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NURS 8002 DQ The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice

NURS 8002 DQ The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice


A doctoral degree carries a certain set of expectations associated with the completion of advanced educational attainment. Earning a DNP degree is no exception. What are the expectations associated with a DNP-prepared nurse? How might these expectations differ among nursing staff without a DNP degree?

For this Discussion, reflect on your personal motivations to pursue a DNP degree. Consider the expectations associated with the DNP-prepared nurse, including how these may differ with a PhD-prepared nurse. Reflect on the DNP degree requirements, including your practicum/field experience and completion of your Doctoral Project. Then, think about how you will demonstrate the alignment of the AACN DNP Essentials to the completion of these program-of-study milestones.

The role of a DNP-prepared nurse is multifaceted; they can serve as nurse educators, policy and legislation advocates, direct nursing care supervisors, or advanced practice nurses responsible for tracking, installing, and monitoring initiatives aimed at improving nursing and healthcare delivery. Regardless of the expectations associated with a DNP-prepared nurse, throughout your program of study, you will hone the skills necessary to enact each of these roles. Consider which role you are most excited about. What do you hope to accomplish in the realm of professional nursing practice with your DNP degree?

To prepare:

    • Review the Learning Resources and reflect on the reasons you have chosen to pursue a DNP degree. How do you anticipate that earning this degree will support your professional goals?
    • Reflect on the differences between DNP and PhD degrees. How may this relate to your decision to pursue the DNP degree?
    • Review the degree requirements for completing your DNP at Walden. Specifically, consider the focus of the Doctoral Project and practicum experiences as discussed in the DNP Essentials document. Keep in mind that you will be required to identify a site or sites for completion of your DNP project and your practicum hours required for the degree. You can refer to the Field Experience requirements presented in the Learning Resources.

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  • After reviewing the DNP Essentials document and the DNP Project Process Guide for the DNP project, reflect on what it means to address an organization’s needs to attend to a gap in practice or implement a practice change. What is the difference between a gap in practice and a practice change? How does your role as the DNP-prepared nurse contribute to meeting a stakeholder need?

By Day 3 of Week 4

Post a brief explanation of the role of the nurse with a practice doctorate. Be specific. Explain the expectations associated with

NURS 8002 DQ The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice

NURS 8002 DQ The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice

obtaining this degree, including how these expectations might be different for a nurse who holds a different degree. Then, explain how these considerations relate to your motivation to pursue a DNP, including a brief description of how your role as a DNP-prepared nurse will meet a potential organization’s need to address a gap in practice or implement a practice change. Discuss any experiences you have had in addressing a gap in practice or a practice change within an organization. Be specific.

By Day 6 of Week 4

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses and respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days by suggesting an additional perspective on what it means to be a nurse with a practice doctorate, offer support to the expectations with obtaining the degree that your colleague posted, or expand upon your colleague’s post.

Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!

NURS 8002 DQ The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice

Weeks 4–5: AACN Essentials for the Doctorally Prepared Nurse

[The AACN DNP] Essentials outline the foundational competencies that are core to all advanced practice roles, including the four nationally-recognized Advanced Practice Registered Nursing roles: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives.
— American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2006)

What does it mean to be a DNP-prepared nurse? What core function of advanced nursing practice do you hope to practice upon completion of your DNP? How will earning a DNP enhance your nursing practice?

Questions such as these may represent some underlying consideration that led you to pursue a DNP. In your role as a DNP-prepared nurse, you will likely be called upon to perform advanced nursing practice skills that not only enhance patient care but will impact the delivery of healthcare, organizational standards, and quality improvement initiatives.

This week, you consider the role of a nurse with a practice doctorate, including the expectations associated with obtaining a DNP degree. You reflect on your personal motivations for pursuing a doctoral degree and begin to examine how your proposed Doctoral Project and practicum/field experience will align to the AACN DNP Essentials.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). DNP essentials. https://www.aacnnursing.org/DNP/DNP-Essentials

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze the role of a nurse with a practice doctorate
  • Analyze expectations associated with obtaining the DNP degree
  • Analyze personal motivations for pursing a doctoral degree
  • Explain the role of the DNP-prepared nurse in meeting organizational quality improvement needs
  • Evaluate alignment between the AACN DNP Essentials and completion of Doctoral Projects
  • Evaluate alignment between the AACN DNP Essentials and completion of a practicum/field experience

Learning Resources

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Dear Holly,

Thank you for your post and the comprehensive insight that you provide in the discussion. I enjoyed reading it and I agree with that indeed each doctoral degree comes with particular responsibilities for the nursing student as a professional. The title attained through the qualification shows credibility and demonstrate a resolve to future lifelong learning. As posited nurses should align their individual goals with the two different doctoral degrees in nursing; a PhD and DNP.

Research is a fundamental part of quality nursing practice and findings from such studies offer opportunities for nurses to implement evidence-based practice interventions in their practice (Young et al., 12019). Therefore, through a PhD qualification, nurses can enhance their use of EBP findings to enhance quality care delivery and optimal patient outcomes (McCauley et al., 2020). Taking a PhD implies that one’s goal is research and helping nurse practitioners find the most appropriate approaches to care. On its art, a DNP focuses on ensuring that nurses improve practice quality and patient care. At the core of a DNP qualification is to acquire skills and competences that will enable nurse to ascend to managerial and leadership positions so that they can direct care patient care. Through a DNP qualification, nurses can assume more roles in care provision, especially due to the current reforms in the healthcare sector that have led to increased demand for services (Michael & Clochesy, 2017). The emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) means that nurse leaders must develop appropriate interventions to help nurses deliver care while minimizing issues like burnouts and shortage that leads to increased turnover and poor services provision. Therefore, as observed in your post, nurses pursuing these terminal degrees must ensure that they align with their lifelong practice and learning goals.



McCauley, L. A., Broome, M. E., Frazier, L., Hayes, R., Kurth, A., Musil, C. M., … & Villarruel,

A. M. (2020). Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree in the United States: Reflecting, readjusting, and getting back on track. Nursing outlook, 68(4), 494-503. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2020.03.008

Michael, S.J., & Clochesy, J.M. (2017). From scientific discovery to health outcomes: A

synergistic model of doctoral nursing education. Nurse Education Today, 40. 84-86. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2016.02.011.

Young, D., Colvin, N., Seibenhener, S., & Johnson, A. (2019). The nursing doctorate: one size

does not fit all. Creative nursing, 25(4), 334-337. doi: 10.1891/1078-4535.25.4.334.

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