DNP....Is it worth it for me????

  1. 4
    Hello Everyone! I have recently been accepted into the Arizona State University Adult DNP program. I am having the toughest time deciding if it is the right move for me to make.

    Let me tell you a little about myself. I have been a nurse for 2 years. I started out working as a new grad on tele/post open heart floor. After a year and a half I have transferred to resource and float all over the hospital between med-surg/ tele/ ICU resource person/ Stress labÖ.and I love not knowing where I am going to be from day to day. When I originally applied to the DNP program I really didnít think that I would get accepted based on only being a nurse for 2 years but I figured I would try anyways. Well here I am accepted for Fall 2013 and still trying to weigh the Proís and Conís to make the right decision.

    So here are the things I have to take into consideration:

    • I am only 24 right now. The program is 3 years and I would only be 27, I know that having a doctorate degree at that age is a huge accomplishment and hard to pass up. It would be amazing to just be done with school forever considering I have never had a break from it! I know that I could always do the program later, but I am such a go getter and If I am ever going to do it now is the time, before we have kids.
    • My husband is in medical school and has 2 years left. This is a huge factor in many ways. When do when start a family? As a nurse my job is so flexible and since I donít have my own patients itís easier to take time off. I didnít have a mother and father growing up so it is important to me that I provide that solid foundation when we have kids. However, as a DNP Iím afraid that I would get sucked into to job and added responsibilities and my husband and I would both be working a lot which is not the type of parent I want to be. I know that I need to make this decision on my own and not because my husband is going to be a doctor because I know nothing in life is guaranteed (in our relationship and our future health).
    • I really donít care about having a doctorate degree, or being addressed as Doctor. If I could do a MSN NP in 2 years and never be pressured to complete the DNP portion I would. But, since I am so young I figure I better just go with the higher degree and never look back.
    • I CANíT IMAGINE being a floor nurse for the next 40 something years, just shoot me! I know there are a ton of possibilities within nursing but who knows what is going to happen with the new health care changes.
    • NPís donít necessarily make that much more than a nurse, so is the student loan debt that I am going to take on worth it in the long run? I think it would be only because I am so young, but it is still sickening to think of. My husband wonít have any debt from med school, he is doing the HPSP military scholarship so it will just be my loans and would end up being about 100K.
    • When we do start having kids Iím pretty sure that I want to just work part time. My husband doesnít think itís worth it for me to go through all that schooling and only work part time, and is not confident that I would be able to find part time jobs.
    • If I am going to do a 3 year program I really need the motivation, and honestly since I have never had a break from school the motivation is lackingÖ..It seems like I have never had time to fully concentrate on myself, start up some hobbies, lose weight and just enjoy life!

    Any feedback, information, or advice is very appreciated! Thank You!
    priorities2, Blanca R, Joe V, and 1 other like this.
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  4. 29 Comments so far...

  5. 6
    My advice is to forget the DNP for now. I have been in a similar situation as you...I'm an RN and would like to become an NP soon, but couldn't really decide between MSN and DNP. I finally decided on MSN after a lot of research because:

    1. Having the DNP doesn't change job prospects, salary, or responsibility. All jobs simply require an NP license, which is currently attainable at the MSN level.

    2. Going for the DNP all at once actually causes your degree to be more expensive. You see, most schools charge less for a master's degree vs a doctoral degree. If you enroll as a master's student, you will pay the master's rate. If you enroll as a doctoral student, you will pay the doctoral rate per credit/semester - even when you're taking the same classes as the MSN students!

    3. The DNP is fairly new and seems unorganized. I'd rather wait until it becomes more clinical based and has been revamped - right now, the standardization is pretty lax and I feel I would regret getting it right now.

    4. I believe working as while as an NP with an MSN will give you a greater appreciation for what you're learning once you go back to school for the DNP. Things just make more sense when you can apply them.

    Due to these reasons, I have decided to go for my MSN now, saving considerable debt and allowing me to being practicing sooner. After my debt is paid off for the MSN and I have practiced for a while, I will go back and receive my DNP, which by then should be more standardized. I hope that helps!
    HarryTheCat, RNJill, subee, and 3 others like this.
  6. 0
    Thank you for your input. At this time I am still trying to decide if I should do NP at all! How can I give up working 3days/week?? LOL
  7. 14
    The thing that impresses me most about your original post was what you DIDN'T say. You didn't talk about really wanting the role that the DNP would prepare you for. You never talked about how you were going to enjoy the educational process ... that you have a burning desire to learn more ... or to become a NP. If those things are not all that important to you, then the investment may indeed not be worth it for you at this time.

