The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is calling for the requirement of doctorate
in nursing for advanced practice nurses, such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse anesthetists. This new degree will be called a Doctor of Nursing Practice and, if the AACN has its way, will become the
entry level for advanced nursing practice.
AACN Adopts a New Vision for the Future of Nursing Education and Practice
Position on the Practice Doctorate Approved by AACN Member Schools
WASHINGTON, DC, October 27, 2004: In a historic move to help shape the future of nursing education and practice, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has adopted a new position which recognizes the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree as the highest level of preparation for clinical practice. At its Fall Semiannual Meeting held October 25, 2004, AACN member institutions voted to move the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice roles from the master's degree to the doctorate level by the year 2015.
"This courageous move on the part of nursing education represents a milestone in the evolution of the nursing profession," said AACN President Jean E. Bartels. "This bold first step puts in motion a future that recognizes and validates the unique expertise of nurses engaged in clinical practice at the highest level."
Currently, advanced practice nurses (APNs), including Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Mid-Wives, and Nurse Anesthetists, are prepared in master's degree programs that often carry a credit load equivalent to doctoral degrees in the other health professions. AACN's newly adopted Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing calls for educating APNs and other nurses seeking top clinical roles in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. The changing demands of this nation's complex health care environment require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure high quality patient outcomes.
The Practice Doctorate is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice, and offers an alternative to research focused doctoral programs (i.e. PhD programs). Though only a handful of practice doctorates currently exist, more than a dozen new programs are taking shape nationwide, and several have expressed interest in seeking accreditation. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the nation's premier accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs, has agreed to initiate a process for the accreditation of practice doctorates.
Many, if not most, CRNA schools currently require enough hours of their students to allow them to give a doctorate. At least a "clinical" doctorate, if not a PhD. The latter would require so much time for the dissertation that it would either increase the program length, or reduce clinical hours. Considering that NP and CNS schools have a lot less hours than CRNA programs, we should be getting doctorates now.
Oh, and the AACN is not necessarily the CRNA's friend. They'd like to require more "core" classes for all MN degrees, and few schools of nursing are going to reduce "their" core, so the CRNA programs have to cut back on clinical hours and add more, shall we say "less practical" courses.
Last edit by NGACRNA on Jan 5, '05
: Reason: addition