I don't agree completely with the DNP requirement. It is mainly political reasons that it is being pushed. It puts us on a more equal footing since many other providers are going to a doctorate. The public automatically assumes a person with a doctorate is very knowledgeable. The public will often automatically give credence to the opinions of a doctorate prepared person. In administrative settings it is the same thing. Nurses have to fight against the constant stigma of "what do they know they are just nurses." Pharmacist went directly from bachelor to doctorate with just one or two years added on. What every other profession would make a masters degree. It is even possible to get a PharmD with having never had a previous degree and only six years of education; granted most actually have a bachelors with a total of 8 or more years. Most master's programs in nursing are much longer than other disciplines. My masters education is just 18 semester hours from what most programs give a PhD. On administrative boards in hospitals, if nurses are the only ones at the table with less than a doctorate then they aren't given as much credit for there opinion. My personal opinion is that most np and crna programs could be made doctorates with very few extra classes added, if pharmicists can do it in 6 to 8 years then we should be able too. They went from bachelors straight to doctorate with about just one more year added. I was pre-pharmacy before going to anesthesia, it was my back up plan. Thats why I know the requirements in their program.
I am starting a DNP program now, and I can see how it can help with policy and administration. Clinically it might be able to help, but the current set up is more focused on policy or administration. I have heard from the people who recruit for the graduate school that part of this is because they are focusing on people who already have clinical training and years of experience to start with. There programs are for the post masters, not the new practitioners. They are focusing on the people who are going to train the upcoming DNP students, and that it is difficult to start up a DNP program with a lack of DNP prepared nurses. Also, they are going to teach us to interpret research to apply it to practice, I can't speak for everyone else but I know that my master's preparation did not prepare me to critically review research. I had a great teacher in my research class, but it was on a 3 semster hour class and couldn't possibly teach me to interpret most nursing research.
Hopefully this won't backlash the nursing profession by decreasing the number of future students. Most NP's I know are part time female students with family obligations, I hope future students aren't discouraged from joining because of the longer time in school. My worry is that the programs will be so long that it can't be done part time within seven years (the time most schools mandate as the amount of time the program has to be finished). And if it does take 5 to 7 years, will people even try to do it?