Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Georgia

It takes 17 years for scientific research to translate into common practice. That is one of the shocking revelations made by the Institute of Medicine in its 2001 report "Crossing the Quality Chasm". The blame does not lie in professional nursing -- at least no more so than in other healthcare fields. Nurses, though, can play a big role in improving the system. This is the premise behind evidence-based practice, and behind the Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP.

IOM reports were part of the driving force behind an American Association of Colleges of Nursing task report that studied doctoral nursing education programs. The task force made a recommendation in 2004 that all advanced practice nursing courses transition to the doctoral level. This would allow APNs to take additional coursework in research methodologies and in the scientific underpinnings of nursing. APNs would become more adept in using evidence not only at the level of individual care but at the level of population health.

Moreover, the new advanced practice nurse would have the skills -- and the degree -- to sit as an equal with other healthcare practitioners and reshape the healthcare system. The IOM cites the need for a new paradigm. The healthcare system should shift its focus from crisis management to management of chronic conditions. This requires far more collaboration than has traditionally been seen in medicine. Even though master’s level programs in advanced practice nursing have traditionally been longer than those in other fields, it is hard to take a leadership role without that final credential.

What is Learned? How is it Applied?

Georgia, it would seem, deserves better care. What coursework best prepares a candidate to deliver it? In 2006, the AACN published the Essential Standards of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing. They noted that professional organizations set specialty-specific standards, but that there is a set of core competencies which is the same across all disciplines. One of the new essentials is health technology and informatics. Other standards include population health, professional collaborative relationships, and scholarship. A big component of scholarship is translational research. This means using scientific knowledge to meet the needs of particular populations. An advanced practice nurse should be adept at evaluating and synthesizing medical research; ideally, she should be able to use it to provide either direct or indirect patient care.

What do these skills look like in action? One might imagine a nurse leader who is charged with implementing a program to solve a particular problem -- for example, meeting the mental health needs of underserved rural adolescents. This hypothetical nurse leader may need to select the most effective care delivery model for this particular population -- and he or she may have to do so under tight budget constraints. She or he will need to have a solid understanding of the needs of his or her target group, and will have to place them within cultural, societal, and socioeconomic factors. They will need to identify pertinent research and potentially effective approaches and put in place a system to measure the results. And if the reforms meet or exceed expectations? A last step might be disseminating the information to others around the nation.

Doctoral level nursing programs can be exciting because candidates use research to solve this type of real world problem. The final project typically involves translational research (bringing existing knowledge down to the population level). This project is generally carried out in a real world context. A DNP candidate needs 1,000 hours of post-BS clinical work, but there are a variety of possibilities, tailored to her own interests and abilities.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Georgia

star Find additional schools offering Online DNP Programs in Georgia.

Georgia Southern University

P.O. Box 8073
Statesboro, GA 30460
PH: 912-478-5322

Website: georgiasouthern.edu/majors/14020.htm

Medical College of Georgia

Website: mcg.edu/son/DNP.htm

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