Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs in New Hampshire

The DNP, or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, is designed to help nurses use evidence-based practices when providing either direct or indirect patient care. According to the Institute of Medicine, many patients die not from lack of a cure, but from lack of communication. The IOM claims that it takes seventeen years for scientific knowledge to reach the level of clinical practice. The gap between theory and practice results in substandard care.

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The IOM further notes that educational programs for health practitioners do not include adequate training in understanding health information technologies or working as part of interdisciplinary teams. The former is important for avoiding medical errors, the latter for effective management of long-term conditions. The American healthcare system has yet to make the paradigm shift from acute care to prevention and management. The IOM believes that highly educated nurses can have a hand in changing this dismal state of affairs.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is yet another institution that believes that advanced practice nurses can be effective leaders and collaborators. In order to make a greater impact, though, they need a higher degree. The AACN has noted that master’s programs have experienced a good deal of credit creep over the years, and the end result was that nurses weren’t receiving a degree that reflected the amount of time and work they actually put in.

After conducting a task force and soliciting opinions from member schools, the AACN set an ambitious goal: All APN courses were to be transitioned to the doctoral level by 2015. Over the course of the following two years, the AACN worked to develop both a roadmap and a set of core competencies. The Roadmap Task Force held five regional conferences as well as a stakeholders conference with representatives from 44 professional organizations. They conducted an internet survey and multiple conferences calls. Their hard work has paid off. In the spring of 2005, there had only been eight DNP programs in the nation. By early 2010, there were 120. The vision was shared by individual nurses as well as institutions — many qualified students were still being turned away.

DNP Program Options in New Hampshire

New Hampshire does not yet have a program, but this does not mean students have to wait. DNP completion courses are often completed at a distance, though some programs ask students to come to campus for occasional immersion weekends. Whether students complete coursework online or at a traditional institution, they can expect to put in a significant amount of time in healthcare institutions out in the community. Over the course of the clinical practicum, students collect data for a final scholarly project.

The culminating project is one of the most exciting parts of the DNP program. It gives a candidate the chance to apply her knowledge by posing and solving a healthcare-related problem. Some universities publish summaries of the scholarly projects undertaken by their students. What have past students accomplished? A 2010 Vanderbilt student explored the relation between hypertriglyceridemia and the development of Type 2 diabetes. She observed that the combination of blood glucose and triglyceride levels was a much better predictor than glucose alone.

It is easy to see how this type of study could help a nurse practitioner make recommendations for individual patients and also design education and outreach programs! This project, like many carried out in DNP programs, used existing patient data. This gets at the difference between a practice doctorate and a PhD; in a practice doctorate, the focus is not on creating new knowledge, but on applying it to help particular populations. Effective scholarly projects also illustrate one of the core beliefs on which the DNP movement was based. Medicine suffers not from a dearth of information, but from pervasive failures to make use of what is out there.

DNP Programs Offered in NH

No schools in New Hampshire are currently offering DNP Programs.

Find schools offering Online DNP Programs in New Hampshire.

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