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NURS 8100 Week 1 Discussion The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice
Week 1: Professional Opportunities for Doctorally Prepared Nurses
Welcome to the first week of Foundations and Essentials of Doctoral Study in Nursing. The work you complete in this course provides a strong foundation for graduate study at Walden University. Following successful completion of your program, you will be prepared to address the challenges and opportunities that doctorally prepared nurses are likely to encounter in the coming years.
Your journey begins with an exploration of the DNP and PhD degrees. This week, you examine the history and evolution of the DNP and PhD credentials, as well as the significance that your chosen degree holds for you, personally and professionally. You consider how the DNP and PhD degrees are distinguished from each other and from other graduate-level nursing degrees, and gain an appreciation for the unique value and relevance of each one.
- Differentiate doctoral degrees (DNP, PhD)
- Appraise the value of a doctoral degree for professional nurses
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Zaccagnini, M. & Pechacek, J. M. (2021). The doctor of nursing practice essentials: A new model for advanced practice nursing (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett.
[For DNP students ONLY]
- “Imagining the DNP Role” (pp. xv–xxiii)
This reading introduces and defines the DNP degree, with a particular emphasis on the aim to provide high-level preparation for the advanced practice of nursing.
Houser, J. (2018). Nursing research: Reading, using, and creating evidence (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
[For PhD students ONLY]
- Chapter 1, “The Importance of Research as Evidence in Nursing”
This chapter describes nursing research, its evolution, and its application in nursing practice.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.aacnnursing.org/DNP/DNP-Essentials
Cleary, M., Hunt, G. E., & Jackson, D. (2011). Demystifying PhDs: A review of doctorate programs designed to fulfill the needs of the next generation of nursing professionals. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 39(2), 273-280.
Conn, V. S., Zerwic, J., Rawl, S., Wyman, J. F., Larson, J. L., Anderson, C. M., …Markis, N. E. (2014). Strategies for a successful PhD program: Words of wisdom from the WJNR editorial board. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 36(1), 6-30.
This article speaks to the importance of nurse scientists and practitioners working together to accelerate the transformation of evidence into practice.
[For DNP students ONLY]
This article provides background on the development of the DNP degree, illustrates its necessary competencies, and evaluates the value of a DNP degree as well as challenges to its validity.
In this media program, the president of Walden University welcomes you to the Walden learning community and shares examples of how Walden students are making a difference in their communities. She also describes how Walden’s Welcome Center supports you as a new student and makes it easier for you to connect with Walden when you have a question or need information.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2011b). Introduction: The doctor of nursing practice [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 15 minutes.
In this media presentation, Dr. Joan Stanley discusses how the DNP degree evolved. In addition, Dr. Linda Beechinor and Dr. Susan Stefan share their experiences completing the DNP degree and explain how it has influenced their nursing careers.
Discussion: The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice
In response to the continuous changes in health care today, nurses are charged with staying well informed on many rapidly evolving aspects of patient care. They are also expected to contribute to the improvement of health care quality. Engaging in doctoral education is an admirable way to position oneself for accomplishing this goal, and it can lead to new professional opportunities.
Why did you decide to enroll in graduate school? What informed your decision to pursue your chosen degree? How will earning this degree influence your career?
This week, you consider the characteristics of various programs, including the DNP and the PhD. The focus of the DNP degree is on clinical practice, whereas the focus of the PhD is on research. In conjunction with other professional colleagues, DNP- and PhD-prepared nurses often collaborate to analyze critical issues and find appropriate ways to address them.
This first Discussion provides an opportunity for you to examine what it means to earn a doctorate and how your selected degree program relates to your professional goals.
- Consider the reasons you have chosen to pursue an advanced degree. How do you anticipate that earning this degree will support your professional goals?
- Reflect on the comments shared by the experts in this week’s media regarding the value of a DNP degree and the various roles available to DNP-prepared nurses, as well as the characteristics of the PhD program and opportunities for PhD-prepared nurses.
- Based on the information presented this week, have you developed any new ideas or goals for your future? If so, what are they?
