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In the Light
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Med Schools Decreasing to 3 Years
In response to the shortage of primary care physicians, some medical schools are decreasing the traditional 4-year medical doctorate program to 3 years. Vacation time, concentration on primary care, and eliminating electives will enable this transition in at least 3 medical schools. (See the September 26, 2013 MSNBC report by Jansing and Co.) Although this is not being called an "accelerated MD" it sounds akin to the "accelerated BSN" post-bachelor's programs that prepare professional nurses in 11-18 months as opposed to 2 years.
 
What impact will a 3 year MD have on how the 3 year DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) is viewed?
 
Both are clinical doctorates preparing clinicians to care for patients (as opposed to research doctorates focusing on building the science). Both programs will be approximately 3 years in length.
 
I'm not suggesting the two degrees will be the same because the focus for each, although similar, is different. Medicine focuses on diagnosis and treatment of pathophysiology. Nursing focuses on restoration, maintenance, and promotion of health. What this means in practice is that nurse practitioners may consult with MDs about illness diagnoses, and add a lot of health teaching related to patients' goals and health status.
 
But I do wonder, how will these degrees be valued if both are completed in 3 years?
 
Any thoughts?  
About the Author

Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner
Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, serves as editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing and as a per diem staff nurse in behavioral health in Wichita, Kansas.

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