The April issue of The Nurse Practitioner journal is designated as the DNP issue, with a special focus on articles by authors who have earned a DNP degree. This year, nine DNP authors are featured.
For continuing education credit, we offer an article about nutritional assessment and management of patients in the acute care setting, written by Renay D. Tyler, DNP, RN, ACNP and Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, FAAN. The authors use the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition guidelines, reinforcing that planning for discharge and working with a multidisciplinary team should begin at hospital admission.
Rhonda Winegar, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CPN, CCRN and Alisha Johnson, MSN, RN discuss workplace policies surrounding breastfeeding in the workplace. Using a case report, Lorraine M. Novosel, PhD, CRNP AGPCNP-BC; Catherine A. Grant, DNP, FNP-BC; Lauren M. Dormin, DNP, NP-C; and Timothy M. Coleman, DNP, FNP-BC present a 73-year-old male with a body mass index over 47 to discuss the benefits and risks of weight loss. Kathleen Broglio, DNP, ANP-BC, ACHPN, CPE, FPCN and Anne Walsh, ANP-BC, CWOCN, ACHPN review referring patients to hospice or palliative care. And in our Clinical Case Report department, Mary Carver, DNP, MSN, ANP-BC, CDE and Michelle Drew, DNP, MPH, CNM, FNP-C discuss evaluating patients for idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
April is also Oral Cancer Awareness Month and National Interprofessional Health Care Month. Both of these themes are reflected in two articles: Brenda L. Janotha, DNP-DCC, EdD, ANP-BC and Katrin Tamari, DDS emphasize the potential to improve outcomes for patients with oral cancer through interprofessional collaboration, and Durline Brown-Manhertz, DNP, RN, FNP-BC takes a look at using smartphones to improve interdisciplinary collaboration in our online exclusive article.
The number of schools offering a DNP program is growing along with the number of DNP graduates. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported the number of DNP programs across the country was 289 in April 2016 and almost 22,000 graduates.1 Desired outcomes for DNP graduates include clinical leadership and clinical scholarship. Not all DNP graduates are engaged in direct patient care; some impact patient outcomes indirectly.
In their 2015 article, Redman et al. posed these questions: “Are graduates of current DNP programs able to lead system change? Are DNP graduates prepared to implement policy change? Do DNP programs provide environments that promote the development of high impact leadership skills? Are DNP graduates managing panels of persons with multiple chronic conditions across sites, a responsibility they are educated to assume? Who will monitor outcomes and achievements of DNP graduates to ensure healthcare is improved?”2
Curricula for DNP programs and expected outcomes/competencies are guided by the AACN's The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Outcome data for DNP graduates in practice, education, administration, and other roles are being collected and analyzed.
Providing quality care
Anecdotally, we know that nurses with DNP preparation are making a difference in the quality of care patients receive and the healthcare outcomes they experience. The articles featured this month provide some insight into how the role of NPs and other advanced practice registered nurses continues to expand to meet the healthcare needs of diverse populations.
Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP