Differences between doctoral level nurse practitioner programs and master level nurse practitioner programs as reflected in the terminal objectives and curricular patterns
This study examined differences between doctoral level nurse practitioner programs and master's level prepared nurse practitioner programs as reflected in the terminal objectives and curricular patterns. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing's (AACN) decision in October 2004 led to adoption of the goal to have preparation in advanced nursing occur at the doctorate level (Doctorate of Nursing Practice or DNP). Other forces driving the DNP are increasing acuity of health problems, an aging population, increasing uninsured individuals and shortage of nursing faculty. Nursing educators must be proactive in meeting these challenges by preparing advanced practice providers with the necessary education and skills. The design of this study was a cross-sectional survey conducted between January 16 and February 10, 2008. Twenty DNP programs and thirty masters programs were randomly selected. The survey was developed in a Snap9® program and was sent by email to be completed on line. Survey results indicated higher numbers of required clinical hours correlated with higher pass rates in the board examinations. Additional credit hours were also found to result in higher pass rates. The study also indicated differences in the terminal objectives in master's programs compared to doctoral programs utilizing the Cognitive domain in Bloom's taxonomy. The findings from this study are limited and should be interpreted with care as the sample size was small.