About One DNP

I earned my "terminal practice" degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in a journey of excitement and challenge. It inspired me to advocate for an all encompassing clinical credential rather than continuing the hodgepodge of nonsensical initials. I hope these entries will provide entertainment and insight into the Doctor of Nursing Practice experience, which will soon be the entry standard for all advanced practice nurses.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's in a Set of Initials?

During on-campus time this week (more on that later) some of us were looking through the UTHSC yearbook and realized every other health discipline with the exception of nursing only listed their highest academic/licensed achievement. For those that were strictly degreed and certified in one discipline (i.e. only a medical doctor or a pharmacist rather than a physical therapist with a philosophy doctorate), their formal listings looked something like this:

John Doe, MD

Jane Doe, DDS

Will Brown, PhD

Sara Brown, DPT

Steve Norris, AuD

Nancy Norris, Pharm.D

 . . . and then there was the nursing department:


(Really? Yes, really.)

On a few of my professional LinkedIn groups, a number of threads have been started questioning the need for alphabet soup credentials and in what order to put them in. One of the participants posted an informative article from ANCC called Playing the Credentials Game (and quite appropriately, the author had an absurd number of credentials listed after her name) which reccommends listing degrees highest to lowest, state license, ANCC certifications, fellowships, and other awards. So I guess my high school GED comes before my RN-BC which comes before the Walden Theatre Unicorn Award I won for being a team player, but after my Golden Key Honor Society membership.

What it comes down to is that without a national scope of practice represented by one designation, as most of our healthcare colleagues have, we are likely doomed to feel listing degree, licensure, state designation, and national certification essential. I suppose either bravado or compensation makes us feel it necessary to list awards and certifications. As for myself, I will stick with my original response to the question of how to present one's name:

I am passionate about the over-listing of credentials that nurses have adopted in comparison to other healthcare professionals that pick their highest degree/license. I list my highest licensing credential (APRN) and that is it because it encompasses my RN and graduate level education (which you cannot have without some level of undergraduate, and for that matter high school education). After reading the article Francis posted (thank you), I am more compelled with my plan to list my DNP only, since it is the terminal degree for advanced practice, just like the MDs, PsychDs, DPTs, and PharmDs do:

Jaclyn Engelsher, DNP
Family, Psychiatry

1 comment:

  1. Direct form Blackboard: I plan to use DNP and let my resume do the rest of the talking, but then I am also of the cynical opinion that the APRN title just verifies the ongoing perception that you are an RN with some extra training. While it is true not all DNPs will have the same practice background/environment, the same can be said for any of the other doctoral healthcare professionals. If you see someone with DNP after their name at a birth center, I doubt you will get them confused with someone wearing the same initials in the hospital boardroom or wearing scrubs in the OR. Just as with our physician colleagues, the setting tells the specialty . . . and the 15 different pieces of paper framed and hanging on the wall!