Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in Louisiana

In the 2003 report "Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality" the IOM declares that healthcare education across disciplines is inadequate; it has not kept pace with new technologies and information nor with changing demographics. Management of chronic conditions requires the cooperation of interdisciplinary teams, yet health care professionals are not taught effective practices for collaboration. The amount of scientific evidence that health care teams have access to is growing, but they are not necessarily taught how to access it. Information technology could prevent deadly errors, yet this is another area where there are gaps in training.

While the IOM was writing up its call for health education reform, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing was also conducting a task force. At the time, there were only a few nations in the country offering practice doctorate programs for nurses. The AACN met with representatives of these schools to find out how the doctorate differed from master’s level programs, what the goals were, and how those goals were being met. In 2004, the AACN made an announcement: Doctoral education was to be the new entry level standard for advanced practice. The AACN continued, over the next two years, to invite input from many sources. They set a target date, 2015, and put together a set of standards. One of the big goals was to bridge the gap between theory and clinical practice. The nurse practitioner of the future is to be adept at appraising scientific research and using it to make informed practice decisions. This includes evaluating and selecting care delivery models and designing health education programs as well as treating individual patients.

For many nurses with doctoral training, collecting and utilizing evidence becomes a way of life. One New Orleans nurse practitioner reported on HealthcarePOV that she had conducted a brief patient survey after receiving her DNP. She used the title doctor to refer to herself and asked patients what they considered her now that she had completed her advanced training. There were three options: Patients might now conclude that she was an MD, they might say she was a nurse, or they might say it did not matter because she was their provider and always there for them. More than 70% chose the last response. The remaining respondents said that she was a nurse. None were confused into believing that she was a medical doctor. The DNP concluded that the concern over titling was overblown; patients wanted a good healthcare provider.

DNP Program Specialization and Entry Options in Louisiana

There is currently one in-state DNP program at Loyola University. The program includes separate tracks for nursing executives and nurse practitioners. Specialties include family/ adult care gerontology, pediatrics, and women’s health. (Nurses in other specialty areas may want to look into online programs.) Currently only post-master’s students are admitted at Loyola; this may of course change as 2015 looms nearer. Students in nurse practitioner programs are expected to have completed basic courses in their specialty area.

Programs across the nation vary in focus and design, but all are based on the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing, released by the AACN in 2006. Core components include scholarship, population health, healthcare policy and advocacy, informatics, and advanced practice nursing There are additional competencies that are specific to the specialty.

The program at Loyola includes 540 practicum hours. These are to be completed at a healthcare facility in the student’s own community. Students use practicum experiences to complete a translational research project. They should expect to submit a scholarly paper and defend their project orally. A portfolio may also be required.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Louisiana

Loyola School of Nursing

6363 St. Charles Ave.
Campus Box 45
New Orleans, LA 70118
PH: 504-865-3142

Website: css.loyno.edu/nursing/doctor-nursing-practice

Please let us know about new programs as they become available.

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DNP Programs