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As one of the two doctoral level programs in nursing, the DNP is a practice-focused program and includes integrative practice experiences and a comprehensive practice related project (AACN, 2006). While the DNP program also helps develop competencies in theory, meta-theory, and research methodology, it is more practice focused than the other nursing doctoral degree, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing. Rather than the knowledge-generating research effort of a PhD program, the DNP program includes a practice application-oriented “final DNP project,” which is an integral part of the integrative practice experience.


My specific DNP program, which built upon my prior Master of Science in Nursing (MS) degree, helped develop the eight DNP Essential competencies through an initial series of courses providing core knowledge and skills. The courses focused on evidence-based practice (EBP) for the improvement of clinical care delivery, program evaluation, patient and population outcomes and health system leadership/management. The core courses were followed by a comprehensive four semester series of study including the development and implementation of a Quality Improvement Project (QIP). The combination of the instruction and the final DNP project addressed the eight DNP essentials including: (1) Scientific Underpinnings for Practice, (2) Organizational Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking, (3) Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for EBP, (4) Technology to Improve and Transform Health Care, (5) Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care, (6) Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Outcomes, (7) Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health, and (8) Advanced Nursing Practice.



American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). (2006). The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Retrieved from 42/Publications/DNPEssentials.pdf


DNP Essentials: About Me
DNP Essentials: Text
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