Second Generation Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program Development

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 9:10 AM

Robin Dennison, DNP, RN, CCNS
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

DNP programs are being retooled as DNP graduates enter academe and contribute to DNP curriculum development. The DNP graduate comes to this task with a unique view of what was most and least helpful in the DNP program they attended along with what they believe should be included in a DNP program. Also, the AACN DNP Essentials are now available to provide some consistency among DNP programs. The original DNP programs were MSN to DNP programs. As we approach the target date of 2015, when a DNP will be required to be eligible for certification/licensure as an advanced practice nurse in the US, MSN programs are being retooled to BSN to DNP programs. It is recognized that this redesign cannot merely add the commensurate number of hours to be a doctoral program, but must put emphasis on the scientific underpinnings for advanced nursing practice. The product of the BSN to DNP program must be a nurse with advanced specialty knowledge but with more expertise in the use of scientific evidence to substantiate their practice. While the PhD graduate is intended to be a producer of evidence, the DNP is intended to lead in the utilization of the best evidence in the improvement of patient outcomes. Also, education and experience in leadership within healthcare systems in our traditional MSN programs is quite limited. The BSN to DNP programs include a greater emphasis on healthcare systems, systems thinking, leadership within complex healthcare systems, and current quality and safety initiatives. While most MSN programs provide approximately 500 practica hours focused on advanced practice, the BSN to DNP graduate student will spend more than 1000 hours developing skills in advanced specialty practice and practice leadership. Therefore, they are more prepared to assume a role as an advanced practice nurses or practice leader upon graduation.