NLNAC Statement on Clinical Practice Doctorates

NLNAC is committed to promoting quality in all types of nursing education programs.  We believe that colleges and universities are in the best position to determine whether to offer nursing education programs, at which level, and under which title.  Our approach also respects the expertise and academic freedom of faculty to design curricula that meet student and governing organization needs.  Our accredited advanced practice nursing programs use a variety of recognized sets of curriculum and competency guidelines and prepare their graduates for certification when such certification exists, with high rates of success. 

As advanced practice nursing moves in new directions, NLNAC will accredit the nursing practice doctorates, whatever their title.  We believe that the interests of nursing and health care are best served by focusing on competencies and curriculum content, rather than degree title, and learning outcomes rather than specific curriculum mandates.

Other health care professionals such as dentists (DDS and DMD), psychologists (PhD and PsyD), and physicians (MD and DO) are able to define their roles, qualifications, and expertise to their patients and the public with more than one type of degree.  We have confidence that doctorally prepared advanced practice nurses will be able to do so as well.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss our open nonprescriptive approach to quality in advanced practice nursing education with you and your colleagues.


Patricia R. Forni, PhD, RN, FAAN
Chair, NLNAC