Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) has created challenges in nursing role identification in the highest level of nursing program. But when we look closer to their roles, we can appreciate the value that they can bring to the nursing profession. DNP program is a practice-focused or knowledge application nursing, where its concentrations is in innovations and evidence-based nursing, and application of research findings to the highest level of practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2006, as cited in Cygan & Reed, 2019, para 2). Wherein PhD is a researched-focused or knowledge generation nursing which concentrate on research methodology that will create a supporting research project through dissertation defense and related research papers (AACN, 2010, as cited in Cygan & Reed, 2019, para 2).
Though these are two advance graduate level nursing programs with different focus, when they collaborate and build partnership, they complement each other. A study discussed in Cowan et al., (2019), A model of successful DNP and PhD collaboration, the collaboration between DNP and PhD resulted in improvement of interprofessional staff communication, and uniform and improved patient care. The DNPs’ role had identified the problem, created plan on how to improve patient outcome through quality improvement (QI) projects and the PhD as a consultant provided the staff with comprehensive literature reviews and evidence appraisal before clinical pathway development. Understanding the role difference of each other can sustain the success of collaborative projects (Cowan et al., 2019).