DNP or MSN? Which one? And why?

  1. I was recently accepted to a couple of direct entry programs and some of them offer a DNP now my question is should I go for the DNP or just get a regular MSN in FNP? What does the DNP offer that an MSN doesn't offer? I know that there is a difference in title which frankly I don't care so much. What are the main difference in terms of practicing I don't know what difference there are and that is why I am asking you guys at allnurses. If you can tell me the difference between these two titles I would really appreciate it.
    Thank You
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    About kevinm23

    Joined: Sep '17; Posts: 114; Likes: 18

    8 Comments

  3. by   JBMmom
    In my experience, other than a professorial position, I have not seen DNPs in practice. However, I think that those with a DNP are often drawn to the research and educations sides of nursing, and I have limited interactions in those fields. When I search open job postings in my area, I find none looking for DNP nurses, but many looking for APRNs, which is the post master's certificate many attain. And financially, a post master's APRN at one program I was looking at will be about $32K, at the same school the APRN-DNP program would be about $63K. I don't see a job field opportunity that interests me enough to invest that much.
  4. by   Oldmahubbard
    From my perspective, the DNP offers nothing at the moment, especially for a direct entry student. You would be much better off with a shorter MSN program and start actual practice sooner. The DNP is not clinically focused at all.

    When I looked into DNP programs, as an MSN graduate, they explicitly stated " this will not expand your scope of practice".

    The DNP also won't expand your income, at least not in 2018. That could change, so it may depend on your age.

    But I would get into practice with an MSN, and then wait to see what time brings.
  5. by   kevinm23
    Quote from Oldmahubbard
    From my perspective, the DNP offers nothing at the moment, especially for a direct entry student. You would be much better off with a shorter MSN program and start actual practice sooner. The DNP is not clinically focused at all.

    When I looked into DNP programs, as an MSN graduate, they explicitly stated " this will not expand your scope of practice".

    The DNP also won't expand your income, at least not in 2018. That could change, so it may depend on your age.

    But I would get into practice with an MSN, and then wait to see what time brings.
    Thank you so much for responding
  6. by   caliotter3
    Quote from JBMmom
    I don't see a job field opportunity that interests me enough to invest that much.
    This would say it for me. Look at a lot of job postings to see which ones interest you the most, and check out what the requirements are for those positions. This might help you see whether or not that DNP would be something you might want in your future.
  7. by   db2xs
    Here is my two cents' worth, and I've commented on this before:

    The DNPs I've spoken to told me that their doctoral degrees did not make them better clinicians but they offered them more opportunities and more respect at the table.

    Regarding practice, the recipient will be an advanced practice nurse so it won't really make a difference in practice, as far as I understand. Someone can correct me, please.

    As a DNP nurse, you can get an academic teaching position at a prestigious university, you can be a principal investigator for research studies. I don't know if you'll necessarily earn more money. And as per the other DNPs I spoke to, more opportunities and more respect from your MD peers.

    You should get the DNP because you want a doctoral degree. It will not improve your clinical skills, however, so keep that in mind.
  8. by   umbdude
    DNP = MSN (NP curriculum) + additional courses for the doctorate

    The MSN (NP) curriculum focuses on diagnosing and treating individuals. This is the part where you'll learn your clinical skills.

    The "doctorate" courses teach you skills that you could use to apply changes that impact a large group of individuals and healthcare systems. For example, you will learn how to analyze and critique pure research articles and other sources, then combine the evidence to determine whether or not to change your practice on a specific clinical topic; as well as how to implement change. You'll also learn things such as quality improvement, technology implementation, and healthcare policy. All these are focused on populations rather than individuals. I liken it to a MPH degree with much more nursing focus, and DNP is a terminal degree.

    DNP has its values if you think the courses suit your interests and goals. However, I do think one can get much more out of a DNP program after she/he gets at least a few years of clinical experience. The courses will be more applicable and an experienced clinician has far more clinical problems she/he can conceive of and apply changes to. One of my lab instructors was going for her doctorate with, if I remember correctly, a health policy focus. When we asked her why DNP, she said, "I want to change the world." She frequently testifies in front of local politicians to push for changes in healthcare. It's pretty inspiring.

    You can always go back and get your DNP later on. Programs make it pretty easy for post-MSN folks to get a DNP these days. For me, I doubt I would get a DNP after my MSN. At least not any time soon.
  9. by   FullGlass
    My professors, most of whom are DNPs, told us to get the MSN and start practicing. The DNP can be done part time while one is working.
  10. by   brinksta
    msn is shorter i prefer that

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