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The Dumbing Down Of Nursing Academics

nursing-education-advertisment-NP-DNPI’m embarrassed to say this, but the nursing profession is making a mockery of healthcare education by downgrading the post-graduate degree process. The nursing education requirements in the advertisement seen here are an embarrassment to the nursing profession.

Mrs. Happy pointed out an advertisement from her nursing magazine offering advanced nursing education opportunities. This advertisement for the doctor nurse practitioner (DNP) training track at Creighton University is a mockery of the rigorous educational requirements necessary to care for patients independently. Check out the nursing education requirements on their advertisement: No entrance exam required?  No clinical experience?  No thesis required?  What has this world come to?

These are professionals who are going to be taking care of patients in less than two years. Some states allow NPs to manage patients independently with no physician oversight. That is just plain scary. This is an embarrassment to the foundation of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, neuroanatomy, microbiology, pharmacology, genetics — and on and on — required to care for patients independently.

This is scary stuff, people. These “DNPs” and NPs will be taking care of you in their clinic, independently, with no physician support, limited only by their own personal threshold for referral. Mrs. Happy brought up a good point with me, though:

Mrs. Happy:  Did you do a thesis?
Happy: Yeah, it’s called internal medicine residency.

These are your nursing education requirements shaping the future of American healthcare. Instead of the academic nursing advocates charging ahead with rigor to guarantee a high level of educational standard, they pull this crap. Why? Why would they do this? Is it about money? Is it about keeping their classes full?  Why the dumbing down of nursing educational requirements?

I think NPs are great. In fact, I enjoy working with them at Happy’s hospital in the capacity for which they are trained. But I question the motivations and integrity of nursing academia with their plans to give away post-graduate degrees which grant the right for candidates to see patients independently, candidates who have never passed an entrance exam or taken care of patients.

Oh wait, I forgot. They did  write an essay on “Why I want to be a nurse practitioner.” I wish getting into medical school was that easy. This is your future, America. The future of nursing education requirements is here and now.

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

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4 Responses to “The Dumbing Down Of Nursing Academics”

  1. Joanne says:

    While I agree with you that this is pathetic, I disagree with your list of courses you feel should be the foundation of any medical professional’s coursework. Much of the coursework you do in medical school is unnecessary for professional practice. This is a commonly accepted fact. In fact, some medical schools are exploring the possibility of shortening FM programs by 1-year simply by eliminating the extraneous coursework. Why would genetics be a necessity for anyone planning to become a GP, for example? I would never go to a nurse practitioner for care unless my PCP were unavailable. And her NP is under her supervision. I would never ever go to an unsupervised NP. However, I think that your standard of foundational coursework is outdated. Many educators feel that even the dissection of cadavers is more a matter of intellectual curiosity than necessary preparation for medical practice.

    I also sense in your “This is your future, America” comment that there might be a turf war component to your post. Physicians need to get over that. There aren’t enough of you and you know that. So, the gap needs to be filled somehow and unless you can build about 50 new med schools in the next 2 years, the only option is physician-extenders. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but for different reasons. I wouldn’t see one unless there were no other choice in a 100-mile radius. But it’s reality.

    The bitter-sounding turf war-driven comments only serve to weaken physicians’ arguments… dramatically. They may seem sufficiently cloaked to you, but the agenda comes through loud and clear to the public and makes you look like angry, bitter, jealous, self-important people who are concerned only about your incomes. You need to eliminate that component of your argument and focus only on the legitimate info if you’re going to get anywhere. Just my opinion…

  2. Kim says:

    Happy – the DNP is not “Doctor Nurse Practitioner” but a “Doctorate of Nursing Practice”. Please note the operative word here: NURSING.

    And the example of the university you give is an example of a poor university – just as some medical schools are poor examples of medical education.

    Trust me on this, reputable centers of nursing academia are extremely strenuous. Trust me, I’ve been looking at the requirements for both the DNP and a PhD in nursing. Take a look at the University of California, San Francisco or Oregon Health Sciences University, The University of California at Davis or any other respected center of education.

    Just because there is an MD after someone’s name does not automatically make them the be all and end all of health care. I’ve had horrendous experiences with incompetent physicians, both personally and professionally. I judge my NPs the same way – and unlike a previous commenter, I will choose an NP (after ascertaining their competence) before I would choose an MD. My experiences have been that they are more accessible, have more time to spend with their patients and have the education to act as a primary care provider.

    Crimeny, Happy, I’ll never get off my blood pressure medication if I keep reading your posts! ; )

  3. Joanne: Why do we need to go to high school or do any type of undergraduate work to become a nurse or a doctor? Why not just take nursing classes. Or better yet, why not just take a class on the exact required information necessary to practice clinical medicine.

    Your position regarding education is laughable. Not needing genetics so let’s get rid of it? Let’s just get rid of high school and undergraduate classes and have future doctors and nurses take only the required classes beginning at age 15.

    It’s called higher education for a reason. My standard of foundational work is not outdated. It is absolutely required to do what physicians and nurses do.

    I’m thinking perhaps we could hire LPNs who took a class in blood pressure management to become our future experts in HTN management. Don’t need a doctor or a nurse, just a high school grad and a text book. Oh, wait, we don’t need high school anymore because it serves no purpose for blood pressure management.

    Kim: If your BP remains high, make sure you go to the Ms. Smith, LPN, your soon-to-be “go-to gal” and local HTN expert. Nobody needs doctors or nurses anymore because they’re all overqualified.

  4. This saddens and astounds me. I am a license-carrying-ever-proud member of the nursing profession. The idea that rigorous, character and constitution challenging hurdles should be minimized or eliminated for professional health-care education and training especially in nursing is alarming. Guess I’ll have to die healthy!

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