Thanks for this discussion. I can relate to your discussion in so many ways about bedside nursing, the comfort, and the associated convenience of being used to the role. I commend your effort. I would like to contribute to the discussion and input. Looking at the professors comment that Nurses with master’s degree perform some of the DNP roles already. The major difference of DNP prepared nurse is the Nursing Research, making a determined social change in the community as a Nurse Leader in the highest level of the discipline with multifaceted roles.

According to the AACN, 2022, the roles of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs prepare nurse is to be a Nurse Leader who functions at the highest level of nursing practice with one of the primary assignments of improving patient outcomes and translating research into practice.

As a DNP prepared nurse, it is necessary that the DNP know the DNP curriculum and understand that it is a buildup on the traditional master’s programs with a goal to provide contents in evidence-based practice into the nursing practice, advocate and implement quality improvement, and in systems leadership, be a leader with a difference among other key areas.

In addition, as DNP prepared Nurse, our role is to seek for a terminal degree in nursing practice that offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs and fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers prepared in PhD, DNS, and other research-focused nursing doctorates to benefit the nursing practice and the healthcare services.

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The PhD, DNS individual are called the Nurse Researchers and they conducts the research, while the PhD, DNP practice roles includes the translation and the evolvement of the research, working in collaboration with the nurse practitioners and other health care team members to implement a change (Falkenberg-Olson, A. C., 2019).

As part of the curriculum of the AACN, 2006 and the Walden University vision and mission it is important that the DNP prepared Nurse focus on enhancing competency development through training, faculty, and leadership positions (Walden, 2020). The expectations associated with the DNP degree requirements, the practicum/field experience and completion of the Doctoral Project is to improve knowledge, expand the nursing practice and improve patient outcomes, improve leadership abilities to boost the nursing practice and healthcare delivery, provide a better management of the program requirements, the credit hours and the required practicum hours before any accreditation and credentialing.

Moreover, accredited schools have recruited people from non-nursing and nursing backgrounds into the nursing program to increase the number of professors that are readily available to competently teach the practice courses (AACN, 2006).

Anna, thanks for your insight into the topic and sharing your personal experiences.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice DNPEssentials.pdf

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2020). Face Sheet: The Doctor of nursing Practice (DNP). to an external site.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2020). AACN Face Sheet – DNP. to an external site..

Falkenberg-Olson, A. C. (2019). Research translation and the evolving PhD and DNP practice roles: A collaborative call for nurse practitioners.Links to an external site.Links to an external site. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 31(8), 447–453. to an external site.

Walden University. (2020). A Vision for Social Change Report. https://www.waldenu.edy/why-walden/social-change

Role of the nurse with a practice doctorate

Due to the rigorous curricula set for doctorate prepared advanced nurse practitioners, as well as the clinical skills acquired, the DNP is in a prime role for leadership and making changes through research, making this a pretty versatile role. (Falkenburg.-Olson. 2019) Reading the assigned readings this week, it appears one commonality is that the role of the doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) is not clearly defined. (Beeber. 2019). 

DNP’s have been noted to carry the traditional role of an APN in clinical practice whereas some have been found in administration roles. In one instance a DNP was noted to have used this position and used the position to promote equitable healthcare and in another instance a DNP led an interdisciplinary team with the use of evidenced based practice. (Tussing. 2018) Otherpositions that have been filled by DNPs are healthcare policy, executives, informatics, and community focused roles.

When developing the DNP programs, part of the rational was to learn how to recognize gaps and develop practice knowledge and skills to improve healthcare delivery (Falkenburg-Olson. 2019). This type of training would also serve purpose in becoming an educator as it would allow for ability to share and train new DNPs to not only recognize gaps but also ways in solving problems.

