Value of the DNP: Worth it or not?

  1. 0
    Hi there,
    I want to become an FNP and am trying to decide b/w MSN at Ball State or a DNP at Univ South Alabama. Quite honestly, the DNP portion of it looks very dry to me, and I just don't know the value of the DNP. I know the intention is to eventually require all NPs to have the DNP, but they will likely grandfather in those who have MSN----so what is the benefit of taking the extra DNP courses?
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  4. 6 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    Hey Cauliflower,

    I've only an RN now but have been considering advanced practice in the future. Realize that at this point the DNP merely a suggestion by the AACN and is not the requirement for entry to practice; that which is set by your states nursing board.

    In my opinion, I agree with you. DNP curriculum seems to have diminishing returns for the cost and I'm not convinced that it improves patient outcomes any better, but rather serves as a vehicle for universities to score some grad-school level tuition off returning students. That is to say, at this point in time the value added for the DNP isn't enough to justify it's time, expense, and possible earnings that you could be recieiving while working within a MSN level NP capacity at that point.

    I've always thought if someone wanted what the DNP gave, just go for an MBA as it'll probably prepare you just the same for administrative tasks and a lesser expense as well.
    Last edit by mrmedical on Nov 11, '12
    jbhaktidog and Cauliflower like this.
  6. 1
    Thanks for the reply mrmedical. An MBA makes more sense to me, but it seems in nursing, the field doesn't recognize any non-nurse degrees, which is a real shame.
    jbhaktidog likes this.
  7. 1
    The clinical practice doctorate (DNP) is supposed to make the student an expert in the use of research. How well each individual program does that is a big question. You should not expect any additional hands on clinical skills or increased practice privileges with a DNP that is not what it was envisioned to do.
    Cauliflower likes this.
  8. 0
    thanks Guide: that's exactly the point. what's the worth of getting the DNP degree to become "an expert in the use of research?" am i just missing something? if it won't make people better clinicians, then what exactly WILL the DNP do for you?
  9. 2
    It's my impression, based on the people I know with MSNs vs DNPs that DNPs are more likely to teach and do research, perhaps in addition to clinical roles. Again, my impression is anecdotal. It is a question I'm quite interested in myself too.
    jbhaktidog and Cauliflower like this.
  10. 5
    Quote from Cauliflower
    thanks Guide: that's exactly the point. what's the worth of getting the DNP degree to become "an expert in the use of research?" am i just missing something? if it won't make people better clinicians, then what exactly WILL the DNP do for you?
    In my MSN program we graduated with 82 semester credit hours. That would have been enough in most programs to graduate with a doctorate. The DNP is supposed to give you the knowledge base to self enhance your career over its entire lifespan. When most providers graduate they will continue to practice just as they did during school with little changes throughout their career. It currently takes approximately 16-17 years for research to make its way into practice. The federal government, various advisory nursing associations, and credentialing bodies are trying to push for EBP to become part of everyday medical care in a more timely manner. The DNP is part of the answer to that problem. The degree is what you make out of it. I chose to go with a DNAP, which is specific to CRNAs and allows more latitude in the course offerings.

    From the AACN:
    • In many institutions, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Nurse Mid-Wives, and Certified Nurse Anesthetists, are prepared in master's-degree programs that often carry a credit load equivalent to doctoral degrees in the other health professions. AACN's position statement calls for educating APRNs and nurses seeking top systems/organizational roles in DNP programs.
    • DNP curricula build on traditional master's programs by providing education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership, among other key areas.
    • The DNP is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. DNP-prepared nurses are well-equipped to fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers prepared in PhD, DNSc, and other research-focused nursing doctorates.

    Last edit by wtbcrna on Nov 24, '12
    MandaRN94, KbmRN, jbhaktidog, and 2 others like this.


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