Unique Issues of DNP Students: A Content Analysis

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The purpose of this study was to explore, analyze, and describe nursing doctoral students' perceptions of factors that impacted them during their doctoral program.


There are two major pathways for nurses to earn a doctoral degree, the most recent of which is the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. Enrollment in and graduates from nursing DNP programs have increased dramatically over the last decade.


Answers to an open-ended question in a national descriptive survey study of nursing doctoral students across the United States were analyzed. Colaizzi’s procedural methods were used as a guideline.


The content analysis identified issues unique to DNP students, which related to lack of clarity for the DNP degree and student concerns within academic settings.


Recommendations include having DNP faculty on DNP project committees and for standardization of guidelines for the DNP project to ensure rigor and consistency.

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