Live From the DNP Conference in St. Louis
ADVANCE for NPs & PAs is covering the 5th National Doctors of Nursing Practice conference, hosted by DNP, Inc., here in St. Louis, Mo. The conference kicked off yesterday afternoon with a presentation by DNP Inc. director David O'Dell, DNP, FNP-BC, on results of 3 years of surveys of DNP graduates. O'Dell pointed out some notable and sometimes surprising trends in DNP education that the survey showed, including that BSN-to-DNP enrollment decreased in 2012, choice of a clinical focus is decreasing as leadership and education are becoming more popular, and the numbers of credit hours and clinical hours in DNP programs seems to be decreasing. These results prompted a lot of discussion, and O'Dell reminded attendees that only 247 DNP graduates responded to the survey, so while the results are interesting, we should keep that small number of respondents in mind.
Day 1 closed with a keynote talk by Marie Annette Brown, PhD, RN, ARNP, FNP, FAAN, who discussed the pioneering days of the DNP degree. Brown helped to pave the road for the DNP in 2003 by participating in testimony to create the first practice doctorate in nursing at the University of Washington, where she is on faculty. She encouraged attendees to revisit the idea of a nurse practitioner elevator speech and create one for the DNP, because educating colleagues and the public about the DNP is going to continue to be important.
"This is a long-term transition," said Brown. "Living through the transition of certificate to master's degree [for nurse practitioner certification] helps me speak with confidence that this can occur in a respectful way that will continue to involve all of us." The DNP is an essential foundation for advanced practice nurses to enter practice and become nursing leaders, she added.
Respect among NPs of all ages and educational backgrounds has been a strong theme. Today's keynote presenter, Margaret Rhoads Scharf, DNP, PMHNCNS-BC, FNP-BC, PMHNP, discussed the role of the DNP in nursing education. She discussed the questions that DNP graduates in academia are facing now and that collaboration and respect among PhD, MSN and DNP nurses, as well as among students and experienced clinicians, is essential for nursing to bridge the gap between evidence and practice.
"We want stakeholders to think of us first for practice improvement," said Scharf. Attendees thanked her for her inspiration in the Q&A afterward.
The conference continues through tomorrow, September 21, 2012. Read live tweets by following us at @ADVANCEforNPPA.