives of the final scholarly project differ between the two programs. A Ph.D. dissertation focuses on creating new knowledge, whereas the final DNP project establishes the impact of research on clinical practice (Mancuso, Udlis, & Anbari, 2016). However, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN] (2015) published a report that clarifies the distinction between the two programs. Both advanced degrees are expected to generate new knowledge. However, research-focused trainees should use extensive research methods to engender new knowledge, whereas DNP graduates should make use of novelty of practice change, translation of evidence, and quality enhancement processes to create new knowledge. The focus of the DNP training is to develop clinical practice through effective leadership, information technology, health policy, and activism, while a research doctorate strives to produce new information for the discipline.
A Professional Issue Related to the DNP Degree
A professional issue related to the DNP degree that was of interest to me in the guidebook was interprofessional collaboration. Currently, patients have intricate healthcare needs that call for more than one discipline to address them. As care requirements become multifarious, it becomes necessary for care delivery procedures to involve the input of multiple healthcare specialists with differing levels of didactic and work-related training (Zijlstra, Lo Fo Wong, Teerling, Hutschemaekers, & Lagro‐Janssen, 2018). These occurrences necessitate interprofessional collaboration among healthcare workers, which also reduces fragmentation of health care services and provides a rare opportunity for advanced practice registered nurses to take up key roles (Farrell, Payne, & Heye, 2015).
Effective teamwork requires an interprofessional outlook. The advancement of interprofessional abilities and awareness among APRNs is often limited by a generalized approach to the interaction of APRN roles. The Institute of Medicine states that healthcare systems should concentrate on teamwork to provide reachable, high quality, patient-focused care that guarantees wellness and preclusion of illness and unfavorable events (Sincak et al., 2017). Effective teamwork also promotes the effective management of longstanding disorders and maximizes the capacity of all medical providers on the team. DNP training fosters interprofessional collaboration to improve patient outcomes.
Reasons for Returning to School to Earn a DNP
If a colleague asked why I was returning to school to earn a DNP, I would respond that I wished to earn a DNP degree to practice nursing at the highest level of education. There have been immense evolutions in nursing practice and education, which have necessitated the advancement of the DNP degree to cope with the changing demands (Melnyk, Gallagher‐Ford, Long, & Fineout‐Overholt, 2014). DNP programs provide the necessary skills and perspectives to ensure the provision of quality care and preemptive advocating for patients as well as the nursing profession. Therefore, having a DNP training will enhance my leadership dexterities, utilization of evidence-based practice, proficiency in information technologies, participation in healthcare policy, and training of healthcare professionals.
Nursing is a practice-oriented profession that addresses the healthcare requirements of individuals, societies, and organizations through a practice-directed doctorate. DNP training equips its graduates to satisfy the present and forthcoming needs of a multifaceted healthcare setting through various specialized roles that are acquired during master’s education. Examples of these roles include clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and public health nursing (Chism, 2017). Apart from the demand for uniformity across the healthcare system, the Institute of Medicine requires the provision of safe health care procedures, which has necessitated the training of advanced practice registered nurses to satisfy this need (Sallis et al., 2016).
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The current health environment faces numerous changes in terms of health needs and quality requirements. The DNP degree builds on advanced nursing practice to enhance the creation, construal, and use of evidence-based practice, health policy, technology, and leadership in the provision of quality care. Therefore, attaining a DNP degree is necessary if the healthcare industry is to meet the current healthcare needs of the population.
Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN]. (2015). The doctor of nursing practice: Current issues and clarifying recommendations, Report from the task force on the implementation of the DNP. Web.
Carter, M. A., & Jones, M. (2017). Nationwide doctor of nursing practice/advanced practice registered nurse survey on roles, functions, and competencies. Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 10(2), 108-112.
Chism, A. L. (2017). The Doctor of Nursing Practice: A guidebook for role development and professional issues (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Farrell, K., Payne, C., & Heye, M. (2015). Integrating interprofessional collaboration skills into the advanced practice registered nurse socialization process. Journal of Professional Nursing, 31(1), 5-10.
Hofmann, A. H. (2014). Scientific writing and communication: Papers, proposals, and presentations (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Mancuso, J. M., Udlis, K. A., & Anbari, A. B. (2016). Comments surrounding the doctor of nursing practice (DNP): Stress, ambiguity, and strain. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 7(4), 76-86.
Melnyk, B. M., Gallagher‐Ford, L., Long, L. E., & Fineout‐Overholt, E. (2014). The establishment of evidence‐based practice competencies for practicing registered nurses and advanced practice nurses in real‐world clinical settings: Proficiencies to improve healthcare quality, reliability, patient outcomes, and costs. Worldviews on Evidence‐Based Nursing, 11(1), 5-15.
Sallis, J. F., Bull, F., Burdett, R., Frank, L. D., Griffiths, P., Giles-Corti, B., & Stevenson, M. (2016). Use of science to guide city planning policy and practice: How to achieve healthy and sustainable future cities. The Lancet, 388(10062), 2936-2947.
Sincak, C., Gunn, J., Conroy, C., Komperda, K., Van Kanegan, K., Krumdick, N.,… Spiegel, J. (2017). Transformation of an online multidisciplinary course into a live interprofessional experience. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 81(5), 94.
Zijlstra, E., Lo Fo Wong, S., Teerling, A., Hutschemaekers, G., & Lagro‐Janssen, A. (2018). Challenges in interprofessional collaboration: Experiences of care providers and policymakers in a newly set‐up Dutch assault center. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 32(1), 138-146.