The DNP’s Role in Healthcare Reform


Have you thought about how you’re using your DNP in your practice? As I write this, a small group of us from my DNP graduating class are finalizing our first state DNP conference. We recognized that we have a national organization, Doctors of Nursing Practice, but our state had no such networking organization. Over the past year, we have created an association and planned our first conference, which will focus on health policy, leadership and disruptive innovations. We have speakers who are leaders in all of these areas who will share their knowledge and experience. The plan is to have special interest groups (SIGs) develop from these focus areas so we can continue exploring how DNPs influence healthcare in our state and our nation.

This planning committee includes two faculty members from our program (who were the visionaries), as well as nurse executives and CRNA, NP and CNS practitioners. By utilizing our various professional networks and knowledge, we believe this DNP association has the power to stimulate and support all DNPs to actively engage all of the AACN DNP Essentials in our practice areas.

As an FNP, learning from other DNPs who have created new models of care, utilize disruptive technologies and improve population health through scholarship, systems leadership, health policy advocacy and interprofessional collaboration has greatly enhanced my practice. Continuing to explore innovative care delivery models to improve outcomes for the uninsured and poor in my free clinics enables me to provide high-quality, cost-effective interventions that directly improve the health of my patients and their families.

The rising cost of healthcare is unsustainable. Individuals are facing higher deductibles in their insurance plans and often avoid accessing healthcare services, even when insured, because of these deductibles. I challenge each of us to re-examine the DNP Essentials to reach out to other DNPs and colleagues in order to explore new models of care delivery providing more access to services with lower cost and improved outcomes.

As nurses, we have the power, knowledge and experience to change healthcare. What will be your role in healthcare reform in your workplace, community, state and country?


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About Author

Rebecca Bates, DNP

Rebecca Bates, who has been a nurse since 2000, is passionate about providing healthcare for vulnerable populations. She earned her DNP at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., and has been a family nurse practitioner in primary care since 2009. Her DNP research explored NP assessment of adolescent psychosocial risk factors. During her doctoral program, she completed a health policy fellowship and remains active in state and federal health policy advocacy. She has also engaged in global health advocacy and medical missions. She recently left private practice and currently works at a Free Clinic where she continues to precept NP students. She is an assistant professor for graduate and undergraduate nursing students. Rebecca believes nurses must have a seat at the table to improve the health of individuals and communities throughout the world.

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