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Is it true that, in the near future, NPs may be required to have a doctorate in nursing rather than an MSN?

Wednesday July 24, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I would like to become a nurse practitioner and teach patients about nutrition and how it correlates to their health — as a dietician would. Does this job exist? Or could I create one, possibly being self- employed as a consultant? I am an LPN and I am working on my RN degree. Is it true that, in the near future, NPs may be required to have a doctorate in nursing rather than an MSN?

LPN Interested in Nutrition Teaching

Dear Donna replies:

Dear LPN Interested in Nutrition Teaching,

There are many nurses who teach and advise individuals about good nutrition and how it correlates to health. This is an integral part of what all nurses do. They are doing this in employment and self-employment situations.

As a nurse you are well within your rights, and certainly qualified to do this without any additional education, credentials or certification. We nurses often underestimate our own capabilities or become frozen in fear concerning scope of practice and liability issues. The latter can be cleared up, if necessary, by having a consultation with a nurse attorney.

Regarding advanced practice nurses, there is a big push by some to elevate the education level of NPs in the future. But there is no mandate on the record right now, so that possibility is uncertain. Concentrate on obtaining your RN degree and doing work in nutrition education.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.