MSN vs DNP

  1. Hello everyone,

    I was lucky enough to be accepted to a MSN CRNA program which starts next year. I'm still waiting to hear back from one more school, which happens to be a DNP program. I'm sure other people have been in this situation so I was just looking for some insight regarding how to go about picking a program, if I am in fact accepted into the DNP program. I'm sure the standard of practice for CRNAs will transition exclusively to DNP/DNAP in the future however that is not the case as of yet. If I were to go the MSN route, I'm sure I can get an employer to pay for the DNP portion once I am working.

    A little info about the programs:
    MSN Program- Tuition is on the cheaper side, 28 months long, small college, good range of clinical sites

    DNP Program- Very expensive! (about 3x as much as the tuition of the MSN program), 36 months long, great clinical sites, very large University in a very large city, great weather all year long

    My first choice is the DNP program, but I don't know if I would be making a wise decision given what I've listed above. Any advice would be very much appreciated!
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    About TBLV4

    Joined: Feb '15; Posts: 12

    7 Comments

  3. by   m1lkofamnesia
    My $0.02 and why I chose MSN...you're grandfathered into the career as an MSN CRNA. You're earning money 8 months sooner than you would doing a DNP (so, say your salary is 160k annually...that's over $100k earned in 8 months that you'd be missing out on doing the DNP). There are so many schools that let you do your DNP online! You can work on it part-time while working and earning $ to pay off those loans. I consider myself a financially-savvy person, and this was the main driver for me--I want to be back working ASAP.

    Do either of the schools share clinical sites with anesthesiology residents? Another thing to consider as well. I'm glad my school does not have an anesthesiology residency program because all of the SRNAs get to do any case they want at their clinical sites since there's no competition
  4. by   ICUman
    Tuition = triple the amount?
    That alone is enough to choose the MSN.
  5. by   buspar
    MSN !
  6. by   TBLV4
    Quote from m1lkofamnesia
    My $0.02 and why I chose MSN...you're grandfathered into the career as an MSN CRNA. You're earning money 8 months sooner than you would doing a DNP (so, say your salary is 160k annually...that's over $100k earned in 8 months that you'd be missing out on doing the DNP). There are so many schools that let you do your DNP online! You can work on it part-time while working and earning $ to pay off those loans. I consider myself a financially-savvy person, and this was the main driver for me--I want to be back working ASAP.

    Do either of the schools share clinical sites with anesthesiology residents? Another thing to consider as well. I'm glad my school does not have an anesthesiology residency program because all of the SRNAs get to do any case they want at their clinical sites since there's no competition
    Great point! It really hits home when you realize how much money you could be saving and earning when you go with the MSN route.

    I'm not sure about the MSN program but I believe the DNP program shares some clinical sites with residents.
  7. by   Bluebolt
    I would always choose the degree standard that a career is in the process of transitioning to and not the lesser degree that previously was the standard for practice.

    I can't even quantify the number of CRNAs who find out I'm working on my DNP during clinicals who say they are planning to go back but just can't imagine enrolling in school and being a student again. CRNA school is grueling whether it is the MSN or DNP and people who have been out of CRNA school for years still seem to have PTSD at the thought of being a student and writing papers, doing research, etc. From what I'm witnessing from the sidelines there is a great desire to have the new standard education but not the stamina to enroll and complete the work. The other response you will see is a defensiveness and insecurity that doesn't come off well, don't be that person.

    Another big deciding factor for the DNP for myself was the fact that I wanted my CRNA program to be doctoral, meaning my program is a minimum of 3 years. This gives you the time to learn and become educated as a CRNA over three years of time, growing into this new professional healthcare provider role. Physicians spend 4 years in residency learning to become an anesthesia provider and as I'm completing my 2nd year, I think it does help having 3 years.

    The third aspect is one a commenter mentioned earlier. I have some friends who chose an MSN program with the idea to immediately enroll into an MSN-DNP program after graduation and do their research work online while working. It may be cheaper (depending on which programs you're looking at) but there is a big disadvantage to that. That year or so of your DNP will be a full load of research, healthcare economics, statistics, epidemiology, healthcare technology, etc type classes. In a DNP program, they will add a class or two in on each semester of CRNA school to space these out so you aren't completely overwhelmed and burnt out on this type of work. It's a lot of reading, writing, research, discussion forums, research symposiums, group projects and trying to get published. I would lose my mind if you gave me an entire year of full-time coursework of these theory/research/impractical type academic courses. You'll be citing your dreams in appropriate APA format.

    The fact that the DNP you're looking at is three times the cost of the MSN is odd. You should choose a different DNP CRNA program, one that is more reasonably priced around $90,000 tuition and make sure it isn't connected to any anesthesia residency.

    Either way, good luck in CRNA school.
  8. by   james11417
    Take the program which finishes earlier. You will be grandfathered in so it will not matter at all unless you want to go into teaching, but then you will just be able to do your DNP/DNAP online. I know a few with masters who are taking their doctorate online at Texas Wesleyan or VCU, schools like that. I work at NYC in a top hospital, and our Chief CRNA only has a bachelors with a certificate, so you will be fine with a masters.

    I got into a DNP and 2 MSN programs, and I chose the MSN.
  9. by   ProgressiveThinking
    MSN. You earn money sooner and you're going to be paying less student loan $ back. Afterwards you can go to a school like Touro University which allows you to complete the DNP online in 1 year for $16,000. It's busy, but doable. My plan is to enroll in their DNP program right around the time I start working as a CRNA. Continuing to be a student will allow me to defer student loan payments, so instead of making my loan payment ill just put it towards tuition and pay for the DNP out of pocket. This means less in overall loans AND compound interest from a larger loan balance.

    I may want to teach one day (who knows?), but I'm specifically going for the DNP instead of DNAP because schools in my area have professors who all have their DNP or EdD and I hear some school don't recognize the DNAP yet. I'm sure it won't matter in the future though. Also, Post-MSN DNAP programs all seem to be 2+ years, and some require additional science courses and I think my MSNA program has covered more than enough science.

    However, if you can find a cheaper BSN-DNP program that goes straight through and is cheaper than the accumulative cost of your MSN program and the DNP program you wish to matriculate at then by all means pursue it.
    Last edit by ProgressiveThinking on Mar 29

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