SFDRN, I have to agree with you. After a year of full time course work, I'm finally into my specialty courses, (ACNP w/ critical care focus). I thought I would finally get into the meat and potatoes of my major. Surprise, I have 3 presentations and a paper that will account for half of my grade for a diagnostics course. Like you, these papers/presentations are meant to prepare for my comprehensive exam, which is, aha, just another paper!! I am lucky to get a full lecture (3 hours) devoted to each body system, while some are lumped together in one lecture but I've had entire lectures dedicated to quantitative research or how to develop a PICO question and an entire course dedicated to various nursing theories. Something is wrong here!!! I understand that this is how it has been done, but it is time for a change.
We were told during orientation that they want us to publish. I understand that improves the reputation of their program but I want to take care of patients, critically ill patients, for that matter. I feel like I need another pharmacology course (and my course was taught by an awesome instructor who is both a PharmD and an ACNP) and I could use courses dedicated to the pulmonary and neuro systems. I had to take a cardiovascular course as an elective to expand my knowledge of the cardiovascular system. You would think the DNP would address these deficiencies, but sadly, it does not. I doubt my future patients are going to care that I had to master writing papers to complete my program or that I've been published in a peer-reviewed journal. I think they would like to know that I have a firm understanding of their disease process.
I don't know how a direct entry student could master the clinical content in my program. We are frequently told "I'm not going to elaborate on this, you guys should understand this from you current practice." Which is probably why my program insists upon practice as an RN prior to clinicals. We have several students, however, who have less than 3 yrs of practice and they struggle at times. I stalk Medscape daily to try to supplement my learning. I ask the docs to explain what I don't understand when I'm at work. I'm also looking into supplementing my clinical time next year and applying to a fellowship after graduation. I'm not trying to bash my program, (its a top 50 program), I just feel that the format for NP education needs revamping and tacking on additional research, transitional research, EBP, policy, and finance courses and calling it a practice doctorate is not going to cut.