Establishing Your DNP Credibility
Sometimes being the first of your kind is exciting, and sometimes it can be daunting and confusing. When I received my DNP I felt empowered, but I did not know where I would find my niche in an organization where there were no other doctoral-prepared NPs or PAs. My niche became a satellite clinic where I am the sole provider for health services to clients between the ages of 2 and above. I have a supervising physician that does not work with me because we work opposite shifts. I run the clinic autonomously 5 days a week. I have increased the number of patients establishing at the clinic and the reputation of the clinic over the last year.
The fact that I am a DNP makes it even better, because it showcases the degree (which is still largely unknown in this area) and my ability as an NP to deliver high quality care without supervision or oversight. This may seem to some as not so big a deal, but in my organization this is an anomaly. None of the other NPs work and run an entire clinic independently. I am in charge of the day to day grind and manage a small group of staff that assists me in making sure I am able to deliver top-notch, high quality care. What makes it even better is that with the current legislative climate in Florida surrounding independent practice for NPs (legislation that did not pass) my clinic may also serve as a model for legislators to use as a means to get important health policy passed in the future.
In July, I was visited by a local representative with the Florida house to tour the facilities and to see what NPs actually do. We discussed the important role that NPs can play in increasing access to care for Floridians. We also discussed the doctoral degree and NP education and how I hoped that it would help boost lawmaker confidence in our educational preparation while moving towards independent practice in our state. I hope that this tour helped the legislator to see all the good work that NPs do in our communities, what really happens in the office, and how involved the supervising physician really is. The overly-exaggerated role of the supervising physician seemed to be heavily weighed when deliberating in legislative committee hearings this past session. What a reality check this could be.
It is important as a DNP to be engaged and visible in health policy by partnering with local and state representatives and educating them on the DNP to bring recognition and awareness to the title. We need to be able to clearly articulate the significance of our role, educational preparation, and potential to impact health care if utilized in a manner in which we were intended. This is vital to our existence and potentially could expand opportunities for us in the future.