Can one teach at the university level with a DNP?

  1. Hello all,

    The University of South Alabama offers a DNP with an education focus, in addition to the NP-focused DNP. My question is: can I teach with this degree at the university level? I realize this degree is a relatively new concept, and especially for educators. Many universities that I have checked with that have faculty openings state that one must have a 'doctoral degree', so I'm assuming that this degree would meet that requirement. Any thoughts?

  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   BBFRN
    I believe it is possible, but if you want to teach at a research university, you may want to consider going for the PhD instead, as you'll be more marketable. I had a couple DNP professors in my BSN program, but it wasn't a research-intensive institution.

    What are your personal career goals, as far as teaching?
  4. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    The University of Virginia is a research-intensive University, and we have both PhD and DNP prepared faculty. We have two 'tracks' for faculty: tenure track and General Faculty. Tenure track faculty positions require a PHD; General Faculty have MSNs or DNPs. General Faculty have yearly renewable contracts.

    There are non-research intensive universities in my state that will tenure DNP recipients. These universities have a stronger teaching/service mission (faculty often teach 12 credits/semester). As a means of comparision, tenure track faculty at my University teach 3-6 credits.
  5. by   Sunflower3
    Thank you for your insightful responses. So, if the tenure-track faculty teach 3-6 credits, then they are doing research and serving on committees for the rest of their work hours? I'm trying to understand just what the differences are. From my understanding, the EdD and/or DNP take new information obtained by the PhD researchers and translate that research into practical knowledge-is this correct? My goals at this time are not to produce new information, but to use information obtained to help/teach others. I also would really like to teach online. I am shying away from a PhD because my math skills (read: statistics) are not my strong point.

  6. by   UVA Grad Nursing

    At my SON, all fulltime faculty serve on at least 1 committee (tenure-track and general). As an Assistant Dean, I serve on all committee that affect students in one way or another (8 of them so far).

    Tenure-track faculty are expected to to research. Those with active NIH or other research grants have funding to "buy out" some of their time so they teach less (generally 1 course). Those without current NIH funding tend to teach 2 courses per term.

    If your interest is not research, they definitely aim for a faculty position at a non-research intensive university. There are hundreds of schoolsl of nursing in the US (the last census from AACN cited 674 BSN programs and 330 graduate programs). All of these programs need faculty. Of these 600+ programs, probably only 10% are at research universities where faculty are expected to do funded research.

    Lastly, not all research is statistically-based. There are qualitative studies and historical studies that need to be done, and the research methods in these areas are not statistically-oriented.
  7. by   DNP_OR
    well, if a university has a dnp program it would be a bit hypocritical to not allow those with that doctoral education to teach! i certainly would not enroll in that program at that school. i have been teaching at my university since i earned my ms...and i was recruited by the dean then. a phd education does not prepare those nurses to teach...and not all dnps do either. but a dnp is practice oriented...isn't that a plus for teaching at the undergrad level at the very least? i sure think so!
  8. by   BBFRN
    I don't think anyone here is against DNPs teaching. My understanding is that there is an expectation that more DNPs will move into faculty roles (undergrad and grad), once there are more of them out there. I thought it would be a given- especially since the DNP will be eventually be required for all NPs?

    My school (research intensive) currently has a PhD program, but is also working on forming a DNP program. One of the things faculty have been discussing with the NP & PhD students & staff, is the DNP faculty role- particularly since it is a research institution. They're looking at similar schools who already have these programs in place (such as UVA) for guidance on tenure tracks, etc.

    That's why the research vs. non-research subject came up.
  9. by   Sunflower3
    This is helpful info. I'm considering this as most schools/universities are wanting doctoral degrees for educators, not just a Masters'. This is understandable, since most other professions have doctoral-level professors, such as for pharmacy, medicine, teaching, physical therapy, etc. I believe that the lack of doctoral degreed professors for nursing is actually the shortage being discussed these days, not the lack of Master's prepared instructors.

    Thanks to everyone for their valuable input! It is appreciated!

  10. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    I think all BSN and graduate nursing programs want doctorally-prepared nurses on faculty. We use doctorally-prepared faculty for all of our nursing core and specialty classes (as well as didactic instruction for clinical courses). MSN-prepared faculty are clinical instructors. Some MSN-prepared faculty also offer 1 and 2 credit electives (a course on leadership techniques, a course on HIV/AIDS, another on resiliance, etc).

    We currently have 3 faculty openings, and we are looking for doctorally prepared nurses (either DNP or PHD). The roles, responsibilites, teaching load, and tenure-track status will depend on the candidate.
  11. by   Sunflower3
    As I'm graduating this May with my MS degree in nursing education, I am finding out that universities seem to only want Master's prepared nurses for clinical instruction. Since I want to be able to lecture instead, I now understand the need for doctoral education to meet my career goals.

    Thanks again,
  12. by   menetopali
    from what i hear from faculty at my program, schools that offer the DNP are tripping over themselves to hire DNP faculty members (at least out in the west - i can't speak for schools back east). M
  13. by   DNP_OR
    While there is still much debate on the role & value of the DNP, I think that for those nurses who really want to focus on practice issues (whether in teaching or administration or public health) it offer an eduacation that meets those needs. There are wonderful DNSc/PhD programs avaialable if research or developing new theories is your passion. Having the DNP for those of us not interested in those venues will only bring more nurses back to school, I believe. Finally, there are doctoral education programs to fit most any nurses goals. I see it as a plus, and with a bit more time I think that they nay-sayers will also see the value in this 'new' doctoral program.

    Whether having more doctorally prepared nurses available to teach at the university level is another issue totally. Without a change in nursing culture at the unit level, with managers and staff nurses open to helping educate at the bedside, then we will continue to have a building nursing shortage. We can give them the science and theory in the classroom...but without expert nurses at the bedside helping students apply thier new kowledge and skills in real world settings, and role-model nursing in the real world, we won't graduate competent novice nurses.
  14. by   marachne
    Quote from menetopali
    from what i hear from faculty at my program, schools that offer the DNP are tripping over themselves to hire DNP faculty members (at least out in the west - i can't speak for schools back east). M
    That is the experience at my university. The first DNP cohort started last year, and that was only for individuals already holding a masters-level NP. The thought for the first cohort (and possibly the first few) is to "grow our own," in terms of faculty: while there have been Master's prepared faculty particularly in the NP program, it doesn't make sense to have master's prepared faculty teaching DNP students -- so bringing NPs up to DNP gives them a pool of potential faculty (if/when this hiring freeze ends).

    One anticdotal comment about needing to do research to achieve tenure: while every institution, not to mention tenure committee is different, my dissertation chair just recently received tenure, and while she has been involved with research, she has very little where she was the PI (and therefore the source of that extra revenue). She has, however done a lot of other work: teaching, writing, committee work, development of larger education initiatives, etc. So while she was on a research track her lack of NIH awards did not stop her from getting tenure.