Concerns about getting a MA as an NP with the DNP coming to the forefront

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    I have been reading about the starting requirements for a PhD program for NP degrees. I have concerns about getting my masters.

    Although, I would be able to get my masters, pass the boards and be licensed - when it came to job hunting, especially in the future as DNPs are more common, wouldn't I be at a disadvantage having "only" a masters compared to other PhD prepared applicants? Just like many ADN nurses are not acceptable applicants in many areas for even case management jobs with a BSN, despite years of experience.

    I am questioning if it would be wise to get a masters as an NP at all? I have no desire to go to school for a PhD with the relatively small pay increase from a bedside ICU RN to the being an NP. I am concerned about going THAT far in debt without a significant pay bump, no matter how much I think I would enjoy my work.

    Anyone have any thoughts or input about this? Has there been other discussions about this?
    marilynmom likes this.
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

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    I'm getting my post-master NP certification and have no plans for the DNP. The DNP curriculum doesn't make me happy. So far all my instructors have a DNP but I don't know how well accepted it is. I wonder that if an employer has to pay more for a DNP over the NP just how well the DNP will be accepted?
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    Hello! Be sure not to confuse PhD with DNP, 2 different degrees each with a different focus. Within the DNPs being offered you will also find much variation in terms of requirements, focus of program and credits required. A few DNP's are being offered which offer specialized clinical content, but most focus more on implementing evidence-based practice, leadership and such. The issues around salaries, I think it is too soon to see where that will go! Best of luck...
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    the recommendation is for 2015 so my hope is by then my track record and experience will be good enough that I'd still be hired even if the DNP is en vogue.

    It is only 2009 so there is time to get your MSN and license and build up experience before 2015. I also feel the DNP programs are so vague right now I would rather wait (while working) and then if the day comes where I absolutely must get a DNP, there would be better programs to choose from (more focus on clinical skills, offering specialty focus tracks, a girl can dream can't she?)
  8. 0
    Quote from mskate
    I have been reading about the starting requirements for a PhD program for NP degrees. I have concerns about getting my masters.

    Although, I would be able to get my masters, pass the boards and be licensed - when it came to job hunting, especially in the future as DNPs are more common, wouldn't I be at a disadvantage having "only" a masters compared to other PhD prepared applicants? Just like many ADN nurses are not acceptable applicants in many areas for even case management jobs with a BSN, despite years of experience.

    I am questioning if it would be wise to get a masters as an NP at all? I have no desire to go to school for a PhD with the relatively small pay increase from a bedside ICU RN to the being an NP. I am concerned about going THAT far in debt without a significant pay bump, no matter how much I think I would enjoy my work.

    Anyone have any thoughts or input about this? Has there been other discussions about this?
    I shall comment on the DNP from the outside looking in. I'm not a nurse. While I advocate advanced practice nursing I feel like the DNP is a joke. I've looked at the curriculum for such programs and find it to be laughable. With courses in leadership, theory, healthcare finance and policy, and a smattering of other stuff like that it doesn't come close to being equal with an M.D. or D.O. where humans are dissected, physiology is experimented with, and a limitless supply of pathophysiology instruction is available to you. If nurses want more autonomy then a doctorate may be the way to go, but it's not with the curriculum that they've set up. I don't see how the doctorate in physical therapy has yet to help them out much.

    I think the DNP concept will stick around for a few years and go the wayside. The whole concept of cheaper, more readily available healthcare isn't answered by having doctorate-trained nurses. They'll have to be paid more, it will be harder to obtain an NP designation, and fewer people will pursue that route as entry into healthcare that would otherwise be attracted to advanced practice nursing.

    Any work experience beats education. If you get your NP now, or within the next couple of years, you'll have work experience under your belt by the time the doctorate becomes necessary. At that point you'll be competing against academics and people that know what they're doing because they've done it.


    Look at it this way, if you wanted to invest in a custom home would you hire the new guy with a degree in construction management that was perhaps a cum laude grad that worked a couple summers as a carpenter's assistant to oversee the project or a contractor who has been doing the job all his life complete with a portfolio of projects and references, i.e. his accomplished resume? I know who I'd pick. Personnel people aren't stupid. I supervise people all day and can tell you that the higher degree isn't always the best pick. Do what you want to do to be happy.

    I'm sure I'm in for a rash of crap over stating the obvious here, but so be it.
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    ArkFan:
    I wont give you a rash of crap, but I do disagree with some of your thoughts. I hear a lot of anti DNP stuff all the time, and I just don't understand where it is all coming from.

