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Jan-11-2012 12:30printcomments

Doctor of Nursing Practice:
are they Physicians?

I was a Pharmacology Professor for 25 years during which time I also taught 16 classes of Nurse Pharmacology.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - The Nursing Profession continues to advance in several directions beyond the R.N. degree which itself seems to have several modifications such as the original 4 year B.S.R.N. degree and the 2 year R.N. degree (?). It also has the L.P.N. – Licensed Practical Nurse with some modifications.

About 1965 they started with the N.P. degree – Nurse Practitioner with several subsets for Pediatric N.P., Adult N.P., Mental Health N.P., et cetera. There must be a bunch of them. We also have Physicians Assistants – P.A.’s which has both men and women. Seemingly a natural advance to this was the Master of Science in Nursing which seemed to accompany the Nurse Practitioner Degree.

How many Schools of Nursing are granting the Doctor of Nursing Practice is not known by me but it must be appreciable. It does bring the question, what is a Doctor of Nursing?

This story is provoked by the Oregonian newspaper January 7, 2012 Oregon Health Science University Nursing School Criticized for Lack of Quality in Online Teaching – Specifically Pharmacology. The evaluation was performed by a committee of three selected by the Oregon Nursing Board. They were Jennifer Diallo of the Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization, Joy Ingwerson, Nurse Educator from Carrington College and Tracy Klein the State Nursing Boards Advanced Practice expert. None of their degrees were mentioned.

The complaints originated from the students, which is unusual. The main complaint was about the unqualified Pharmacology instructor. The final complaint is most crucial. Pharmacology, the basis for drug therapy and prescription writing, is the all-important “BRIDGE” between basic science and the actual practice of medicine.

I think I can speak with some authority about the Pharmacology instruction. I was a Pharmacology Professor for 25 years during which time I also taught 16 classes of Nurse Pharmacology. I was invited by the University of London to be a visiting Professor to teach Pharmacology to the first trained physicians in Tanzania. In addition to that I taught Pharmacology at the Naturopathic College and I have presented short-course Seminars of Pharmacology at Chiropractic Conventions.

I am troubled by the designation Doctor of Nursing Practice and the inference that they are equal to a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy, which must pass the National Boards of Medicine which are really TOUGH.

At the present time women, the usual nurses, can get into medical schools. Many schools have more than 50% women. My own daughter is and Adult Nurse Practitioner and she is very good at what she does. I don’t believe she would consider herself equal to a physician.


Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.

Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Do you have a question, comment or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
Email him:

More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole". Order the book by mail by following this link: DOGFACE SOLDIER OF WWII If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

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