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The Doctor of Nursing Practice

From Start-Up to Impact

Terhaar, Mary F.; Taylor, Laura A.; Sylvia, Martha L.

doi: 10.5480/14-1519
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AIM This article reflects on the progress of the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree and its place in health care.

BACKGROUND The DNP originated over 10 years ago, long enough for a comprehensive evaluation.

METHOD Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation Theory is used to trace the history of the DNP. Nurse leaders from service and academia (n = 120) share strategies and innovations, and evaluate DNP education with a focus on outcomes and impact.

RESULTS As schools of nursing target DNPs to become faculty to mitigate the shortage, participants agreed it is time to focus on graduating strong leaders prepared to transform health care.

CONCLUSION A growing number of nurses practicing in diverse roles have earned the DNP from programs that vary considerably in rigor. Demand for the competencies, skills, and experience which DNPs bring to practice is high as organizations adapt to the accountable care environment.

About the AuthorsMary F. Terhaar, DNSc, RN, FAAN, is professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Laura A. Taylor, PhD, RN, ANEF, is associate professor, Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner Program, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. Martha L. Sylvia, PhD, MBA, RN, is associate professor in the College of Nursing and director of population health analytics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina. This work was accomplished with funding from the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission Nursing Support Program II. For more information, contact Dr. Terhaar atmft27@case.edu.

© 2016 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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