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American Association of Colleges of Nursing Doctoral Education Conference


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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape of healthcare, yet there is a gap in the literature concerning Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Objective: To gather an authentic understanding of DNP prepared APRN experiences (stories) caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This was a qualitative narrative inquiry study. A purposive sample of DNP prepared APRNs (N=8) were recruited to participate. All interviews were audio recorded, recordings were transcribed, and then the authors crafted each participant’s narrative story. Results: Four overarching themes were identified: Do the Right Thing, Stepping Up, From Here to Reality, and Complex COVID Coping. Twelve subthemes were also identified. Participant stories were profound and indicated that their DNP education prepared them well for the healthcare crisis, but that the emotional toll was difficult. Conclusions/Implications for Practice: This research provides insight into the experiences of DNPs working during the height of the pandemic and elucidates the duty of nursing leaders and educators to appropriately plan, safeguard, and guide DNPs, students, and nurses at all levels. Preparation in epidemiology, public health, disaster planning, tele practice, and wellness is paramount.

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