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DNP vs. CRNA School


I am 4 days deep into my BSN program. Today we had a guest speaker come and speak with us about the history and philosophy behind the health care profession. The lecture turned into one of present times and the guest speaker focused on the importance of getting graduate level degrees in this day and age.

The speaker said in order to be a CRNA, NP, or a Mid Wife, one must go to DNP school and that the program length is approx. 4.5 years. From what I understand, CRNA school is generally a two year program (depending on the facility), and is a masters level of education.

My question is, what is a DNP? Do they hold the title of "Doctor"? Are accredited CRNA schools changing their requirements?

Thank you and I look forward to your responses!


Specializes in Anesthesia: Peds, General, ENT, Trauma. Has 7 years experience.

DNP is a Doctor of Nursing Practice. One of several titles still being throw out as possibly being required of all advanced practice nurses soon.

Currently there are Master's level CRNA programs and programs that offer a Doctoral degree in Nurse Anesthesia.

Probably soon all programs will be going the way of the DNP / DNAP or some other "Doctoral" degree for nurse anesthesia.

Most master's level programs in Nurse Anesthesia are 24-30 months in length. I don't know the average, but seems most programs I have looked at are 27 or 30 months long.

I know one program offering a DNAP in nurse anesthesia that is 36 months long.

It may take 4.5 years for an NP or CNS program to get enough credits to earn a doctoral degree, but most anesthesia programs are really close already. Very tightly packed, one of the reasons the programs are so rigorous.

I start this fall in a 30 month long Master's program.

In the near future I expect the decisions to be made and most programs will only offer a "Doctoral" level degree, but I'm completely up to date on the situation.

Hope this helps some.


Specializes in CRNA.

All Advanced Practice Nursing programs must award the DNP by 2015 as mandated by CCNE, the accrediting body for the majority of graduate nursing programs. There is another accrediting option for graduate nursing programs, NLNAC so the jury is out whether all advanced practice nursing will be at the DNP level. About half of nurse anesthesia programs award graduate degrees other than nursing, so they are not held to the nursing accrediting body requirements. It looks like the COA-specialized accrediting body for all nurse anesthesia programs, nursing or non-nursing- will be mandating the clinical doctorate by 2025. The speaker is off on the time frame in my opinion. I think the DNP will take a similiar period of time as a PharmD, or a DPT, about 3 years. At least that's the way it should be, some nursing leaders get a little crazy and would probably design a 4.5 year program.

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