Confusion Related to Nursing Degrees In The United States Report

Executive Summary

The new regulations in the United States necessitate a registered nurse (RN) to develop into an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) through taking a post-graduate course. This research article analysis is founded on the study: “Addressing the confusion related to DNS, DNSc, and DSN degrees, with lessons for the nursing profession” by Ponte and Nicholas (2015). The literature review in the article is comprehensive and refers to previous studies, which makes it dependable and easy to comprehend. The authors anchored their study in the evolution of the nursing courses from the 1960s and the enormous reforms the profession has gone through. The article particularly sheds light on DSN (Doctor of Science in Nursing), DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), and DNSc (Doctor of Nursing Science). The institutions that offer the Ph.D. degree and previously had the DNS and DSN programs are converting the earlier awarded programs retroactively.

Analysis

The new laws in the US that warrant a registered nurse (RN) to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) through a post-graduate program have been on the course. This trend reflects the evolution of nursing courses through the period of years from the mid-20th century. This study will analyze and summarize the evolution of nursing courses and their implications on the current trend of registered nurses’ practice while delving into the importance of advanced learning for an APRN. This research article analysis is based on the article: “Addressing the confusion related to DNS, DNSc, and DSN degrees, with lessons for the nursing profession” by Ponte and Nicholas (2015).

The literature review is comprehensive and refers to a wide pool of previous studies, which makes it reliable and easy to understand. The authors based their research on the evolution of the nursing courses from the 1960s and the huge transformation the profession has gone through. It is obvious from the authors’ research that there are programs undertaken in this profession, which greatly differ from each other. The research further reveals the confusion distributed with the different programs to students, future learners, the faculty, and the funders of an institution. It is imperative to note that the evolution of the nursing course disregards some previously awarded doctorate degrees; such experiences by nurses in the present times offer them the option of choosing either practice-oriented or research-intensive degrees (Ponte & Nicholas, 2015).

The authors talk about the uncertainty that was brought about by the different doctorate programs offered in various institutions from the 1960s. The authors argue that the dissimilar programs are slightly varied due to the contents of the course studied. The programs on the topic are DNS or DNSc (Doctor of Nursing Science), DSN (Doctor of Science in Nursing), and DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). The authors clearly explain the slight differences where the DNSc and DSN degrees are research-intensive programs while DNP is a practice-oriented course. The authors show how the early programs are being integrated into a comprehensive degree program due to the arising mystification caused by the differences in the courses. The authors cement their argument with the endorsement of the DNP by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) as the unsurpassed degree for advanced practice nurses. The research further positions the DNP program as the only practice doctorate that should be offered in learning institutions.

According to Ponte and Nicholas (2015), the curricula and focus of the DNP program vary substantially from other research-intensive doctorate programs in ways consistent with their focus on exploration and practice. In contrast, the authors feel that the Ph.D. in nursing and the DNS and DSN programs are remarkable for the career. The study’s comprehensive research proves that indeed there are similarities among the programs and contrast of the other curriculums to the doctorate course of DNP. The research by Ponte and Nicholas (2015) shows how they found minor differences in the existing programs. In their research, the Ph.D. programs were found to include fewer clinical hours, were more likely to have a research practicum, and required a higher number of research hours. The three differences were identified while reviewing the dissimilarities of the programs that confirmed the shared research focus.

The authors explain the adoption of the DNP program in most institutions and the effects experienced by nurses who have gone through the previous programs that are somehow equivalent to the DNP course. The authors evaluate how nurses in various States have been affected by the adoption of the DNP program as the sole practice-oriented course offered in institutions. In their research, Ponte and Nicholas (2015) exhaustively review how nurses who got their DNSc degrees in the 1980s feel awkward in explaining their credentials as some places and locations do not recognize the program as being equivalent to a Ph.D. The authors further highlight the universities that have gone a notch higher by converting the program to a Ph.D. degree. The universities that offer the Ph.D. degree and used to offer the DNS and DSN programs are converting the previously awarded courses of graduates retroactively. Other institutions stopped offering the previously awarded programs of graduates because they failed to meet the Ph.D. criteria.

Ponte and Nicholas (2015) identify the difficulties that nurses undergo all through the nursing education programs. In their research, they show how the nurses in the profession differ from one another in terms of their credentials and the education they have received. The authors show the significance of the evolution of courses from the 1960s up to now. Nurses who have a DNP get to attain senior positions in their establishments of work and are well equipped to take care of patients (Melnyk, 2013). The authors have identified the hindrances of education that reflect on a practicing nurse.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Ponte and Nicholas (2015) have justified the implications of the DNS, DSN, and the DNP programs sufficiently. The programs that have faced remarkable evolution and changes have seen a fair share of disappointments and encouragement amongst nurses and the future of the profession. With the DNP program, future nurses are in a position of acquiring both research-intensive and practice-oriented quality education. This also applies to registered nurses who are to undertake a post-graduate course to get a Ph.D. degree and become APRNs. An APRN, who has the qualifications and credentials, has greater opportunities to become a nurse manager, a nurse in charge of a unit, and obtain bigger positions in the administration. The healthcare system in the US requires a sufficient number of registered nurses. It is, therefore, essential for the educational course offered in various high institutions to be in line with the American Association of Colleges for Nurses’ adoption of the DNP course. The article reflects on the importance of an education that is well established and constituted so that it reduces the confusion brought about by the former programs. It points out the implementation of the DNP program as a terminal degree that should not be compromised with the creation of new nursing doctoral degrees.

References

Melnyk, B. M. (2013). Distinguishing the preparation and roles of doctor of philosophy and doctor of nursing practice graduates: National implications for academic curricula and health care systems. Journal of Nursing Education52(8), 442-448.

Ponte, P., & Nicholas, P. K. (2015). Addressing the confusion related to DNS, DNSc, and DSN degrees, with lessons for the nursing profession. Journal of Nursing Scholarship47(4), 347-353.

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