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Three reasons to choose an evidence-based, practice-focused DNP program

Sometime in the mid- to late-1990s, “evidence-based practice” went from a buzzword to a full-fledged movement in the healthcare sector. Today, it is a pillar of the Magnet® model, requiring nurses to advance the profession by asking critical questions that seek to improve care and increase efficiency by bridging the gap between research and practice. Because this movement is so central to present and future healthcare delivery, advanced practice registered nurses should consider a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that emphasizes and instills evidence-based practice principles in all areas of learning.

Here are several specific reasons to look for programs that focus on this type of nursing practice.

An integral part of Magnet hospital culture

The Magnet Recognition Program places particular emphasis on improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction. Evidence-based practice encourages research and the sharing of knowledge gained through research as well as through the review of many types of evaluative data. Because gaining and maintaining Magnet status makes a healthcare facility more competitive, Magnet hospitals tend to enjoy the virtuous circle of providing quality care, which implies a level of job satisfaction that allows nurses to contribute to continuous improvement, which then attracts and retains the best nurses.

DNP programs that teach evidence-based practice advance both research and practice

DNP programs focus on both research and practice, but some place greater emphasis on the discovery of new knowledge while others focus more on building skills as a clinician, which has come to mean a way of practicing healthcare that entails the constant pursuit of research-supported ways to improve care. A DNP program closes the gap between acquiring new knowledge and applying it in useful ways that produce better patient outcomes. Instruction in these types of programs force nurses to ask why things are done a certain way, whether they need to be done that way and what could be done differently that benefits patient outcomes. The goal of evidence-based research is to use knowledge, literature and data to either validate current processes or develop alternatives that lead to better quality, more efficient care delivery. Because of the high value placed on research, a DNP program that emphasizes evidence-based practice also teaches students how to conduct evidence-based projects or how to translate research into practice.

Quality and efficiency are positively impacted

Because the goal is to seek improvement in patient care delivery, by its very nature this type of nursing practice is both inquisitive and critical. Rather than being seen as pushback, active questioning of established patterns, workflows or procedures is viewed as an essential part of one’s duties as a nurse. Often what nurses find as a result of their condoned inquisitiveness is that which improves patient care and outcomes and also saves time, money and resources – all of which can be refocused on patient care.

Both research and evidence-based practice are vital for students in DNP programs. Research is highly valued and respected, and also serves as the basis for patient care. Evidence-based practice provides nurses with skills that advance the goal of continuous improvement in ways that also lead to circles of more and deeper research as well as greater efficiency in healthcare overall.


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