Assignment: Aggregate Health or System Needs
The DNP graduate preparing for advanced specialty practice at the population/organizational/policy level demonstrates competencies in conducting comprehensive organizational, systems, and/or community assessments to identify aggregate health or system needs; working with diverse stakeholders for inter- or intra-organizational achievement of health-related organizational or public policy goals; and, designing patient-centered care delivery systems or policy level delivery models.
Curricular Elements and Structure
Program Length Institutional, state, and various accrediting bodies often have policies that dictate minimum or maximum length and/or credit hours that accompany the awarding of specific academic degrees. Recognizing these constraints, it is recommended that programs, designed for individuals who have already acquired the competencies in The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 1998), be three calendar years, or 36 months of full-time study including summers or four years on a traditional academic calendar. Post-master’s programs should be designed based on the DNP candidate’s prior education, experience, and choice of specialization. Even though competencies for the DNP build and expand upon those attained through master’s study, post-master’s and post-baccalaureate students must achieve the same end-of-program competencies. Therefore, it is anticipated that a minimum of 12 months of full-time, post-master’s study will be necessary to acquire the additional doctoral level competencies. The task force recommends that accrediting bodies should ensure that post-master’s DNP programs have mechanisms in place to validate that students acquire all DNP end-of-program competencies. DNP programs, particularly post-master’s options, should be efficient and manageable with regard to the number of credit hours required, and avoid the development of unnecessarily long, duplicative, and/or protracted programs of study. Practice Experiences in the Curriculum DNP programs provide rich and varied opportunities for practice experiences aimed at helping graduates achieve the essential and specialty competencies upon completion of the program. In order to achieve the DNP competencies, programs should provide a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate as part of a supervised academic program.
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