What is a DNP?
The member schools affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) voted to endorse the Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing on October 25, 2004, to meet the high standards of the evolving medical world. AACN member institutions endorsed the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice on October 30, 2006. The Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is an alternative terminal professional nursing degree to the research-focused doctoral degree for the four current Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) roles: clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner.
Practice-focused doctoral programs prepare graduates for the highest level of nursing practice beyond the initial preparation in the nursing discipline. Nurses prepared at the doctoral level with a blend of clinical, organizational, economic and leadership skills. The DNP program focuses on providing leadership for evidence-based practice, requiring competence in translating research in practice, evaluating evidence, applying research in decision-making, and implementing viable clinical innovations to change practice. The DNP program broadens APNs’ skills and knowledge in direct patient care, as well as administrative roles within the healthcare system.
How are they addressed? Doctor or nurse?
Advanced Practice Nurses holding a doctoral degree are addressed as "doctor," similar to clinical psychologists, dentists, and podiatrists. DNP is a title and does not change the role of the APN. APNs will retain their specialist roles after completing the doctoral program. For example, Nurse Practitioners holding a DNP degree will continue to introduce themselves as Nurse Practitioners. DNPs would be expected to clearly display their credentials to ensure that patients understand their preparation as a nursing providers.
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