When it comes to defining the field in which the theoretical and the practical components stand apart the furthest, nursing doubtlessly takes the first place. No matter how well one might study the theoretical aspects and approaches design, in practice, every single element seems different.
Perhaps, the causes of the given phenomenon can be attributed to the striking difference between the laboratory models, corpses in a dissecting room, textbook illustrations, etc., and live people. Either way, despite the fact that the two fields stem from the same science, because of the practical application of the acquired skills for a DNP specialist, and a mostly theoretical field left for a PhD expert, the two fields can be considered diametrically opposite.
To start with, it is necessary to stress that for some reason, most students prefer pursuing the career of a PhD rather than the DNP (Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 2006, 3). The given phenomenon can be explained by the fact that continuing to research the specifics of a certain problem is somewhat easier than advancing to practice and applying the theories that have been studied to the practice.
Speaking of the similarities of the given programs, one must mention that they seem to be closely intertwined with each other and, therefore, be interdependent. However, it is also essential to differentiate between the DNP, DNS and DNSC programs. While the PhD program is referred to research (Stanley), and the remaining three are devoted to practice, the research provides the theoretical foil for the remaining three to develop.
In its turn, the DNP program can be considered a practice-based research in nursing (Zaccagnini & White, 2012). As for the DNS program, it offers an alternative to the PhD program, providing more opportunities for practice as well. Finally, the DNSC program also focuses on the research. According to Sperhac and Clinton, “The NONPF DNP competencies for NPs include the following:
- Independent practice
- Scientific foundation
- Practice inquiry
- Technology and information literacy” (Sperhac & Clinton, 2008, 147)
When it comes to thinking why I have chosen the DNP course, I must confess that I am a people person; I love communication – the process of working with people is delightful to me, which is, actually, no big wonder – being a mother of four children and a loving wife, I know how to share and how to tend to one’s needs. In addition, I prefer to practice the acquired skills instead of having them stacked useless while researching a very narrow field. Working with people and, therefore, being able to make efficient use of the acquired skills seems much more enticing to me.
Thus, it must be admitted that being a DNP specialist means dealing with the practical issues much more often than a PhD specialist does. Although the specialists with any of these degrees deserve being appreciated each on his/her merits, these degrees actually presuppose dealing with completely different issues.
In a sense, the DNP degree is superior, since it also incorporates the elements of the PhD. Indeed, for a DNP specialist to remain an expert in his/her field, it is highly recommended that (s)he upgraded his/her skills once in a while and was informed about the latest theories and advances in the chosen field, which is exactly what a PhD expert must do to grow professionally.
Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). (2006). Essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Web.
Sperhac, A. M., & Clinton, P. (2008). Doctorate of nursing practice: Blueprint for excellence. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 22(3), 146–151. Web.
Stanley, J. Introduction: the doctor of Nursing Practice. Retrieved from Walden University.
Zaccagnini, M. E., & White, K. W. (2012). The doctor of nursing practice essentials: A new model for advanced practice nursing. (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.