    Please don't become one more nurse who burned herself out by trying to do too much too soon. Don't make such a huge investment until your heart is in it.

    If your heart is really in it ... and you have a real passion for it ... then go for it. But if your heart is not in it ... then wait until it is.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    SHGR, pro-student, Jcat117, and 11 others like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from Spazzerific9
    Thank you for your input. At this time I am still trying to decide if I should do NP at all! How can I give up working 3days/week?? LOL
    There are many hospital based NPs that work 12 hour shifts, 3 days a week, same as an RN.
  9. 0
    You are so right! I didn't include that in my original post because that aspect is not something that someone can give me advice on, I have to decide on my own why I want to do it. However, I like to hear others thoughts on the pros and cons because everyone comes from different backgrounds and maybe someone will say something that I had not thought of yet to help me make a decision. Thanks for your input!
  10. 0
    Quote from llg
    The thing that impresses me most about your original post was what you DIDN'T say. You didn't talk about really wanting the role that the DNP would prepare you for. You never talked about how you were going to enjoy the educational process ... that you have a burning desire to learn more ... or to become a NP. If those things are not all that important to you, then the investment may indeed not be worth it for you at this time.

    Please don't become one more nurse who burned herself out by trying to do too much too soon. Don't make such a huge investment until your heart is in it.

    If your heart is really in it ... and you have a real passion for it ... then go for it. But if your heart is not in it ... then wait until it is.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    You are so right! I didn't include that in my original post because that aspect is not something that someone can give me advice on, I have to decide on my own why I want to do it. However, I like to hear others thoughts on the pros and cons because everyone comes from different backgrounds and maybe someone will say something that I had not thought of yet to help me make a decision. Thanks for your input!
  11. 3
    As a fellow young nurse who is feeling the desire to go back, but unsure of the responsibilities, let me say, that if I had the chance right now, I would do it! I can't because I'm a travel nurse and truthfully don't know where I will end up. Before you have kids, like you said. I hate to comment about money, but if your husband will have no debt and you will only have $100k, that's really not that much in the grand scheme of things. Not to mention he will be Md, and you will have a pretty decent job too. My husband and I paid off that amount of debt in 2 years on an RN and bartender's salaries.

    Once you have kids, imagine how hard it will be to go back then, and then you may not really have the option. Then you will have no choice but to remain in similar positions you are in now. Not that it's bad to be an RN, but I think nursing is going to become very competitive for us in the future. There are so many new grads rushing out of schools that are willing to work for dirt cheap. What are you going to do to separate yourself from the pack? Of course, you could always get into a great specialty like cath lab, or endoscopy, and probably have a great job.

    Lets say you don't even use your DNP right away until you find the right job, no worries, right? Make some contacts with doctors, casually mentioning that you have your DNP, but aren't looking to be full time, etc. you may be surprised one day that the perfect job may fall into your lap! If the doctors are fond of you, they will be happy to take the added help, even if you only work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and cover for vacations, etc. I understand your hesitation to do it now. Maybe you could wait one more year, but ultimately, isn't the itch to go back to school always going to be in the back of your head? Do it! And if your concern is not having enough free time, then just go part time and finish in 4.5 years Intead of 3. You can still have personal time if you truly make time for it. Study while on the treadmill, or be sure to take time off to travel. But think of the doors this degree could open for you. I vote strongly in the favor of going!!
  12. 1
    I love y'alls situation. I would never worry about the money IMO. My wife's a resident in surgery, in this country unless your/your significant others family is extremely wealthy you are going to med schools usually on loans. Do what you want, now, because you can and will pay off the loans eventually, you can't take back the kids, but you can quit the job.
    Spazzerific9 likes this.
  13. 2
    I'm all for having manageable/minimal debt when one finishes their education. It's not the degree that will confine you to a situation that you dislike - it's loan repayment!

    I know many professionals - nurses and otherwise - who've taken less-than-optimal positions because they needed to to pay off their HUGE grad school loans.

    One thing I would not want is to be obligated to return to a job full time before I was ready after having children. Having flexibility with your work schedule is very desirable when children are young. Each child is another full time job, on top of the 'real jobs' the parents have.

    That said, if you can complete an MSN/DNP program without too much debt - I'd say go for it. If you will be addled with $100K+++ in debt, I'd caution you about getting into that financial situation on the cusp of starting a family.

    Having some work flexibility can make family-starting a wee bit less stressful.

    Not my pay-scale, but I suppose having a full-time live-in nanny (or manny) might help, too.

    It takes a village....
    EarlyRN and Spazzerific9 like this.


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