Second Opinion

In this forum for discussing the “hot button” issues facing the nursing profession today, we welcome your thoughts and opinions. Check this space in each issue to see how readers answer the provocative questions we pose.

Our question this issue:
Nursing is one of the last health professions to recommend a clinical doctorate. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing recently voted to require—beginning in 2015—that all programs preparing advanced practice and specialty nurses (APNs) grant the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. What is your opinion?

A. It’s about time
B. Not necessary–don’t do it
C. No opinion
D. Other

The results:
(A) It’s about time (53.3%)
(B) Not necessary — don’t do it (36.3%)
(C) No opinion (8.4%)
(D) Other (2.1%)

Total Votes: 681

Our readers said:

Actually, I think the DNP is a great opportunity, and it should certainly be pursued and instituted. However, I do not think that it should differ significantly from current PhD in Nursing curriculums as they might end up devaluing one or the other.

Maya Shaha
SON Post-Doctoral Fellow


Go with the PhD! Why put yet another branch on the nursing tree to resist cohesiveness? There aren’t enough educational resources and faculty now for nursing. Why open up another program when there already exists a program to meet the need of a doctorate in nursing?

Nursing organizations are not supporting this—just the education arena. Let’s let nurses control what is going on in nursing for a change. No, DNP! Yes, PhD!

Kathleen E. Hubner, MSN, RN, CNRN
Neuroscience Clinical Nurse Specialist

I don’t believe that APNs should be required to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice. It already takes four years for a BSN, two years for a master’s, and another three to four years for a doctorate. That is almost 10 years of schooling. People would rather be a pharmacist, dentist, and go to medical school to save time and have greater financial worth. This will limit males from entering the nursing profession and discourage them from obtaining advanced degrees, as they would just go to medical school instead.

Haik Topadzhikyan
SON Accelerated Class of 2005


Nursing is one of the last health professions to recommend a clinical doctorate. I say it’s about time! Advanced practice and specialty nurses are on a par with other health service professions in terms of their training and professional development. The DNP degree is appropriate and way past due.

Ronnie Elwell ’63, RN, PhD
Director, Human Service Professions
Lesley University


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