Date of Conferral







Donna Bailey


Strong professional forces have emerged within healthcare with expectations for a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree for nurse practitioner (NP) practice. While NP contribution to societal healthcare is evident, most of these frontline workers are still only masters’ prepared nurses (MSN). A problem exists in that their views of the DNP have been minimally studied. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions of Midwestern MSN NPs of the DNP. The study was supported by the self-determination theory (SDT) proposing that motivation for goal achievement was driven by perceptions of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, which set priorities and directed goals. Nine MSN NPs’ evaluation of the personal and professional worth of the degree of DNP, their perceptions DNP impact on the future of nursing and societal healthcare, and the obstacles and facilitating factors for DNP achievement were identified via semistructured interviews in this qualitative study. Their views of DNP attainment were value coded by repetitive phrases and recurring responses, then thematically organized per tenets of the SDT. Most had a positive view of the DNP impact on nursing and societal healthcare, but most agreed that the DNP would not result in increased pay or practice authority. While the DNP was not an impending priority, most believed that it would eventually be required for practice and that they were able to achieve the degree if necessary. They further discussed time, money, and family constraints as obstacles to the DNP but that assistance with tuition, time off for study, and motivation for rewards of the finished degree would facilitate DNP achievement. The implications of NP presence and DNP influence suggest positive changes in the healthcare landscape, thereby benefiting society.