Directing the DNP Dialogue

Always a Nurse at HeartF aculty member Joanna D. Sikkema, MSN ’78, BSN ’72, is playing a leadership role in the national dialogue about Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) education. In her new role as chair of the writing committee of the American Nurses Association Council of Clinical Practice for the DNP, she will provide guidance and oversight for the development of a position statement in support of the DNP as a terminal degree in nursing. The School of Nursing and Health Studies, which has offered a research-focused PhD in nursing since 1985, launched its DNP program this past January.

The ANA writing committee is composed of representatives working in both academic and clinical practice settings across the United States. The document they create will focus on articulating the complementary roles of the PhD and DNP in advancing nursing science and practice. It will also include a discussion of education, credentialing, and clinical practice issues surrounding the DNP. Upon completion, it will be posted on the ANA’s Web site for public and professional comment.

Sikkema is a board-certified adult nurse practitioner who has practiced in administrative, clinical, and academic roles for over 30 years. She is past president of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nursing Association and a Fellow of the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Nursing. She presently serves as a clinical instructor at the school and director of its acute care nurse practitioner program.

Sikkema recently coordinated a campaign in 12 cities across the U.S. for the American Nurse Association’s Take Action for a Healthy BP blood pressure awareness initiative. The program “was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the influence of nursing on health prevention and promotion while providing health care services to thousands of people across the country,” she says.

Sikkema will complete her own DNP degree later this year. Her thesis will focus on the influence and impact of family history, gender, and ethnicity on risk for cardiovascular disease in minority populations.  “I believe the DNP will enrich my ability to provide expert clinical care and be a change agent on a systems/national level, increasing access to and providing quality health care,” she says.

The school’s DNP program “is unique in its integration with other University programs, such as the schools of business and education,” Sikkema observes. “By enabling students to focus on specific practice areas, it will contribute significantly to the quality of health care in South Florida.”