    I do think some of the curricula leave a bit to be desired. The standards should be uniform at the very least, once TPTB decide what specifically they want to set the DNP apart. No, it isn't medical school. I don't know where that came from.

    I think the DNP is an unnecessary step for individuals and the profession in general, but I do think the DNP is going to be the norm in the future, just as the Masters is now.

    I chose to pursue a DNP b/c I'll be circling 50 when I finish. Due to my husbands work, we move frequently and usually across state lines. My concern is that licensing in a new state (where a grandfather clause may not apply) will require a DNP at some point and I don't want to be going back to school at 60, lol. I just don't. It seems prudent to hedge my bet and do it now. I don't for an instant think it will make me a better NP than the next person. It expect it will offer interesting experiences I may not otherwise have had (I love school and classroo discussion, the more the better) but a novice is a novice IMO. A novice with a doctorate could call him/herself "Doctor" but it isn't going to make them an expert.

    Personally, I expect to have quite a learning curve and know Ill earn the respect of patients and peers based on performance, not a diploma. And no, I don't anticipate calling myself Dr Logan. I will be Mary, the nurse practitioner. A NP that happens to have a DNP, though I suspect it will be much like the BSN prepared staff nurse in an acute care setting in that no one ever asks and it is rarely a factor. I suspect the patients won't know or care what the degree in a dusty box in my attic actually says on it.

    I picked the best school that would have me (Duke) and will make the most of the opportunity. I don't understand calling the effort "laughable." To me, it seems meanspirited.

    There is a lot to debate about the DNP. It is new, still evolvng and I think the ANA needs good feedback on how best to proceeed. I hope they take concerns and suggestions into serious consideration, but I know that those suggestions would have to come from a place of respect for the goal, which I understand to be an expertly educated NP.

    Re the OP: I don't think you need to go after a DNP at this point if it isn't something you want. I am sure that you will be grandfathered in for at least some period of time. Unless, like me, you know you will be moving to multiple states, it seems unlikely to be a big issue in our practice lifetimes.

    FWIW, my own health care provider is an ADN prepared womens health NP (via certificate). She's been a NP for about 30 years and I trust her completely. DNP or no DNP, I don't know if I'll ever be as terrific a clinician and professional as she. I will work hard and strive to be; I'm hoping a good education will get me started.
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    I agree. I think the DNP needs more standardization and more clincial-oriented work added to it. I say based on your needs that the DNP may fit you if you're concerned about grandfather clauses. I think it's a bad idea, however, to make a doctorate degree required in any state. This is really something I, as an outsider, feel that nurse lobbying groups, etc should back away from.
  11. 0
    Quote from ArkansasFan
    I agree. I think the DNP needs more standardization and more clincial-oriented work added to it. I say based on your needs that the DNP may fit you if you're concerned about grandfather clauses. I think it's a bad idea, however, to make a doctorate degree required in any state. This is really something I, as an outsider, feel that nurse lobbying groups, etc should back away from.
    I couldn't agree more. I have the same concerns as the OP and this DNP business has me seriously considering PA school. I'm hoping that it is never going to be mandatory. If we really needed a doctorate level advanced nursing practice, I wish that they'd try to make it more like MD/DO programs so that doctoral level nurses could take the USMLE and have residency programs. Just my thoughts- hope they don't offend!
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    I have been wondering the same thing. After reviewing almost 100 DNP programs, it appears that a majority of the programs are set up for you to get after you have obtained your advanced nurse practitioner degree (MSN with specialty). So if you do not have a masters there are a few, just a few (Like ASU) that offer a bachelor to DNP. I have a masters in nursing but not a nurse practitioner degree. So I reviewed all and the best option I think it to obtain my post masters FNP (can get in a little over a year) work as a FNP and if and when a DNP becomes required, there are presently and probably will be even more, many completely online DNP programs for those with the ANP. So I can get the ANP/FNP faster, and just see how things unfold. The ASN was not suppose to still exist....and here it it still is!
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    I have yet to locate a DNP program that offers any clinical relevance (didactic or experiential). And yes, I have tried.

    My honest opinion......what could have been a tremendous boost to the NP profession by providing a clinically-focused terminal degree has instead become a source of great humor to the medical community (academia aside of course). I will not pursue this degree because, as it is currently designed, it will add zero value to my daily clinical practice and my ability to care for patients.

    Sorry, just being honest.
    bymysoultosqueezeRN likes this.


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