In one example from Tussing, a DNP who was in an educator role, “led a multidisciplinary team in the development of educational resources and a staff training plan for the care for patients experiencing infection and emerging pathogens  such as Ebola Virus disease” (Tussing. 2018)

Other examples of DNP’s is as a clinical coordinator  to build better care plans, assist with maintaining goals and provide support for patients and families on medical-surgical units due to a need for increased quality and increased length of hospital stays. Another DNP was noted to have worked on quality improvement projects using evidenced based practices.  (Tussing. 2018)


Expectations associated with obtaining doctorate, similarities and differences to other degrees

The DNP is a practice focused degree and takes into consideration the clinical experience and skills an NP has developed that will help align DNPs to take leadership roles. In embarking on the journey to obtain the DNP degree, anticipate the completion to be a doctoral project that is inclusive of scientific content and research methodology (AANC. 2006).

While taking courses and furthering education to support the final project, one must put emphasis on learning scholarly approaches to navigate through making advances in nursing practice and addressing gaps in practice using evidenced bases, implementation and evaluation. (Falkenbur-Olson. 2019)

Hartjes  recommends that if the DNP is going to be used in the role of becoming an educator that educational coursework should be considered during this process. (2019). “to critically appraise current evidence, translate research into practice, and implement quality, process, organizational, and operational improvement methods to positively impact patient outcomes and the delivery of health care” (Hartjes. 2019)

Another terminal degree that can be obtained is a PhD however this is a more research focused education path. The PhD curricula will place more emphasis on theory, research and statistics. The goals that have been set in each program are slightly different however are complimentary to each other.

The completion of the PhD program is displayed by a dissertation with an extensive research study. (AANC. 2006)  The PhD focuses much on “producing data that can be translated into practice to advance all levels of health care” (Falkenburg-Olson. 2019) When you combine a PhD with an NP you are widening the scope of practice by  having strong research abilities and skilled clinical practice which is quite effective in trouble shooting areas of concern.

“Requirements for admission, the length of the programs and the graduation requirements, as well as the overall cost also differ” ( Hartjes. 2019) PhD programs are typically research based, are more commonly online and have smaller classes. Many PhD programs allow admission once a semester and require a mentor to be in place.

The amount of work necessary during the program often makes it impossible for students to partake in work outside of their education process and the program could be quite lengthy. Whereas, DNP programs are doing hybrid classes, allowing for higher quantity. Admission to these programs are frequently throughout the year and allow more flexibility in the students life.  (Hartjes. 2019)

My motivation and how will I contribute to potential organization

We are often being asked, how we are going to make a change, what are we going to do. This is a struggle for me to come up with an answer. Over the last few years, I have learned that if you take a step back and just pay attention, take note of what is happening, you will see where you are needed and what you are needed to do.

I have also learned that I am very much a problem solver. I am not a “put a bandaid on it” kind of person. I like to look for the root cause and try to find a solution from the bottom up. I do believe obtaining my DNP is the path that was created for me and am excited to see where it leads.

I have, however, come across some areas that I recognize need improvement. Medication errors that occur during transfer of facilities happen quite often. I have had a patient go to the hospital on two medications and those medications just disappear from their profile, no rationale, and new medications started. As I am experiencing these situations, I take everything in. 

It does appear that it is due to a poor medication reconciliation, poor communication or lack of preparedness upon discharge and admission. It is difficult for me to explain how I problem solve, but I take things in, constantly. I trouble shoot in my head until I can figure out a possible way for it to be better. I am always taking in the systems I work within and how they function so I will hopefully one day be able to connect the pieces and produce an effective solution.

Formally, I could do a questionnaire, possibly asking individuals of their transfer process, not what policy is but what they actually do. The questionnaire alone may actually help solve some of the problem as it could represent a self-evaluation as well. Often self-evaluations help individuals recognize their weaknesses and strengths. Chart review could also be used as part of the assessment of the gap in care. Once completed and a plan is established, it would be implemented.  Afterwards, chart audits would be able a simple way of evaluation. (Fiset. 2019)

I do believe part of these errors occur because many people just do not take that little extra step. This is also why I want to become an educator. I see how many errors that I have caught, with my patients alone. I work in mental health, many of my patients are unable to advocate for themselves. My hope in becoming an educator is to add a touch of humanization to practitioners. To teach them to take that one extra step because someone’s life really could depend on it.

What experiences have you had in addressing a gap in practice or a practice change?

