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.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

First Week Down

I have been spoiled by summer break and have now retreated into my isolative, distractible state. On-Campus week was a blast and I will get around to posting the highlights from Dr. Carter's talk on the future of primary care, but in the meantime, this is what I am looking at for a schedule:

Evaluation of Practice:
Formulate a PICO question to post to discussion board and respond to those who post on mine while also posting advice to others, complete 4 CITI modules, take the 7 IHI Open School courses, work on my part of the clinical phenomena group project on care transitions (testing), work on my portion of the group meta-analysis project, and read. A bunch.

Healthcare Economics:
Answer the assigned questions by posting on Blackboard and responding multiple times within the group to show I read all of the assigned readings and have some independent thought and understanding of the topics, format my first essay paper and decide what topic I want to write about, watch some powerpoint presentations of economic theories and applications in healthcare, and read a few chapters in the Health Economics texts (and these guys must know what they are talking about since the cover price for the book is $236 - I bought the international edition for $50 brand-new on eBay. How's that for economics?!).

Management of Mental Health and Psychiatric Disorders:
Attend a conference call . . . while inputting all of my clinical notes into Medatrax, spend 2 days at my clinical sites, decide which consultation project to tackle and hopefully get a couple of others to join in, and read a couple hundred pages from textbooks and secondary sources.

For this next week - see above. I also need to get my butt in gear for the APNA. I have most of the powerpoint complete but I find the balmy 85 degree temperatures much more tempting than my laptop.

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"We Take Care of It"

It's that time of year again. Time for me to curse Delta, humidity, and numb-butt. On campus for our third semester means 10 months until graduation . . . 10 months + 1 day until student loans go back into repayment. It also means I get to explore a bit more of downtown and contemplate how exacly to formulate a group session on alcohol therapeutics.

Compared to last year, it is almost like we are barely on campus. Monday was for the newbie and the only thing on the official agenda for Tuesday was Evaluation of Practice. I proudly waltzed in an hour late along with several other slackers (all of which I believe were from the Psych option) and spent most of my time looking up old evidenced-based practice lectures from my MSN to refresh myself on what a PICO question was. I would love to report I have any idea what the class was about, but a revised syllabus, 2 detailed assignment lists, and a lesson in literature search later and all I know is everything must be submitted electronically and the professors are willing to fire our group partners for us if they are not pulling their weight. You fire our problem? I don't think so. In psych, if we have a problem, we take care of it. No need to resort to tattling (I think that is a king to rook four on the lateral violence chess board, but I need to look it up to be certain).  I think this class is going to be the Epidemiology of year two.

Did I mention 10 months until graduation?