BSN to DNP with no nursing experience

  1. What are the advantages/disadvantages of going directly from a BSN to DNP program without obtaining significant nursing experience in between?
  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   jmgrn65
    question is will they let you go into the program without experience? I know any that I have checked into always want a certain amount of experience.
    I also not sure what the d stands for? dermatology? I might be having a senior moment.
  4. by   ShayRN
    Quote from evpsych
    What are the advantages/disadvantages of going directly from a BSN to DNP program without obtaining significant nursing experience in between?

    I don't see any advantage, other than monetary gain. But you have to look at the disadvantage of no experience. How can you expect someone to function without having put together the WHOLE picture? In nursing school you get SO little experience, as they want to expose you so all the different areas of nursing. It takes REAL LIFE and REAL WORK EXPERIENCE to figure out how to be a nurse. Those care plans they have you do? They just kind of fall into a neat little file in your mind, without the proper ANA words ofcourse. But, somehow after a year or so of working in your choosen area of expertise you just KNOW what to do. How many grad nurses can honestly say they can start an IV, read an abdomenal X-Ray and know that you need to put an NG in, look at a patient and know, JUST KNOW that CPK are necessary?
  5. by   Jolie
    I personally can't see any advantage, and would question the motivation and quality of any university that would allow a new grad to enter such a program without a minimum of 1-2 years full-time clinical experience.

    A DNP is a PRACTICE-oriented degree, not a research-oriented one. I can't begin to imagine how a candidate without significant clinical experience could be qualified for such a program, and I would suspect that a program that accepts inexperienced candidates might be doing so simply to fill seats and generate revenue.
  6. by   Crux1024
    Actually, I believe the DNP is a Academic oriented degree. At Least according to the DNP program at Drexel (on the website)...

    I could be wrong...
  7. by   Jolie

    From the Rush University website:

    The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate is a doctorally prepared nurse with expertise in outcomes management and is prepared to function as a leader in complex environments. The DNP program is 40 credit hours and can be completed on-line in two years on a part-time basis.

    I guess the focus may differ from one university to another. I interpreted this to be a clinical degree.
  8. by   Aritchie-loynes
    I don't understand how a program can hand a Doctorate over to someone without requiring any clinical experience and only requiring courses online.
  9. by   Quickbeam
    I came to nursing from an academic background. Doing my pre-reqs, I read nursing magazines and bought nursing text books. I sponged up nursing school. But really? I knew nothing about nursing until I practiced.

    It would be alarming to me that any advanced clinician degree program would take candidates without any clinical experience. I guess money talks.
  10. by   llg
    I've always struggled with this question -- and it is question that I have been asked many times in my career as a nurse with a PhD who has spent most of my career working in hospitals. I strongly support the development of roles for nurses with doctoral level degrees in the practice arena, but understand better then most people (I think) how much a person needs both the academic foundation and practical experience to be successful in them.

    In an ideal world, a person would get the practical experience and the academic foundation simultaneously -- or go back and forth between the 2 types of learning regularly. However, we don't live in an ideal world. Most people have to focus on one or the other first and then get the other later. I don't think that is the best way to do it, but it is the way some people have to do it because of the circumstances of their lives.

    In the end ... I believe ...

    1. It is best to intersperse periods of academic education with periods of clinical practice so that the individual can integrate the 2 types of education -- practical experience and academic, theoretical knowledge -- together. Focusing only on one half of the development picture and then getting the other half later is less than ideal. The best learning occurs when the two are combined.

    2. Recognizing that many individuals can not (or choose not) to integrate their development activities in this way, we should be more open to acknowledging the weaknesses that arise when someone has only half of their development completed. In other words, people with a lot of practical experience but only an entry-level education need to fully acknowledge that they lack the academic education needed for certain role functions -- and people with the academic degree but little experience need to acknowledge that they lack the practical experience necessary for certain role functions.

    3. Once we start acknowledging both the strengths and weaknesses of the various career paths ... then and only then will we be able to develop roles and programs that match the reality of the workforce's true abilities. Realistic expectations can be developed, etc.

    For example: Someone completing a DNP before ever actually working as a nurse could be expected to do a residency of some kind (like physicians do) before being "set loose upon the world" with claims of expertise and advanced knowledge. They could be acknowledged as a beginner-level practitioner with advanced academic knowledge who needs some practical experience before they can be expected to function at an advanced level. Job titles, salaries, etc. could be developed to reflect that lack of experience (just as it is for physicians, etc.) until the person has acquired the necessary practical experience.

    Similarly, people with practical experience but little formal education would fit into roles developed to capitalize on their strengths while also openly acknowledging that they do not have the academic background to fulfill all of the aspects of a DNP role.

    The same argument can be made for any advanced practice role. I just chose to focus on DNP's because that is what this thread is about.

    So ... to the OP ... If you decide to go directly from BSN to DNP program, just remember that you will not be an expert when you graduate. You will be a beginner-level practitioner with some advanced academic preparation. To become a true expert, you will need to get "in there" and actually practice as a nurse for a while.
  11. by   Multicollinearity
    Every DNP program that I've looked at requires several hundred hours of master's level clinical hours.

    Here's an example of the differences between MSN entry to DNP and BSN entry. Scroll down a bit, and you will see the four year plan for BSN entry.

    And since I'm a pre-nursing student - I have no idea about the rest and will not opine!
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on May 15, '07
  12. by   evpsych
    Great points. Thank you everyone for contributing.

    I am not exactly planning on going from BSN to DNP. It is just something I was wondering about. I think the way most programs are set up, students are already working as nurses (PT to FT) and taking courses toward their DNP. That way, they are accumulating clinical experience while remaining academically grounded. I think the online format of most DNP programs makes this a heck of a lot easier!

    Last I heard, the goal is to have DNP become the standard for advanced practice nursing. The MSN will be replaced by the terminal DNP degree. Is that true?
  13. by   TazziRN
    My opinion (for what it's worth): someone who comes out with lots of eddication and no clinical experience has lots of information but doesn't know what to do with it.
  14. by   evpsych
    Quote from multicollinarity
    Every DNP program that I've looked at requires several hundred hours of master's level clinical hours.
    Not all of them: