Reply by Authors to Riedel, Sander, and Miller-Wenning on Ethics: Is The Doctor of Nursing Practice Ethical?

Reply by Silva and Ludwick to Lisa M. Riedel, Theresa M. Sander, and Kimberlee Miller-Wenning on Ethics: Is The Doctor of Nursing Practice Ethical? by Mary Cipriano Silva, PhD, RN, FAAN; Ruth Ludwick, PhD, RN.C, CNS (March 20, 2006)
Letter to the Editor

Three years ago we challenged readers to debate the ethics of the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) (Silva & Ludwick, March 20, 2006). We are delighted that Riedel, Sander, and Miller-Wenning accepted the challenge in their thoughtful "Letter to the Editor."

In our ethics column, written in 2005, we noted that discussions about the ethics of the DNP were too few and too implicit. To address these concerns, we framed the DNP around four ethical principles: social responsibility, respect for persons, do no harm, and justice. We concluded: (a) the DNP was ethical to the degree that it was grounded in ethical principles/tenets, and (b) more scholarship was needed to link ethics and the DNP.

We are grateful that Riedel and colleagues responded to these concerns by updating references related to the DNP and by applying "The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice" (AACN, October 2006) to the four ethical principles discussed in our article (Silva & Ludwick, March 20, 2006). By so doing, these authors underscored the ethics implicitly related to the DNP and, thus, have begun what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue about ethics and the DNP. Such a dialogue, along with the continuing examination of ethical concerns it entails, will help nurses not only to attain the highest standards of their practice but also to ensure the continued public trust.

To further their work, we encourage these authors (and others) to connect the Essentials Document noted above with "The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements" (ANA, 2001), "Nursing's Social Policy Statement" (ANA, 2003), and "Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses: Interpretation and Application" (Fowler, 2008). By making the ethics of the DNP more explicit through these foundational documents, the DNP will continue to grow in maturity, substance, and social import.