The Doctor of Nursing Practice
What is a DNP?
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a doctoral degree for nurses at the highest level of nursing practice. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has proposed that the DNP degree will be the level of entry for all advanced practice nurses by 2015.
Why a DNP?
The changing demands of today's complex health care environment, outlined in recent reports from the Institute of Medicine, require that nurses serving in specialty positions have the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible. Nurses are constantly working with individuals who have a high level of preparation in their respective fields—physicians, pharmacists, and other health providers. The effectiveness of nurses is directly related to the amount and type of education they receive, and recent research has established a clear link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes.
DNP graduates will be able to sit for the FNP exam or be involved in non-practice leadership roles. DNPs will increase the number of primary care providers available to residents of Hawai‘i, in addition, it will also create a pool of qualified nursing faculty candidates to address the severe nursing faculty shortage. DNP graduates will also be given the opportunity to focus on organizational systems and nurse leadership issues which will qualify the DNP graduates for leadership positions in administration, research, clinical care delivery, patient outcome and systems management, and the nursing academic workforce.
UH Hilo's School of Nursing Mission for the DNP
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal degree in nursing focusing on nursing leadership and application of research and practice. The DNP is also designed to prepare the nurse at an advanced level of nursing practice specifically as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and as leaders and administrators for health care organizations. The program emphasizes the development of the student’s capacity to impact the clinical setting as leaders and educators and to utilize clinical research to improve and transform health care. Our program is based on the understanding that nurses provide services which include the direct care of individual clients, transcultural nursing care, management of the care for rural populations, administration of nursing systems, and development and implementation of health policy. The program encompasses health economics, cultural diversity, chronic care management, health promotion, and disease prevention in rural communities and will create a cadre of new nursing faculty who can immediately address the nursing faculty shortage. Advanced practice nurses with practice doctorates will address significant practice issues in a scholarly way, adopt broad system perspectives for health promotion and risk reduction, and act as agents of change that transform client/community care, participate in the on-going evaluation of health care outcomes, and assist in the translation of research that leads to positive nursing practice changes.
The philosophy of UH Hilo's School of Nursing is to educate professional nurses to lead change and translate science into practice in a dynamic global health care environment. Our school promotes transcultural nursing with a focus on rural populations and communities where each person has the right to participate in making decisions that affect his/her health.
We emphasize the need to deepen our commitment to social justice, improve the quality of healthcare, and access to the underserved. Our vision is a world where our graduates will strive to promote health, alleviate suffering, provide service to the community, and become leaders at local to global levels.
UH Hilo's School of Nursing, DNP Program's Transcultural Focus
The focus on rural and transcultural health will encompass training for practitioners that spans the entire life cycle from birth through death. The program will also focus on rural problems to improve healthcare in our medically underserved community that includes western and indigenous health practices.
The UH Hilo SON ascribes to the curricular elements and competencies of the DNP degree proposed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The DNP essentials describe the necessary foundational outcomes required for the DNP graduate.
- Scientific Underpinnings for Practice
- Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking
- Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice
- Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care
- Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care
- Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes
- Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health
- Advanced Nursing Practice
Program Learning Outcomes for UH Hilo DNP Program
Graduates from the UH Hilo SON DNP program will achieve the following program learning outcomes as a result of an integrated approach to learning, problem solving, evidence-based knowledge utilization, and skill acquisition.
- Synthesize theoretical knowledge and research evidence in designing primary care delivery for diverse populations across the lifespan in rural contexts.
- Collaborate with multidisciplinary professions, multisectoral agencies and lay communities to influence social and health policies impacting rural population health.
- Assume leadership role in organizational systems to improve rural population health in local and regional communities.
- Promote adherence to professional and ethical-legal standards of practice by individual professionals and organizations.
- Integrate cultural competence and social justice in addressing health disparities in rural populations.
- Examine research evidence in design and implementation and evaluation of policies and programs for population health in rural communities.
- Use best practices and technology to improve care delivery for diverse individuals, families and communities within the continuum of primary, secondary and tertiary care.
- Create educational programs to develop culturally competent practice and education of the nursing workforce.
- Design educational programs and evaluation programs to enhance rural community empowerment for health.