In my role now, I provide psychiatric care to people in the community-skilled nursing facilities, assisted livings and in their homes. In doing so, I have seen many patients admitted to the hospital due to a lack of knowledge or education on the caregivers part. There are many things that come into play with this.

I am working with our hospital systems education department to start a program that we can offer to outside facilities and families, anyone who provides care to dementia patients, giving them a virtual experience on what it is like to have dementia as well as supportive basic education.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice.

Beeber, A. S., Palmer, C., Waldrop, J., Lynn, M. R., & Jones, C. B. (2019). The role of Doctor of Nursing Practice-prepared nurses in practice settings. Nursing Outlook, 67(4), 354–364.

Falkenberg-Olson, A. C. (2019). Research translation and the evolving PhD and DNP practice roles: A collaborative call for nurse practitioners. Journal of the American

Association of Nurse Practitioners, 31(8), 447–453.

Fiset, V. J., Davies, B. L, Graham, I. D., Gifford, W., & Woodend, K. (2019). Developing guideline-based quality indicators: Assessing gaps in pain management practice. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 17(2), 92–

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?

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?

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.

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.

Photo Credit: Creativa Images / Adobe Stock

  • 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 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.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the highest level of nursing education and focuses on clinical practice, application, and integration. The role of the DNP nurse focuses on innovative and evidence-based nursing practice and the application of reliable research findings into nursing practice. DNP nurses add their unique perspective to the Interprofessional team to improve health care (Edwards et al., 2018).

Nurses with a practice doctorate have a primary role in research since they are conversant in research methods including research design, data collection, data analysis, and interpreting data. They also examine existing clinical literature to identify the interventions supported by quality research.  Furthermore, the DNP nurse has the role of implementing EBP skills to translate current best practices to improve healthcare delivery and health outcomes, thus transforming systems of care.

DNP nurses are expected to apply research skills to ensure that the best evidence reaches the bedside effectively and efficaciously. This is different from a BSN or MSN-prepared nurse who is expected to apply research findings to provide quality patient care.

Besides, DNPs are expected to translate research into nursing practice and carry out evaluation processes to establish if there was a significant impact after the development, implementation, and evaluation of new models of care (Falkenberg-Olson, 2019). This is different from BSNs who are mostly involved in implementing nursing models of care.

My motivation to pursue the DNP program is to delve into research and apply research skills to generate knowledge. The DNP program will help me focus on informing science, improving clinical practice, influencing policy, and impacting best clinical practices. My role as a DNP will help me to work collaboratively with health system and hospital leaders in my current organization to implement new nursing science and practice innovations (Trautman et al., 2018).

I have faced challenges in ensuring that contemporary nursing practice remains relevant and flexible enough to meet the ever-changing patient needs in the organization. Therefore, I will act as an ally in accelerating the speed at which new nursing interventions are translated from research findings to the bedside in the organization.

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. I enjoyed your discussion post this week about the role and expectation of a DNP-educated nurse. I also am planning on using my DNP in the academic setting, as well as maintaining a presence in the clinical setting. It’s nice to know someone else shares my passion and vision on this! I also chose the DNP for it’s focus on practice.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2006), “individuals who acquire the DNP will seek to fill roles as educators.” This supports our goals of educating future generations of nurses. In addition to this, the AACN (2006) also states the DNP-educated nurse will use “their considerable practice expertise” to accomplish this. Throughout this program, we will learn the necessary skills and expertise to deliver quality education to our students.

Beeber et al. (2019) also offers perspective on the role of a DNP, as you reference in your post. According to Beeber et al. (2019), “the DNP prepared nurse holds a broad foundation of knowledge from nursing, ethics, psychosocial and biophysical sciences, as well as from organizational and change theories.” Once we complete the program, we will be able to take that foundation and apply it to our teachings and curriculum in training future nurses. Since the role of the DNP is practice focused, we can also create change in the clinical settings we wish to participate in.

Great post this week, and I’m looking forward to working with you this semester!


American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice.

Beeber, A. S., Palmer, C., Waldrop, J., Lynn, M. R., & Jones, C. B. (2019). The role of Doctor of Nursing Practice-prepared nurses in practice settings. Nursing Outlook, 67(4), 354-364.


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