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.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More Than One Way to Change a Bedpan

While writing a story about military nursing careers, my husband expressed his condolences on the lack of branding among nurses.  The following breaks down part of the problem:

"Nurse" = 1 year vocational degree (LVN/LPN, certification)
                  2 year associates degree (RN, ADN)
                  4 year bachelor degree (RN, BSN)
                  5-6+ year undergraduate and masters degree (RN, ADN with bachelors/BSN, MSN)
                  7-8 year undergraduate degee with clinical doctorate (RN, BSN, DNP with/without MSN)
                  9+ year undergraduate with research doctorate (RN, BSN, PhD with or without MSN)

While this variety provides a lot of career path options, it also fuels arguments within and against the nursing profession. From bedside to research lab and from team member to leader, we are omnipresent in every aspect of healthcare delivery and comprise the largest group of licensed providers in this country, yet have only a small voice in the politics of healthcare. 

Among ourselves, we have been fighting over establishing the BSN as minimum entry to RN-level practice for decades, played with practice doctorate titles for more than a generation until finally settling on the still misunderstood DNP, engaged in "class warfare" between educational, licensure, and certification designations, and maintained our continued participation in eating our young.  Some of us in advanced practice forget we share the same theory of care as LPNs and RNs and our responsibility to represent the entire discipline, not just our little part of it.  Though many opportunities exsist, we are not enthusiastically active in national organizations as students and let memberships lapse as 12-hour shifts and general life erode our enthusiasm and participation in professional development. 

Meanwhile, our "most trusted profession" public rating year after year, research supporting expansion of independent practice based on delivery if cost-effectivene care with patient outcomes and satisfaction on-par or better than physicians, and government encouragement for equal collaboration among independent licensed providers continues to be discounted by many provider-peers who continue resisting the change from paternalism to partnership and parity. 

Yes, we need a rebranding.

1 comment:

  1. Intense clinical work and heavy class workloads, which need to be completed within strict timelines, are the norm. This puts people off Accelerated BSN Programs, and so, many opt to enroll in a standard 4 year BSN Program.