A comparative study of PhD and DNP nurses in an integrated health care system

Peri Rosenfeld, Kimberly Glassman, Mary Jo Vetter, Beverly Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A vast literature exists on doctorally-prepared RNs in academia, but little is known about those in practice settings. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore demographic, educational, and employment characteristics, as well as practice patterns and professional accomplishments of doctorally-prepared RNs in one practice setting. Methods: Survey of approximately 100 doctorally-prepared RNs in an integrated health system were surveyed. Discussion: Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNPs) outnumber PhDs three to one in the institution. Several statistically significant differences exist between them: DNPs are younger and most likely hold advanced practice nursing positions; PhDs are 10 years older and more likely hold administrative or leadership positions. Little evidence exists that neither nurses nor administrators understand the skills and knowledge that doctorally-prepared RNs bring to the organization. This is particularly true for DNPs who predominantly hold clinical positions also held by master's-prepared RNs. Conclusion: Advocates for continued growth of DNPs in academia and practice should partner more closely to clarify the skills and talents that doctorally-prepared nurses bring to clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalNursing outlook
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Doctorally Prepared Nurses
  • Integrated Health System
  • Nursing Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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