There is much buzz in and around the Anesthesia community. Talk of the DNAP has been dominating the Internet, blogs, discussion groups as well as Anesthesia conferences. Many CRNAs are wondering what all the fuss is about. Nurse Anesthetist have be providing safe Anesthesia for many years without the need for a (DNP or DNAP).
Why is the Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice being promoted as the Holy Grail or as the future of the Nurse Anesthetist? There are as many ideologies given as to why the DNAP is needed or is going to be required in the near future. If you ask the Nurse Anesthetist who is in the clinical setting, he or she will tell you the DNAP isn’t relevant to provide Anesthesia care nor will the DNAP change their day to day activities. However, if you ask an educator and or an administrator of a major healthcare facility, you will get a completely different response.
The Anesthesia community (CRNA) isn’t the only healthcare field that is being targeted for the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Those who are considered advanced practice nurses are being targeted for the DNP as the healthcare industry moves further into the new millennium. Are you a nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse midwives (CNM) and or a clinical nurse specialists (CNS)? If so, you are well aware of the DNP.
We know that all CRNA programs have to be compliant and offer the DNAP curriculum by 2025. Nurse anesthetists who graduate before 2025 will be grandfathered in. It will be years before the DNAP becomes the standard for the nurse anesthetist. Currently, there are over 40,000 practicing CRNAs in the US according to the AANA statistics. Many of those CRNAs have been trained and educated at the Masters level. According to many top level educators, it will be in the year of 2055 before the DNAP trained nurse anesthetists replace the majority Masters level CRNAs in the work place.
As a final note, those who desire top level positions in the education realm should benefit immediately from having a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree (DNAP). Hospital administrators are actively seeking these individuals for leadership roles as well. Anesthesia groups who contract with hospitals and or ambulatory surgical centers have an interest in those who posses a DNAP because it gives them an advantage on their competition.