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Doctor of Nursing Practice

Samuel Merritt University's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program commenced in 2011. The National Academy of Science in 2005 stated that "the need for doctorally prepared practitioners and clinical faculty would be met if nursing could develop a new non-research clinical doctorate, similar to the MD and PharmD in medicine and pharmacy, respectively." The American Association of Colleges of Nursing issued a position statement that includes a goal to transition all advanced practice nursing programs from the master's to the DNP by 2015.

New areas of knowledge such as genetics, environmental health, care of diverse populations, and global health require new models for education and practice. The nursing profession is the critical link for delivery of safe, effective, and patient-centered care. DNP education will produce the profession's future leaders. SMU's DNP program is designed to develop nurse leaders who will transform health care on a local and national scale.

HOW DOES THE DNP COMPARE WITH THE PhD?

The PhD prepares the nurse to discover new data through research. The DNP prepares the nurse to apply research and evaluate data in clinical practice. The two roles are complementary and both are needed to forward practice through collaborative teamwork. The DNP provides an advanced educational credential for those in pursuit of expertise in evidence-based practice implementation. It also provides a better match of program requirements with the credential earned.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF THE DNP DEGREE?

An individual with a DNP doctoral level education will be able to:

  • Design programs of care delivery that are effective, acceptable to patients and care providers, and economically feasible.
  • Significantly impact health care outcomes.
  • Critique and apply scientific clinical findings.
  • Transform health care delivery by applying best practices to the clinical care of individuals, families, and communities.
  • Develop advanced competencies for iincreasingly complex care and leadership in global health, genetics, and biomedical sciences.

For more information on the DNP at SMU contact Michelle DeCoux Hampton, DNP Director at mhampton@samuelmerritt.edu.

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