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ADVANCE Voice: NP

Doctorate of Nursing Practice Conference

Published October 10, 2008 9:55 PM by Jennifer Ford

A seed planted as a clinical doctorate project bloomed into the first annual doctorate of nursing practice conference. A group of DNP students from the University of Tennessee-Memphis created DNP LLC in 2006 to connect DNPs and DNP students, share information, and promote the clinical doctorate. This weekend, DNP LLC hosted a conference in Memphis with 172 registrants representing all advanced practice nursing roles. The bulk of the sessions took place today, and there was much heated debate on several topics, including whether nurse educators, those interested in informatics, and executives should be admitted into clinical doctorate programs.

By far the most controversial presentation came at the end of the day: Judy Honig, NP, of the American Board of Comprehensive Care, presented information on the DNP certification exam that is meant to be an honorific certification and is causing concern among NPs. Read more about the exam here. A few months back, the Wall Street Journal reported on the exam, which will be offered for the first time in November, and we covered the story here. Questions were raised about possible effects of the exam including changes to reimbursement, whether the exam truly reflects nursing practice (because test items come from a pool of questions written by physicians for the National Board of Medical Examiners), and whether the exam will serve to help or further divide the nursing profession.

I heard repeatedly that it's difficult in nursing to come to a consensus, and Pat Yoder-Wise of the ANCC agreed when presenting on the ANCC's thoughts about future DNP certification. The ANCC conducted a survey and came away with very little definitive information about how to move forward with changes to certification in preparation for the year 2015, when all nurses seeking to become NPs will have to obtain a DNP degree.

Other attendees voiced concerns that the DNP community needs more organization. This morning, keynote speaker Michael Carter, NP, explained what he saw for the future of nursing: "Your doctor can be a nurse, and will be a nurse." But, Carter cautioned, much more work needs to be done to create a unified vision of the DNP to present to the world. "Don't become visible until you're strong enough to be a target," he said.

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