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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Essentials 

The DNP essentials are the foundational outcome competencies deemed necessary to for all graduates of a DNP program (AACN, 2006). There are eight DNP essentials that guide and inform all components of the doctoral nursing education experience. A brief description of each DNP essential is outlined below, as well as exemplars completed in fulfillment of each DNP essential and requirements for the DNP degree. 

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DNP Essentials

Essential I:
Scientific Underpinning for Practice 

The practice doctorate is a terminal nursing degree that provides the academic preparation for nursing practice. Scientific underpinnings of this education serve as the foundation on which advanced practice nurses (APNs) build their professional practice. The underpinning reflects the complexity of practice at the doctoral level and the rich heritage that is the conceptual foundation of nursing. It is imperative that APNs with doctoral education have a strong foundational understanding of the conceptual frameworks that guide care and decision-making. 

Essential II:
Organizational & Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking

Organizational and systems leadership is critical for DNP graduates to improve patient health care outcomes. Doctoral level knowledge and skills in these areas are consistent with nursing and healthcare goals to eliminate health disparities, promote patient safety and excellence in clinical practice. The clinical practice degree provides the advance practice nurse with the knowledge and skill set to translate nursing research into the practice setting. 

Essential III:
Clinical Scholarship and Analytical methods for Evidence-Based Practice 

Scholarship and research are the hallmark of the doctoral nursing education. DNP graduates engage in advance nursing practice and provide leadership to evidence-based practice. To do so, DNP-prepared advance practice nurses must show competency in translation of research into practice, the evaluation of practice, improvement in the reliability of health care practice an outcomes, and participation in collaborative research. 

Essential IV:
Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care 

Doctorally-prepared advance practice nurses are distinguished by their ability to use information systems/technology to support and improve patient care and health systems and provide leadership within healthcare systems and/or academic settings. Knowledge and skills related to information system/technology and patient care technology prepare the DNP graduate to apply knowledge, manage individual and aggregate level information, and assess the efficacy of patient care technology appropriate to a specialized are of practice. 

Essential V:
Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care 

Healthcare policy – whether it is created through governmental actions, institutional decision-making, or organizational standards – creates a framework that can facilitate or impede the delivery of health care services. Engagement in the process of policy development is central to creating a healthcare system that meets the needs of individuals, families, and communities. 

Essential VI: 
Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes’ 

Today’s complex and multi-layered healthcare environment depends in the contributions of highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals. From multiple professionals. To accomplish the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) mandate for safe, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care in a complex environment, healthcare professionals must function as collaborative teams. The DNP graduate is prepared to effectively lead teams and they are prepared to play a central role in establishing interprofessional teams when needed. 

Essential VII: 
Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health

The implementation of clinical prevention and population health activities is central to achieving the national goal of improving population health. During their education, the DNP student engages in leadership integrate and institutionalize evidence-based clinical prevention and population health services for individuals, families, and communities. 

Essential VIII: 
Advanced Nursing Practice 

The last DNP essential specifies the foundational practice that transcend advance practice specialties. The DNP program provides preparation within distinct specialties that require expertise and advanced knowledge, and mastery in one area of advance practice. Temple’s DNP program has provided me with practical experiences that has allowed me to develop skilled necessary to practice in an advance role as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. I’ve completed a total of 832 clinical hours in various settings including primary care office, subacute rehab, and long-term care. In addition to clinical hours, I’ve completed a total of 200 DNP project hours. 

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