Q: Do you know of any recent data
indicating the number of DNPs currently in faculty positions in the U.S.? Also,
do you know of any data on the yearly number of scholarly publications by DNPs?
A: The DNP degree is the new kid on the block in the world
of healthcare doctoral degrees. Because of the fairly new acceptance and
implementation of these graduates, there stands virtually no literature on how
these DNP graduates are being utilized currently in the healthcare industry.
These graduates are used in a multitude of areas, as the degree gives the
graduate a vast array of opportunities for utilization and healthcare
Zaccagnini and White (2011) define multiple areas of healthcare
in which the DNP role is, or potentially can be, utilized. In the practice
setting, current DNP roles of clinicians (ANP, Pediatric NP, FNP, Nurse
Midwife, Nurse Anesthetist, and CNS) are expanded upon and broadened. Other
roles DNPs are or can embrace are those of the nurse as expert theorist,
informaticist, researcher, lobbyist/political executive, educator,
entrepreneur, public and community health executive, etc...(Zaccagnini &
White, 2011). To date however, there are no published studies revealing the actual
utilization and practice of current DNPs.
The evidence of the DNPs' great popularity points to its practical
success in the healthcare industry, although unproven. The popularity of the
degree is exemplified by the growing number of colleges and universities
offering the degree, and by the increased rates of enrollment in the DNP
programs. According to the AACN, there are currently 184 colleges and
universities across the U.S.
offering the DNP degree, surpassing the 126 PhD programs now offered, and 101
programs are in the planning stages. The immense popularity can be seen as well
through the exponential growth of DNP enrollees. From 2010 to 2011 alone, the
number of DNP enrollees grew from 7, 034 to 9,094. The increasing number of DNP
graduates is impressive as well with 1,282 in 2010 to 1,595 in 2011 (AACN).
The growth of this degree brings with it the development of
an equal number of scholarly projects and publications. There again, is not a
central clearing house of published scholarly projects of DNP graduates, but
the number can be estimated deductively.
The final requirement of the degree is that of a capstone project that
is published in a profession journal. All DNP graduates have met this requirement
in order to obtain the doctorate. The annual number of scholarly project
publications then, correlates to the number of annual graduates of the DNP
The DNP online community organization provides a listing of
searchable DNP projects. These must be submitted to the website by the DNP, so
it is not a comprehensive list. The organization is a champion of disseminating
these projects, with the hope of becoming a national clearing house of
scholarly DNP publications. Much remains to be done to accomplish this goal.
You can access these online at the DNP website: http://www.doctorsofnursingpractice.org.
Research on the current utilization and contributions of
this new degree is in demand, and happens to be the topic of my scholarly project.
The utilization of DNPs in Michigan Public and Teaching hospital systems is its
focus, and will be posted on the DNP website in the not-too-distant future.
This is an exciting and revolutionary time in our nation's healthcare history.
We as DNPs are given the opportunity to fill multiple voids in our system,
ultimately for the improved provision of care of our nation's population.
- American Association of Colleges of
Nursing. (2009). Doctor of nursing practice
(DNP) programs frequently asked
questions. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu
- Zaccagnini, M. E., White, K.W.
(2011). Doctor of nursing practice
essentials: A new model for advanced practice.
Jones and Bartlett
note: At the DNP Answers blog, nurse practitioners with a DNP answer
your questions about the degree. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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