Using effects-based reasoning to examine the DNP as the single entry degree for advanced practice nursing

Online J Issues Nurs. 2011 Jun 27;16(3):8. doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol16No03PPT01.


In October 2004 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) as the single entry degree for advanced practice nurses (APNs) beginning in 2015. This action initiated significant changes in many graduate nursing programs. Currently 153 DNP programs have enrolled students and an additional 106 programs are in varying stages of development. This article will examine real and potential outcomes of having the DNP degree as the single entry level for APN practice using an effects-based-reasoning framework. The author begins with a discussion of factors that influenced the DNP initiative and an explanation of effects-based reasoning. Within an effects-based framework, the author examines acceptance or rejection of the DNP initiative by APN programs and professional organizations, as well as the effects within the broader healthcare community. Concluding observations will be shared.

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Practice Nursing / education*
  • Education, Nursing, Graduate / trends*
  • Humans
  • United States