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, June 8, 2012

What Now?

The post-graduation elation has given way to the reality that I now have to use the education I have taken a couple of decades to acquire.  So, where does a DNP go from here?

For starters, I have to take the ANCC certification exam. Application was sent, the card was charged, and I am anxiously awaiting my approval to test. I will be provided a 90-day test window, and if all goes according to plan, I should be certified and licensed as an PMHNP in KY by August (and you know what I am going to do with that set of initials).  As soon as I get this piece of paper, I will create my study plan.

Next, a job. I already have my private practice doing what I do, but if I want to truly put theory into practice, I need to create my own psych-mental health residency in the form of employment. Thus far, I have ruled out MSN or DNP university positions. I have had interviews and opportunities, but frankly, the teachers I admire most are the ones that can back it up with a few years of clinical practice. As someone who preaches to my BSN students to "be the nurse you would want as your nurse," I have an obligation to "be the teacher I would want as my teacher." I am most interested in the VA and had an interview for a few positions this week. I did my own reflective journal on this, but will wait to hear one way or another before I post my thoughts on the experience.

The capstone is completed, and I want it published. Since the topic involved interdisciplinary research, it is a bit more difficult to find a home than it would be for straight nursing. I have a few ideas that I plan to explore this coming week.

Next week, I am jumping out of a plane with the Golden Knights as part of the Army Medicine Experience Tour at the Brooke Army Medicine Center.  The American Psychiatric Nurses Association  was kind enough to ask me to represent the organization and I am especially looking forward to learning about all the work they are doing with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD at the Center for the Intrepid.

Speaking of APNA, this September I was invited to take part in a task force on local chapter operations. I and a colleague will also be presenting a pre-conference session on integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine in the psych/mental health setting at the 26th annual convention in Pittsburg.

Phew, school might be over, but the learning and leadership is just beginning!


  1. Hello. I'm so glad I found your blog. I will be entering this program this Fall and had no idea what it would be like. Your postings have helped. I am currently working full-time and wanted to know if it's possible to continue working full-time with this program. What are your thoughts??

  2. If you work a M-F job, you can work full-time for the first semester because there will be no clinical hours. You have to finish 600 hours over the course of 3 semesters, and it will get tough if you do not get as much done from the get-go as possible. I worked at my private practice 3 days a week, taught at the university one day per week, and did clinical hours 2 days a week. Get started on looking for preceptors and getting them the contracts now! It is a fantastic program and I have grown in leadership and critical reasoning skills far more than I expected. Best of success!

    1. Thanks.I will be on a rotating shift, work:Mon, Tues, off Wed, Thurs, work fri, sat, sun, then off Mon, Tues,..and so forth. I live within 30 miles from campus, so I'm thinking my clinicals will be done on campus. Is this accurate???