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Implementation of the DNP Task Force

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The AACN Board of Directors charges the task force with the development of a white paper that clarifies the purpose of the DNP final scholarly product and the clinical learning practice hour requirements as described in the DNP Essentials.  Growing evidence exists regarding variability among program requirements for the DNP final scholarly products or capstone project including scope of project, level of implementation, impact on system and practice outcomes, extent of collaborative efforts, dissemination of findings, and degree of mentorship/oversight. Clarification of the DNP Essentials of translating knowledge into practice via a final scholarly product or products is required to ensure consistency and rigor of the learning.

Given the broadened definition of DNP practice, a clarification on “clinical practice hours” is needed. Inter-professional collaboration and integration of informatics, policy, population health, economics, legislation, and quality improvement into clinical or practice hour requirements present a challenge for schools of nursing. Competition for sites and preceptors, affiliation agreements, and distance learning modalities also present challenges to developing practice experiences for DNP students. These challenges mandate exploring, clarifying, and finding new and innovative ways to meet the DNP practice requirements. Clarification and explanation of the intent of the clinical practice requirements for both post- master’s and post-baccalaureate DNP students is needed.  The development of innovative collaborative practice relationships and agreements is critical to the education of DNP students. Actions must be taken to minimize strain on schools of nursing and clinical partners, decrease barriers to quality DNP practice experiences and enable schools to meet the DNP Essentials requirements as well as prepare graduates with the expanded knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for future practice.

To meet the charge the task force should:

1. Describe the current state of DNP scholarly products, challenges, and variability among program requirements.

2. Define resources needed to support development of quality DNP products, including mentorship, oversight, access to data, and practice sites.

3. Design recommendations for scholarship of DNP graduates and how this translates into program expectations.

4. Identify the term to be used for the final DNP scholarly product.

5. Develop a set of recommendations and exemplars for DNP scholarly products, e.g. single project, group project, portfolio, or a series of products.

6. Evaluate the current landscape regarding program length; and clarify or reaffirm the DNP Essentials statements regarding program duration for post-baccalaureate and post-master’s DNP programs.

7. Examine the current challenges for meeting DNP practice hour requirements.

8. Clarify the purpose or intent of the DNP practice requirements in preparing graduates for an area of advanced nursing practice.

9. Construct the nature of the collaborative relationship that should be established to facilitate the development of DNP students, including DNP practice expectations for the schools, practice partners, and mentors.

10. Formulate recommendations for integrative and collaborative DNP practice experiences that meet the DNP Essentials.

11. Highlight exemplary opportunities and innovations for intra (DNP and PhD) and inter-professional learning and practice. 

Please address your comments to either the chair or AACN staff liaison noted.

Sarah A. Thompson, PhD, Chair
Dean and Professor
University of Colorado
College of Nursing
13120 E 19th Avenue, C288-1
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-1679


Catherine Hill, DNP
Chief Nursing Officer
Texas Health Physicians Group
9229 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy
Dallas, TX 75243
(682) 236-3621


Shannon Reedy Idzik, DNP
Associate Professor & Assistant Dean, DNP Program
University of Maryland
School of Nursing
655 W. Lombard St., Room 525
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-8129

Marie Napolitano, PhD
Director, DNP Program
University of Portland
School of Nursing
5000 North Willamette Blvd.
Portland, OR  97203 – 5798

Mary F. Rodts, DNP
Associate Professor & Chief Operating Officer of Midwest Orthopedics
Rush University,College of Nursing
600 S. Paulina Street, Suite 1072A
Armour Academic Center
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-6985

William Michael Scott (Mike), DNP
Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Professor, Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center,
El Paso, TC
(915) 215-6106


Karen Stefaniak, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
University of Kentucky College of Nursing
315 College of Nursing Bldg.
Lexington, KY 40536-0232
(859) 323-2951

Kimberly A. Udlis, PhD
MSN Program Director & Associate Professor
Bellin College
School of Nursing
3201 Eaton Rd
Green Bay, WI 54311
(920) 433-6624
Fax: (920) 433-1921


Teresa Wehrwein, PhD
Associate Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs
Michigan State University
College of Nursing
1355 Bogue Street, A220 Life Science
East Lansing, MI 48824-1317
(517) 432-1172

Joan Stanley, PhD, AACN Staff Liaison
Senior Director of Education Policy
202-463-6930, ext. 254

Karen S. Kesten, DNP, AACN Staff Liaison
Director of Educational Innovations
202-463-6930, ext. 274

Shyloe Jones, AACN Staff Liaison
Education Policy Assistant

202-463-6930, ext. 250