The Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree is a program of study for the advanced practice nurse (APN) in the area of clinical practice. Practical application of such knowledge is designed to meet the unique, complex needs of our health care system, along with the advancement of the ANP profession. Focused areas of study include nursing practice, patient outcomes, leadership skills, epidemiology, statistics, ethics, systems, and organizations.
I had joined the faculty of the University of Detroit Mercy to teach nursing students. Part of my role was to join the DNP program development task force at the McAuley School of Nursing. My experiences in private practice gave a new perspective into the usefulness of the degree. My experience illustrates why the DNP is important and what it can do for APNs. I was a certified nurse-midwife for 8 years in a hospital based, full scope, group practice. Issues of quality, patient centered care never came into question. We seemed to be without vulnerabilities. In addition to outstanding patient care outcomes and highly favorable patient surveys, we also enjoyed status as equal members of the medical staff, with admitting and voting privileges. We functioned as a stand alone group of nurse-midwives, and had a mutually respectful relationship with our physician consultants. Events unfolded that lead to our practice being closed by the hospital and we found ourselves at a loss to demonstrate our worth.
By utilizing the tools learned in a Doctorate of Nursing program, advance practice nurses will afford the opportunity to demonstrate their safe, high quality, effective, comprehensive, patient-centered care. DNP prepared APNs will be able to manage and monitor their practices in a manner that ensures a continued presence in patient's lives while thriving professionally in an ever-changing health care environment.