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Letter to the Editor from Lohman on Ethics: Is the Doctor of Nursing Practice Ethical?

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June 24, 2009

Letter to the Editor from Theresa A. Lohman in response to Ethics: Is the Doctor of Nursing Practice Ethical? by Mary Cipriano Silva, PhD, RN, FAAN; Ruth Ludwick, PhD, RN.C, CNS (March 20, 2006)

Dear Editor:

I write in response to the OJIN Ethics column titled, “Ethics: Is the Doctor of Nursing Practice Ethical?”

Whine, whine, whine.

Is this not typical of the old ‘stab fellow nurses in the back’? Yet we wonder why nursing is said to eat their young.

I would like to address a few of the comments made in this article:

Statement: "There are no studies showing that doctorally-prepared advanced practice nurses have better outcomes than master’s-prepared advanced practice nurses” (National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists [NACNS], p. 2).

Answer: I don't think we've been around long enough for sufficient studies to be completed regarding outcomes of DNP APNs

Statement: “It is unclear how the proposed DNP will contribute to increased patient safety as there have been no studies done to support this premise” ([NACNS], p. 3).

Answer: Again, we DNPs have only been in existence for less than five years. However, even though I'm only in my second semester, I have an increased understanding of research and am now better able to interpret it and use it in my practice. This is what improves patient care.

Statement: "It is not known if DNP-prepared advanced practice nurses will be affordable to employers and third party reimbursers."

Answer: Quite frankly, I’d be surprised to get a pay increase for the degree, and it was not one of the reasons I chose to pursue a DNP. Most PhD-prepared nurses could make more money in a hospital setting, yet choose academia.

As DNPs we are certainly committed to our patients. That's why we chose a practice doctorate. I am very offended that this desire to practice at the highest level possible would be interpreted as harmful to our patients. We don't want to be scientists. I think people who want PhDs will still get them. There is a shortage of nursing faculty. This limits the number of nurses trained at all levels. Who would better teach clinical nursing than a highly educated clinician?


Theresa A. Lohman, MS, RN, CNM, FNP-BC
DNP candidate
Robert Morris University
Maumee, OH


National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. (2005, April). White Paper on the nursing practice doctorate. Retrieved May 27, 2009, from