The Influence of Doctor of Nursing Practice Education on Nurse Practitioner Practice
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractNurse practitioners (NPs) have been undergoing a rapid transition in their entry-level degree, from Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). At this time, it is important to establish research evidence on the effects of doctoral education on NP practice. Therefore, a qualitative study of practicing NPs that have returned for the DNP degree was conducted. The purpose was to describe NPs' perceptions of their DNP education, and particularly its influence on their professionalism and patient care. A literature review and evidence synthesis process showed that the available body of research provides little insight into the question of how DNP education affects NP practice; therefore, qualitative description methodology was used to describe this phenomenon. The research questions that guided the study were: 1) What changes do practicing NPs describe about their clinical practice after the experience of completing a DNP?; and, 2) What are the NPs' perceptions of and concerns about the influences of their DNP educational experience on their clinical practice? Two published models and the DNP Essentials (AACN, 2006) informed and guided the data collection and analysis process. Purposive sampling and analyses continued concurrently until data saturation was achieved. Ten DNP prepared NPs were interviewed, and there was wide variation in the sample. The overarching theme Growth into DNP Practice summarizes the participants' perceptions of the changes that have occurred as a result of their DNP educational experience. Four major themes that support the overarching theme are: (a) Broader Thinking and Work Focus; (b) New Knowledge and Interests; (c) New Opportunities; and, (d) "Doctor" Title an Asset. Conceptual categories under each major theme are described. Participants were overwhelmingly positive about the influences of their DNP education on their practice, but the role of the DNP graduate in knowledge translation has yet to be fully operationalized.
Degree ProgramGraduate College