From BSN to DNP: Nursing Education Designed to Prepare Leaders

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As the health care field evolves, the opportunities for dedicated nurses continue to grow. Nurses can now earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, degree that will allow them to operate at the highest levels in specialty practices and to take leadership roles throughout the health care industry. The DNP program builds on the work of nurse practitioners, who have been playing increasingly larger roles in health care to provide patients with the medical care and attention they need, even if those patients live in rural areas where doctors will not go.

Today, the best nursing programs can take students from their bachelors to a DNP degree, preparing them to embrace change and provide leadership. There are three important trends now for which nursing students in such integrated and holistic programs are being prepared.

What Exactly Are DNPs?

The DNP degree is the highest level of education available in the nursing field. Most DNP programs focus on areas that emphasize nurse leadership, quality improvement, systems management, and decision making based on empirical data. DNP programs give students practice-based training in clinical uses of high-level nursing knowledge and skills.

The DNP degree differs from other high-level nursing degrees, such as the PhD, Doctor of Nursing Science, and Nurse Doctorate, because of its specialized focus on clinical applications. Other degrees focus on teaching research skills, scholarly inquiry, and specialty skills. The DNP degree readies graduates to lead the way in healthcare developments.

Trend: Electronic Health Records

Many facilities and offices are now using an electronic health records (EHR) system. EHRs are electronic versions of clients paper charts. They are real-time, patient-centered records that give authorized users instant and secure access to patients files and histories. EHRs are a development in the health field that is meant to bring patient treatment into the 21st century, as well as to improve it. EHRs have multiple benefits.

  • Instant information: With EHRs, healthcare providers can easily and quickly know a patients history, which can give them better insight into the best course for current treatment.
  • Improved communication: Health care providers can communicate easily with each other to devise an effective and safe treatment for patients.
  • Faster treatment: Improved communication and instant access to patient histories and files mean that patients can receive needed medical care faster now than in past decades.

Strong nursing education programs prepare graduates of DNP programs to step into roles as leaders in organizing, using, and maintaining EHR systems wherever they work, with the goal of helping to improve todays health care delivery system.

Trend: Nutrition as Part of Holistic Care

Increasing numbers of people are now looking at nutrition as a way to prevent illness and disease, maintain their current state of health, and reach an optimal level of overall well-being. They will turn to their healthcare providers, including nurses, to provide information and offer advice about nutrition.

Therefore, nursing professionals need to turn their focus toward a holistic approach to health care, if they have not already, to best meet their patients needs. Medical treatment will still be needed, but patients are now looking more to whole body care, and their health care providers, under qualified leaders such as those with DNP degrees, should be, too.

Trend: The Affordable Care Act

The health care industry has been adjusting to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the changes it brought. Many facilities had problems due to the large number of newly insured people seeking health care they could not afford before the ACA. More changes may come, and the nursing field, as well as the entire healthcare industry, must be ready to meet them in order to maintain quality care for patients. Nurses with DNP degrees from strong programs, such as maryville’s BSN to dnp degree program, will be looked to as health care leaders during tumultuous, uncertain times.

The Future of Health Care

The health care field is changing as developments in technology, political policy, and popular priorities evolve. Nurses, who are increasingly looked to as vital health care providers and sources of support, will play a huge role in the transformation of modern health care. DNP degrees provide committed and skilled nurses with the tools they need to be leaders now and far into the future.

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