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Any value in getting NP *and* PhD?


Hi everyone, I am interested in research and teaching so I'm applying to pursue a PhD in nursing. However, is it practical to also pursue an NP, in terms of ensuring marketability? I know there is a nursing faculty shortage, but NPs are also in high demand... And I'm actually really interested in continuing to practice clinically as well as teach/research. (I've been over the "well, what is your passion?" and "what do you think your purpose is?" and "what would make you most happy?" and those questions are not helpful at this point.)

Secondly, if I do an NP and a PhD, should I start by getting board certified and practicing as an NP for a few years, and then look for a teaching position? Or can I just get the NP coursework done, go teach for a while, and then get board certified to practice as an NP when I want to? How intensive or difficult would it be to maintain an FNP certification while working only part time or PRN, if I'm also teaching part time or full time?

Thanks for any/all thoughts.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I've known people who have done both. There is nothing wrong with that. You'd just have spent a lot of time, effort, and money to become really well educated. If that is what will make you happy, there is no reason not to do it.

The people I have known are people who got the NP as MSN's. They practiced as NP's a while and then went back for a PhD. Lots of people did that in the olden days before the DNP was developed. That's how most professors in NP programs were educated. One reason the DNP was developed was to shorten the path for people who wanted to be doctorally-prepared NP's and teach or do research. But if the DNP doesn't satisfy you, you can still do the combo.

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care. Has 27 years experience.

It's certainly not unheard of. A few faculty members in NP programs I know are NP's with a PhD. Their career trajectory started with being a practicing NP first then going back for a PhD. I have to agree with llg that nowadays, many NP's seem to pursue a post-master's DNP as it's shorter and is more aligned with a goal of still being able to practice as an NP while attending school and after. The accreditation bodies (AACN for one) require NP program directors to maintain NP certification for the specific NP track they oversee.

One thing I hear is that NP/PhD faculty members tend to have research track positions as faculty members and the push to be more active as a faculty researcher tends to take up more of their time to the point of not being able to have a current NP practice. Recently, ANCC changed their recertification requirements so that NP's who do not satisfy the clinical practice requirement can still recertify using other criteria. This is a move by ANCC to make it possible for NP/PhD's who are solely in academia to still maintain NP certification.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 12 years experience.

Yes, there were quite a few PhD/NP teachers in my graduate program. For the most part it seemed that they did per diem or very part time somewhere else to keep up their clinical skills. I imagine some specialties are easier than others to get this kind of gig; certainly a NNP doing per diem is very doable.

The caveat (at least for a NNP) would be that if that was your only clinical job, the employer would most likely want you to be very experienced since you wouldn't have much opportunity to practice clinical skills which are very important to the role, like knowing how to intubate.