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


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 www.nacns.org/LINKCLICK.aspx?fileticket=xHLMMgMYJ98%3d&tabid=138