The practice doctorate: where do Canadian nursing leaders stand?

Gloria Joachim
Nursing Leadership 2008, 21 (4): 42-51
This article calls upon Canadian nursing leaders to examine the merits and downsides of the new practice doctorate degree - the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The impetus for the DNP arose from within the American nursing profession in order to address the knowledge and skills needed by advanced practice nurses to work in today's complex healthcare environment. The DNP is the newest practice doctorate degree and in 2015 will be the entry to practice degree required of all new advanced practice nurses in the United States. Advanced practice nurses who will have the practice doctorate include clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anaesthetists. With the establishment and acceptance of the DNP in the United States, American advanced practice nurses will have a different knowledge base than Canadian advanced practice nurses. The evolution and state of advanced practice nursing in Canada are discussed in this article. Canadian nursing leaders must discuss the DNP, its merits and downsides within the Canadian context and begin to make informed decisions about whether or not the DNP should come to Canada.

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