Determining the Value and Outcomes of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) (2015-16)

Investigators:  Anna Beeber PhD RN and Cheryl Jones PhD RN

Background: As of 2014, 243 DNP programs were enrolling students and an additional 59 DNP programs were in the planning stages. From 2012 to 2013, the number of students enrolled in DNP programs increased from 11,575 to 14,688. During that same period, the number of DNP graduates increased from 1,858 to 2,443. As the number of DNP graduates increases, researchers have the chance to assess the available evidence on the value and outcomes of the DNP.

Study Aims: This project will:

  • Identify the most well-established DNP programs in the US (based on longevity, reputation, number of graduates etc.)
  • Survey these programs to identify the settings in which DNP graduates are employed
  • Conduct semi-structured interviews telephone with employers in these settings to identify:
    • The roles into which DNPs are hired
    • Organizational perspectives in hiring DNP graduates (i.e. how do DNPs differ from masters prepared advanced practice nurses?)
    • If DNP hires bring flexibility to the organization, and/or enhance organizational capabilities concurrent with the aims of the DNP curriculum which include evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership
    • Their perspectives on how DNPs affect patient, staff, and organizational outcomes (using open-ended questions)

Alignment with BHW priorities: Because DNP programs are relatively new and the holders of this “terminal” clinical nursing degree are relatively small in number, the “value” of DNPs to patients, staff and organizations is not yet well understood. Nursing academics believe the value of the DNP is the provision of clinical leadership to improve the quality of care.  To address this knowledge gap and determine the flexibility of this emerging, but growing segment of the nursing workforce, it is imperative that research be undertaken to inform the field about the value of the DNP role in key employment settings, and how the role affects patient and organizational outcomes.


Project Products: 

Research Briefs