I am writing in response to the Ethics Column discussing whether the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is ethical.
To compete with physicians in today’s health care culture and develop the social authority needed to implement ethical changes, advanced preparation beyond the master’s level in the form of the DNP is essential.
Having just completed a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program, my colleagues and I feel that additional professional training is imperative. Although my program was rigorous and presented by competent and experienced nursing professionals, I have, in some circles, avoided discussions regarding this preparation, feeling that in many ways it only minimally prepared us for practice. As I compare my program with the medical psychiatric specialty I see that future nurse practitioners would benefit from additional in-depth training in psychopathophysiology, psychopharmacology, and the potential crown jewel - a residency program - to develop further our practice competencies. To this end the DNP would not only benefit by providing consumers with better clinicians and cost-effective treatment options, but also enhance legitimacy of the nursing profession in public and professional venues.
As APRN’s continue to "push the envelope" toward more autonomous practice, nursing needs to continue developing timely and comprehensive educational programs. The DNP has the potential to do this and in so doing to move nursing as a profession forward.
Rob Detlefsen,RN, MS