Website spotlight: Doctor of nursing practice degree programs skyrocketing

Nurse Leader Insider, June 4, 2012

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Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2012

"But they don't have enough education."

That's one of the arguments that physicians make against autonomy for advanced practice nurses. But that argument will slowly erode away as more and more nurses get their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees.

In just a few short years, the number of DNP programs in the country has skyrocketed from 20 in the year 2006 to 184 in 2011. An additional 101 programs are in the planning stages, according to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The AACN also reports that DNP programs are available in 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

One of those states is Louisiana, where Loyola University New Orleans has just graduated its first class of 18 doctoral students from the state's only DNP program. Loyola has two DNP options: a two-year post-master's program and a three-year post baccalaureate program. The program there started in 2010 and just accepted its third class.

Before DNP programs, doctoral degrees in nursing were research-focused, says to Gwen George, R.N., D.N.P., F.N.P., B.C., assistant professor of nursing and coordinator for the DNP program at Loyola. But many nurses who wanted advanced degrees didn't want to be researchers; they wanted to take care of patients.

Source: HealthLeaders Media

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