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Medical students and physicians are weary over the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs

The University of South Florida has established clinical residency concentrations through their College of Nursing that might serve as a pipeline for primary care providers and specialists, upsetting some medical students and physicians.

The program offers its students a DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice), and prepares “the graduate for advanced independent clinical practice” It was approved by the USF Board of Trustees in 2005,

The program offers specialization in these areas, requiring 500 – 1000 clinical hours.

Family Practice
Occupational Health
Internal Medicine
Neurology/Pain Management
Emergency Medicine
Acute Care

Supporters of the program claim that it enhances the research experiences of nurses, in addition to the specialty training.

However, some medical students and residents are quite upset over these developments.  They are urging their colleagues to call the American Medical Association, and even the University of South Florida (which also has separate medical residencies), to complain.

Some residents are bitter at the difference in hours of training between the nursing concentration and a medical residency. One writes, “Wow, 500 hours compared to the 10,000+ hours of residency training for physicians. ” However, they realize it is a hard to sell the idea to the public that they should pay more because doctors had  “rougher” training.

There seems at this point to be a division between nurses and medical students/doctors on this issue. However, some have found middle ground. One medical student writes,

“Probably the future. There’s the long-standing physician shortage in the country. The residency programs aren’t opening new seats so this is the perfect opportunity for mid-levels to fill the gap. It’s cheaper and faster to train and pay a PA to cover the fast-track in the ER than to have a physician do it. Most of the PAs and NPs I’ve worked with are mostly autonomous with the exception of someone having to sign off their charts and the end of the week or day. Not to mention they are fairly mobile and able to re-train quickly in any area of health care where there is a demand unlike a physician who would have to complete another 2-5 years of training. If they can prove they have the same outcomes then there’s no reason for the government to oppose. I predicted physicians in the future will train in very specialized areas while mid-levels cover the rest of the playing field.”

In time, we will learn the impact of the DNP degree on nursing and physician practices. Hopefully, we can find a way to work together.

What are your thoughts?

University of Florida DNP Program Curriculum .
University of Florida DNP Program Residency Concentrations
Emergency Medicine forum discussion of the DNP Programs


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