By Day 3
Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:
- What does it mean to be a nurse with a practice or research doctorate? What are the expectations associated with this degree? How might this be different for a nurse who holds a different degree?
- How do these considerations relate to your motivation to pursue a doctoral degree right now?
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
By Day 6
Respond to at least two of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
- Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
- Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
- Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
- Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.
Note: There is no Assignment this week.
Submission and Grading Information
To access your rubric:
Week 1 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 6
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 1 Discussion
Week in Review
This week, you differentiated differences in doctoral degrees, specifically DNP and PhD and appraised the value of each for professional nurses.
Next week, you will consider what it takes to become a successful online doctoral student while fulfilling a myriad of personal and professional responsibilities.
posted 1 year ago (last edited 10 months ago)
RE: Discussion – Week 1
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I normally do not start off a discussion, but because this is the first week, I decided to do so this time.
I do think that both DNP and PhD educated nurses are “leaders” in their own right, but that the DNP leader is much more focused on clinical issues and outcomes, compared to the PhD leader who primarily focuses on research and adding to the body of literature that guides our profession. What I find most admirable is the mutual respect that is shown to the two doctorates (DNP and PhD) professionally. There is a recognition that working together, we are making a real difference to the nursing profession, and ultimately to healthcare in a more global way.
When I obtained my PhD, the DNP was just starting to gain recognition and many colleges and universities balked at calling it a terminal degree or allowing the graduates to teach at that level. Things have really changed now, as colleges and universities now realize that DNP graduates are wonderful clinical instructors and many also teach theory courses. The PhD has always been respected and, because it is a research based degree, schools that tend to put a lot of emphasis on having their faculty publish, do research, and gain national recognition for innovative educational techniques, etc., prefer to hire them.
Both degrees are now highly respected and the cross-over in what they do is sometimes difficult to distinguish. I do not think any student can go wrong choosing either degree. It is really personal preference and the decision one makes in deciding what they want to do once they graduate from a doctoral program.
I believe the expectations you have for this reward certainly demonstrate that you have chosen the correct degree!
Hope this is helpful!
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1 year ago
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Every doctoral degree comes with certain responsibilities. When people see the title of doctor, inherently trust and respect result. Starting on the journey to a doctoral degree comes with a lot of responsibility to the profession, patients, community and self. The long and winding road will likely have bumps. Nursing has evolved and now provides two different avenues to meet the continually growing need for doctoral prepared nurses. While nurses who have a love for lifelong learning look to their future it is important to understand how an individuals goals align with each doctoral degree. Phd and DNP have different goals related to the future of nursing.
A PhD in nursing has a focus on research and teaching which means there is also a focus on ensuring funding via grants for the institution (Cleary & Hunt, 2011). Research requires a great deal of time and energy which translates to a long time before the information generation translates into practice changes. Nurses who pursue this avenue are often working to leave their mark on the world and this can take many years to accomplish. Due to the extensive time, effort, and costs associated with a PhD, completion is also an obstacle (Cleary & Hunt, 2011). It is not for the faint of heart as the research process requires an immense amount of work. As a result of this long lead time, the new doctorate in nursing was born (Sperhac & Clinton, 2008).
The DNP was born out of a need to impact practice and patient care swiftly. Patients need to have better care today and nurses are expected to deliver this care. Nursing has a focus on evidence and data thus this lends itself to a focus on the practice side of nursing (Sperhac & Clinton, 2008). Integration of data and evidence-based practice provide credibility to the nurse thus leading to better outcomes for patients. The DNP also allows the exploration of more clinical based issues to be identified and explored more quickly as the DNP has access to needs as they are identified in the clinical setting. Innovation is expected of the DNP as they apply the research of the PhD. DNP prepared nurses can also engage in research and apply the outcomes readily. Recent changes in the global climate have accelerated the need to apply information rapidly. The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched many practitioners to the breaking point and has also opened the doors to new areas of research and application (The Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing Profession in the U.S. | AONL, n.d.).
