Doctor of Nursing Practice by 2015: An Examination of Nursing Schools’ Decisions to Offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree


Grant Martsolf, David Auerbach, Joanne Spetz, Marjorie Pearson, Ashley Muchow

Mar. 01, 2015

OBJECTIVES: The American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommends that nursing schools transition their advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) programs to doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs by 2015. However, most schools have not yet made this full transition. The purpose of this study was to understand schools' decisions regarding the full transition to the DNP.

METHODS: Key informant interviews and an online survey of nursing school deans and program directors were performed.

DISCUSSION: The vast majority of schools value the DNP in preparing APRNs for the future of the health care system. However, other important factors influence many schools to fully transition or not to the postbaccalaureate DNP, including perceived student and employer demand, issues concerning accreditation and certification, and resource constraints.

CONCLUSION: Multiple pathways to becoming an APRN are likely to remain until various factors (e.g., student and employer demand, certification and accreditation issues, and resource constraints) yield a more favorable environment for a full transition to the DNP.

This publication will be receiving the 2016 Nursing Outlook Excellence in Education Award.  Grant Martsolf, the lead author, will personally accept the award later this October 2016.

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