Camaraderie Among MSN NPs and DNP NPs
Q: A colleague asked, "Why would you ever go back for your doctorate?" with the implication that she thought it a bad idea. It got me thinking: are DNPs supported by our NP colleagues and healthcare in general? What would foster better camaraderie between NPs with a DNP and those without?
A: This question creates an environment of dichotomy and dualism among APRNs. The DNP and NP are not in separate, opposing “camps” as this question indicates. NPs, together with certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives, are the four complementary specialty APRN roles of our profession. According to the American Academy of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), these specialty focused nursing roles will be phased out and replaced with the terminal nursing degree, the DNP, as of 2015. The master’s degree in nursing will still be offered for a generalist role. Not all current APRNs will be required to obtain their DNP degree. This will depend on personal choice, and likely based on years of future practice projected. The current APRNs who decline the DNP will be “grandfathered” into the new APRN required DNP (AACN).
The purpose of this degree is not to create yet another nursing degree option, as has been the history in our profession with the DNS, PhD, DrNP, ND, etc. This disjointing of degrees has only served to divide our profession and cause dissention. The DNP is designed not only to unify our profession, but to bring our practice as APRNs, in all the various specialties, to parity with our collegial partners in health care who already require doctorates. The DNP has also been developed for the purpose of meeting the challenges set forth by the IOM in their reports, “Crossing the Quality Chasm” (2001) and “The Future of Nursing Practice” (2010). A wonderful resource to answer all of your DNP questions about this degree, what is, and what will be required is the AACN website FAQs on the DNP. You can find information on both requirements for education, along with rationale and resources for our advanced nursing degree. This is an excellent site and will clear up any confusion. And read past posts from the DNP Answers blog to see how other contributors have responded to similar questions.
Making the decision to pursue a DNP is a major life decision and should not be entered into lightly or with preconceived notions. Researching the degree and all that it encompasses will provide you with a knowledgeable and factual base to make this life changing decision.
Editor's note: Here at the DNP Answers blog we take your questions about the DNP and answer them as best we can. This question is answered by blogger Catherine Nichols, MSN, ANP-BC, a DNP student and adult nurse practitioner. Comment below to discuss this topic, or send new questions to email@example.com.
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