When you decide to pursue advanced education as a nurse, one of the first things you’ll discover is you have several nursing degree options to choose from. For many, it can be a little overwhelming. Today, I want to highlight one nursing degree that has grown in popularity over the last several years; the Doctorate of Nursing Practice or DNP.

I thought the best way to shed some light on the DNP is to introduce you to a couple of nurses at HCA who have this degree and ask them why they chose this program and how having the degree has been beneficial. See my conversation below with Loressa Cole, DNP and Troy Trosclair, DNS. Loressa is the Chief Nursing Officer at LewisGale Hospital – Montgomery and Troy is VP of Clinical Services for our MidAmerica Division.

Jane: How is the DNP degree different from other doctoral degrees in nursing?

Loressa: The DNP offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. The  “practice” doctorate builds on traditional master’s programs by providing education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, leadership and assists with not only a deeper understanding of research, but actually provides the skills needed to acculturate research into practice.

Troy: The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal professional degree that focuses on the clinical aspects of a disease process . It is not a research focused degree like the PhD. The curriculum for the DNP degree generally includes advanced practice, diagnoses, and treatment of diseases as an independent primary care provider. The DNP is intended to be a parity degree with other health care doctorates such as psychology, medicine, and dentistry.

 

J: What are some nursing roles that the DNP prepares a nurse to assume?

T: Primary practice roles in nursing include advance nursing practice (APN) roles such as the nurse practitioner(NP), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse midwife (CNM), and the clinical nurse specialist (CNS).

L: The DNP is now the recommended degree for advance-practice nurses as well as nurses seeking executive leadership roles in organizations/health systems

 

J: What was/is the best part of the DNP program for you?

L: As a Magnet CNO, the DNP provided essential knowledge to understand and then implement nursing evidence into the practice setting, a critical component for Magnet designation.

T: Primary practice roles in nursing include advance nursing practice (APN) roles such as the nurse practitioner(NP), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse midwife (CNM), and the clinical nurse specialist (CNS).

 

J: What advice do you have for nurses considering a DNP education?

T: If a practice doctorate fits into one’s  career path, I definitely recommend the DNP. It will eventually be required to become an APN.

L: GO for it!  There was not one assignment or lecture that was not relevant to my leadership role.  I am a better leader because of this education, and found the experience to be not only rejuvenating, but also resulted in a renewed commitment to my profession.