Perspectives on DNP Education
Health care is advancing. Are you?
Read why students enrolled in CSU DNP programs are eager to become part of a distinguished group of doctorally prepared nurses. As graduates of the CSU DNP programs, they have been given the charge to become architects and leaders of healthcare change and will shape the future of nursing practice in California.
The Joint CSU Fresno and San José DNP program
Read the story of Sharon Castellanos, a perinatal nurse practitioner, in the CSU Voices and Views blog. Sharon was one of over 40 post-master's nursing students enrolled in the first class of the Joint CSU Fresno and San José DNP program. Sharon relates how the DNP program added to her skill set and enhance her work in the Brandon's Crossroads Foundation, which her family established in memory of her son. During her course of DNP studies, Sharon focused on family decision making in organ and tissue donation as her primary area of nursing research interest and the topic of her doctoral project. Since her graduation in May 2014, she received grant funding from Kaiser Northern California to continue her study, titled "Intent to donate organ/tissue: A comparison of two high school curricula.”
The Joint CSU Fullerton, Long Beach, and Los Angeles DNP program
May 10, 2015 marked a special day in the lives of the second cohort of DNP students enrolled in the CSU Fullerton, Long Beach, and Los Angeles Joint DNP program. It was graduation day and a time to celebrate! The adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" applies to this photograph featuring a group of talented and eager nursing professionals representing a wide variety of nursing roles: nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner (acute care, adult/geriatric, family, psych/mental health, and women's healthcare), nurse midwife, and the nurse leader. Listen to four of the graduates from this second cohort explain their doctoral project and its significance for nursing practice.
How a DNP Degree Enhanced My Nursing Career: Dr. Sandy Baker, Dean, School of Nursing, Riverside City College, Riverside, CA
I was an Associate Degree Nurse who obtained my Master’s degree in 1989 and began my new career as a Nurse Educator after being at the bedside for 15 years. I love teaching and particularly enjoy the Community college student, who is oftentimes older, entering a second career, and of a diverse background. I knew I would never become a full-time nurse researcher and so did not see the necessity of adding a PhD to my resume. However, when the DNP degree began to foster attention in the early 2000’s, I was intrigued. As a former Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, the practice-orientation of the DNP was very appealing to me, especially after it was recognized by the AACN in 2004 as denoting the highest level of preparation for clinical nursing. Further, as a new Dean of Nursing, I was also interested in increasing my leadership abilities to influence nursing practice through excellence in nursing education.
The curriculum of the DNP program I chose to attend enhanced my knowledge in nursing theory, leadership, health policy development and implementation, research, curriculum development, instructional methodologies, assessment, and evaluation. It honed my ability to develop and implement research projects that are relevant to my academic and practice roles. Since obtaining my degree, I have increased my nursing scholarship by having published articles in professional nursing journals and given presentations at national and state nursing conferences, neither of which I would have had the confidence or even ability to do at the same level prior to my DNP. I have helped to lead our nursing program in a complete curriculum transformation, again, directly related to the knowledge and increased global perspective I gained in my DNP education. My experience has led me to encourage my faculty to pursue their own individual goals and to set the educational bar even higher for themselves, which to my delight, many have done!
I agree with Ann Cary, who poses the question in DNP Education, Practice, and Policy (Ahmed, Andrist, Davis, & Fuller, 2013), "Could the DNP be the 'future' in the Future of Nursing (2011) Report? " I would enthusiastically respond with “Absolutely, and it’s about time!” Radical transformation means entirely new thoughts, new ideas, and new paradigms, for improved and more relevant health care responses that meets the current demands of our society. I am very excited to be not just a witness, but a part of, this transformation.
Kaiser’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Value the DNP Degree
Kaiser Permanente fully supports the California State University, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Consortium programs. As a major employer of Advanced Practice Nurses (APN’s), we feel that the educational benefits conferred by doctoral level preparation will provide a positive lasting benefit to our members. These benefits, which are evident in the doctoral course of study, include:
- Enhanced knowledge to improve practice.
- Enhanced leadership skills to strengthen practice and healthcare delivery.
- Enhanced status of the profession.
- Improved patient care outcomes.
In addition, the DNP movement will be able to address and bring relevance to the current professional issues such as:
- The increasing complexity of healthcare systems requires additional leadership and management content for advanced practice nurses.
- With rapid expansion of healthcare knowledge, APN’s need skills necessary to access and synthesize information utilizing critical thinking skills to improve patient outcomes.
- The current shortage of nursing faculty impedes progress to expand nursing educational programs to address practice shortage in various aspects of nursing.
Kaiser Permanente is excited about the avenues that the doctoral education will provide to nurse anesthetists and other APNs. The recent report by the Institute of Medicine highlighted the need for lifelong learning in nursing practice. The DNP will afford CRNA’s the educational skills needed to improve practice and patient care.
John Nagelhout, Ph.D., CRNA FAAN
Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia