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DNP and Phd?


Does it make sense to pursue a DNP and Phd? I Would like to work as a clinician for quite a while, but I ultimately see myself as a nurse educator, and working in administration at a University, and/or doing research. Would a DNP all me to do this, or would a Phd in the field help me substantially?

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

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

The separate paths for DNP and PhD have created a new dichotomy in doctoral education for nurses where DNP grads are expected to be practitioners in all types of areas (clinical arena, management, education) using evidence from research and applying it in their practice. The training culminates in a Capstone Project that allows the future doctorally-educated nurse to apply learned concepts in specific areas of interest to improve nursing practice. PhD's retain the heavy research focus and contribution to the development of nursing science with a requirement for dissertation in the end. PhD programs are longer (4-6 years) compared to DNP (3-4 years if done after BSN).

Having said that, this "ideal situation" does not always happen in real life. I have 2 colleagues who are NP's with DNP's who are also in academia in a tenure track position as Associate Professors at a smaller state university albeit not the research intensive type. You can certainly work in a clinical capacity with a DNP (i.e., as an Advanced Practice Nurse) or as a Nurse Manager but if your goal is to make it far in academia doing original research with an eye for future promotion, I think it is a safe bet to pursue a PhD for that purpose.

Also be aware that I have seen a few combined DNP/PhD program (likely will take as long as a traditional PhD and more) and depending on how successful these programs are, some schools may follow in that direction. Have a look at these:

Dual Doctorate DNP/PhD in Nursing: FPB School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University


meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 44 years experience.

Excellent post Juan!

Excellent post Juan!

Yes very good post

Personally I would never sit foot in an office that only had Nurse Practictioner or a DNP as the head person there.

I see this new DNP going away in the future, better get it now why you can....