Nurses With DNP Degree Are Sorely Needed in Health Care and Education

Content courtesy of Baylor University.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is gaining more prominence within the nursing profession.

Steps are being taken to transition to the DNP as the standard for advanced practice registered nurses. While the profession is not quite there yet, the DNP is a terminal degree that prepares the nurses for leadership, given the constantly changing demands of a complex U.S. healthcare system.

How to Become a DNP Nurse

Nurses have many points of entry into the nursing profession — and, ultimately, to a Doctor of Nursing Practice, including entering as licensed practical nurses (LPN) or licensed vocational nurses (LVN). Registered nurses often seek licensure after completing a diploma program or earning an Associate Degree in Nursing(ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), according to Angela Renee Stewart, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, AOCNP, TTS, Clinical Assistant Professor at Baylor University, Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

“The LPN and LVN nurses can complete an associate degree or diploma program to become an RN and then would have to complete a BSN program prior to entering graduate school,” she said. “After obtaining the BSN, they could then apply and complete the BSN-DNP program. The ADN or diploma nurse would need to complete an RN-to-BSN program first, and then apply to a BSN-to-DNP program.”

AN RN with a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN), who is seeking a DNP, would need to apply to a DNP program and complete the course requirements to earn the terminal degree, according to Stewart. Programs like Baylor University’s Online DNP Programs can offer clinical placement support, as well as access to world-class faculty and networking.

Unlike the research-focused PhD in nursing degrees, the DNP has more of a clinical focus. The DNP curricula, according to the AACN, “build on traditional master’s programs by providing content in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, systems, leadership, among other key areas.”

DNP nurses study the most up-to-date technologies in clinical medicine and can apply those technologies to solve problems. They have a population health perspective, which allows them to collect, analyze, and report on epidemiological data. They also can specialize in providing care for specific populations, from birth to geriatrics. Their education prepares them not only to make a difference at the bedside but also in systems of care, according to a paper in Nursing Outlook.

Completing a DNP degree can take from two years for a master’s prepared nurse to five years for those with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).

DNP Nursing Roles

DNP nurses work in clinical practice in inpatient and outpatient settings and specialize in particular areas, such as family practice, adult acute care, pediatrics, nurse-midwifery, and nurse anesthesia, according to Stewart. These nurses practice at hospitals, as well as private practices, including family, internal medicine, or specialty practice, such as cardiology and oncology. Some practice in the emergency room, at community clinics, free clinics, surgery centers, schools, and other settings.

“DNPs must practice within the scope of practice of their specialty training, and …read more

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