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Advances in Neonatal Care:
doi: 10.1016/j.adnc.2006.08.001
Lessons in Leadership

PRIMER ON THE PRACTICE DOCTORATE FOR NEONATAL NURSE PRACTITIONERS

BELLFLOWER, BOBBY RNC, NNP, DNSc1,2; CARTER, MICHAEL A. DNSc, FAAN APRN-BC2

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Abstract

Recent advances in technology, research, and knowledge have amplified the need for longer and more in-depth education for neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs). In this article we will briefly review the history of NNP's role and education, define the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and propose that the practice doctorate is the primary mechanism to meet that need and thus is the future of our profession. Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are designed to prepare the practitioner as an expert clinical NNP. Graduates obtain the highest level of practice expertise integrated with the ability to translate scientific knowledge into complex clinical interventions tailored to meet individual, family, and community health and illness needs. Doctor of Nursing Practice education also expands the scientific basis for practice and clinical practice education, and provides organization and system management and leadership, quality improvement, analytic methods to evaluate practice and apply evidence to practice, enhanced skills in information technology, health policy development, and interdisciplinary collaboration for enhanced patient outcomes.

© 2006 National Association of Neonatal Nurses

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