Nursing is more than a profession to most who are successful. As I look at my career progression over the last twelve months, I would never have imagined the changes I would encounter or those our world would encounter. I am fortunate that nursing is my chosen passion as it is agile and able to meet the constant changes to which we have grown accustomed. The year 2020 was labeled the year of the nurse and to me this means the year of transformation. As a result of this transformation, I personally examined my goals in a new way. Given the chance to gain insight my lifelong goal of being the best nurse I can, has driven me to pursue my terminal degree in nursing. As an operating room nurse who turned to an informatics nurse the Doctor of Nursing practice is the degree for me as my journey in nursing is anything but standard. If not now, when. I am here to seize the day.
Cleary, M., & Hunt, G. E. (2011). Demystifying PhDs: A review of doctorate programs designed to fulfil the needs of the next generation of nursing professionals. Contemporary Nurse : A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 39(2), 273–280.
Sperhac, A. M., & Clinton, P. (2008). Doctorate of Nursing Practice: Blueprint for Excellence. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 22(3), 146–151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2007.12.015
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing Profession in the U.S. | AONL. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2021, from https://www.aonl.org/resources/impact-of-covid19-on-nurses
Higher education attainment has been associated with enhanced competency and knowledge within the specific field pursued by an individual. For instance, attainment of a doctoral degree is considered the highest attainment in every field, and therefore doctoral degree holders are expected to demonstrate a high degree of competence (Dos Santos & Lo, 2018). A DNP-prepared nurse is no exception and is expected of higher levels of knowledge and competency in patient care as compared to nurses without the DNP. This week’s discussion explores doctoral degrees and professional nursing practice. To accomplish the discussion, the role of a nurse with a practice doctorate and the associated expectations will be discussed. In addition, this discussion will explore how the consideration relates to my motivation to pursue a DNP and an experience with addressing practice change or gap in practice.
Role of a Nurse with a Practice Doctorate
DNP-prepared nurses have various advanced roles in the continuum of patient care. For instance, through the translation of quality improvement outcomes, and translation of evidence into clinical areas, and unique practice innovations, the DNP-prepared nurses create new knowledge (Trautman et al., 2018). The implication is that these nurses apply evidence-based research to systems and/or clinical settings for better health outcomes. They practice at the highest level of practice and formulate evidence-based strategies to optimize health and patient outcomes. In addition, DNP-prepared nurses also take executive and leadership positions in healthcare organizations to influence health policies, analyze cost-effective protocols, direct patient care, and coordinate quality improvement teams.
Expectations Associated With Obtaining DNP
DNP is the highest degree in nursing and is associated with various expectations. Those who have obtained the degree are expected to show high levels of skills in the care environment to effectively direct care and coordinate care teams. As opposed to PhDs holders who mainly focus on research, DNP is associated with improvement of patient care and population outcomes (Edwards et al., 2018). The implication is that these nurses with this degree have adequate skills for implementing evidence-based strategies to improve health outcomes for individual patients and the general population. Nurse practitioners who do not have a DNP offer specializations focusing on particular patient care aspects like a pediatric or family practitioner. This role differs from a DNP prepared nurse as they are expected to step up to more advanced roles that help shape the direction of healthcare organizations.
How The Considerations Relate to My Motivation to Pursue a DNP
Growing up, I have had a passion for seeing everyone lead a healthy life devoid of health complications. While doing my undergraduate degree, I realized that such goals cannot be achieved by solely focusing on what happens in the care environment but also what happens in the surroundings, such as policies and funding. One of my motivations to pursue a DNP is to get to executive and leadership positions where I can participate in effectively influencing healthcare policies and decisions. As such, the role of the DNP-prepared nurse resonates and relates well with my motivation. Translating research evidence into clinical practice also helps in improving patient outcomes (Trautman et al., 2018), which is among my motivations for pursuing a DNP. Indeed, with a higher degree, I believe I will accomplish such a goal more efficiently.
Among the top organization needs is to be leaders in providing improved patient care and enhance the patient experience. Improving the quality outcome to enhance patient experience requires that the healthcare organization addresses the quality gaps (Trautman et al., 2018). As such, my role as a DNP-prepared nurse will help in various ways to such effect. For instance, in assuming the leadership roles of leading and coordinating care teams, I will be able to effectively lead other nurses into a careful analysis of quality data, organizational standards, and government standards to identify gaps in practice. This will lead to a formulation of the most relevant and effective strategies to address such gaps and meet the goals. Besides, I will also be able to lead the organization into a literature search for evidence that can be translated into practice to address practice gaps or lead a practice change for patient quality improvement.
