The Doctor of Nursing Practice: From Start-Up to Impact

Mary F. Terhaar, Laura A. Taylor, Martha Sylvia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIM This article reflects on the progress of the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree and its place in health care. BACKGROUND The DNP originated over 10 years ago, long enough for a comprehensive evaluation. METHOD Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation Theory is used to trace the history of the DNP. Nurse leaders from service and academia (n = 120) share strategies and innovations, and evaluate DNP education with a focus on outcomes and impact. RESULTS As schools of nursing target DNPs to become faculty to mitigate the shortage, participants agreed it is time to focus on graduating strong leaders prepared to transform health care. CONCLUSION A growing number of nurses practicing in diverse roles have earned the DNP from programs that vary considerably in rigor. Demand for the competencies, skills, and experience which DNPs bring to practice is high as organizations adapt to the accountable care environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalNursing Education Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • DNP Education Outcomes
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctoral Education
  • Nursing Profession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education


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