The experience I have Had With How our Organization addressed a Practice Change
Organizations usually strive to achieve the central aim of offering patient optimized and improved patient care. As such, organizations either undertake steps to implement a practice change or address a gap in practice (Yip et al., 2019). I have had experience with the implementation of practice change within an organization. In one of the healthcare organizations, I have worked. There was a year where the rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections were growing month after month. A decision was then made to explore initiatives to deal with the threatening growing rates of infection. One of the chosen strategies was using a protocol to evaluate patients and use the indwelling catheters only when it is a must and ensuring that the time of usage of the catheters by the patients be reduced to as minimum as possible. As such, nurses accomplished a comprehensive one-week training on the protocols. After the training, the catheter use rates reduced by 20% as nurses were able to avoid unnecessary catheterization. Coupled by minimizing the duration of catheter use, the rates of infection dropped by an impressive 47% by the second month due to the practice change. NURS 8100 Week 1 Discussion The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice
In conclusion, the doctoral degree prepares individuals for greater and more advanced professional roles. DNP-prepared nurses have a special role to play in the care environment, one of which is translating evidence into practice for improved patient outcomes. This week’s discussion has covered the roles of a DNP-prepared nurse, expectations associated with DNP, and an experience with a practice change implementation.
Dos Santos, L. M., & Lo, H. F. (2018). The Development of Doctoral Degree Curriculum in England: Perspectives from Professional Doctoral Degree Graduates. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 13(6), n6. https://doi.org/10.22230/ijepl.2018v13n6a781.
Edwards, N. E., Coddington, J., Erler, C., & Kirkpatrick, J. (2018). The Impact of the Role of Doctor of Nursing PracticeNurses on Healthcare and Leadership. Medical Research Archives, 6(4). https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v6i4.1734
Trautman, D. E., Idzik, S., Hammersla, M., & Rosseter, R. (2018). Advancing scholarship through translational research: The role of PhD and DNP prepared nurses. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(2). DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No02Man02.
Yip, W., Fu, H., Chen, A. T., Zhai, T., Jian, W., Xu, R., … & Chen, W. (2019). 10 years of healthcare reform in China: progress and gaps in universal health coverage. The Lancet, 394(10204), 1192-1204. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32136-1
NURS 8100 Week 1 Discussion The Doctoral Degree and Professional Nursing Practice Grading Rubric Guidelines
Demonstrates achievement of scholarly inquiry for professional and academic decisions.
|Application of Course Knowledge –
Demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, and/or apply principles and concepts learned in the course lesson and outside readings and relate them to real-life professional situations
Replies to each graded thread topic posted by the course instructor, by Wednesday, 11:59 p.m. MT, of each week, and posts a minimum of two times in each graded thread, on separate days.
(5 points possible per graded thread)
Summarizes what was learned from the lesson, readings, and other student posts for the week.
|Minus 1 Point||Minus 2 Point||Minus 3 Point||Minus 4 Point||Minus 5 Point|
|Grammar, Syntax, APA
Note: if there are only a few errors in these criteria, please note this for the student in as an area for improvement. If the student does not make the needed corrections in upcoming weeks, then points should be deducted.
Points deducted for improper grammar, syntax and APA style of writing.
The source of information is the APA Manual 6th Edition
|0 points lost||-5 points lost|
|Total Participation Requirements
per discussion thread
|The student answers the threaded discussion question or topic on one day and posts a second response on another day.||The student does not meet the minimum requirement of two postings on two different days|
|Early Participation Requirement
per discussion thread
|The student must provide a substantive answer to the graded discussion question(s) or topic(s), posted by the course instructor (not a response to a peer), by Wednesday, 11:59 p.m. MT of each week.||The student does not meet the requirement of a substantive response to the stated question or topic by Wednesday at 11:59 pm MT.|