Happy with your credentials?


Almost as if on queue, the professors of my MSN FNP/AG-ACNP program are pushing for DNP. I understand the push for terminal degrees. It looks good on paper, woo hoos, hugs, and high fives. But realistically, it will be *at least* 2 more semesters for me.

Should I delay graduation and providing for my family for another year? It seems like 10 years down the road I would be thankful for getting a terminal degree (i guess?), but the short-term seems pretty terrible. I realize there will always be an opportunity to go back to obtain the DNP, but would it be wise to just get it while my hand is on the plow?

My question for actual, practicing NPs -

1. Are you glad you got your DNP? Why?

2. Are you glad you didn't get your DNP? Why?

3. Does it really matter?! Why?

Sirl and Trauma, please leave this in this group! I want to hear from licensed NPs, not from MSN/DNP students. Thanks!


303 Posts

Has 12 years experience.

I started the DNP and stopped, but I have decided to go back and finish it. I will be doing this not because I think that having the DNP will help my career in any way, but because I was raised to always finish what I start. You will get many pro- and anti- DNP comments here. Ultimately it comes down to how YOU feel it adds value to your credentials and practice. Having a DNP makes no difference to my clinical practice, and I know that unless I plan to work in academia no employer will care whether I have a DNP or not.

You don't have to delay earning an income to provide for your family to do it. Graduate with the MSN, get an NP job, then do the DNP classes one at a time.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,231 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Personally, as a practicing APRN for 11 years, nope no need for a terminal degree unless you are planning to teach.

Editorial Team / Admin


18 Articles; 30,666 Posts

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

For me, if I had had a little hind-sight, yes, I would have obtained a doctorate. Probably would have been a PhD. And, yes, I would have ended up as a Professor somewhere which would also have been part of the hind-sight.

I support a DNP as the terminal degree for clinicians.

If you want my vote ... hand-on-plow ... push it on to the DNP.

allnurses Guide


3 Articles; 5,581 Posts

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 12 years experience.

1. Are you glad you got your DNP? Why?

I am glad I got it out of the way, it makes me more comfortable for whatever future lies ahead. The way I see it, it is never going to hurt me and may help me in some form or another down the road, either in practice or in academia.

I also "just like" having a terminal degree. There is a feeling of completion there in a job where otherwise you can never stop learning.

2. Are you glad you didn't get your DNP? Why?

I wouldn't have done it if I had to pay for it.

3. Does it really matter?! Why?

It matters but not in many significant ways. It opens doors to academia. It prepares for the future. It engages practicing NPs in a number of different ways. I think it is good for the profession moving into independent practice from a purely superficial standpoint.

Specializes in Adult Nurse Practitioner. Has 40 years experience.

I had the opportunity, but for no other reason than a degree..no thank you. If it mattered to my license/practice, then I would have...but only because I would not have had to pay for it!

Advanced Practice Columnist / Guide

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 31 years experience.

I think a doctorate can come in handy for a future role in teaching so I'm considering it but I'm in a state that doesn't offer a great selection of DNP programs that I can attend in person. I'm also considering the cost factor and don't want to spend a lot of money on a degree. I never had loans for my Master's and want to be able to do the same for DNP.

I think you should consider a few things while making your decision: where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? What are your other goals- professional @ personal? Also, for me, at least, age is a factor.

I am 53 years old & have been a nurse for 32 years; nurse practitioner for 16. I really like what I do & hope to remain in my current position for at least 5 more years, but I'm tired! If the opportunity arose, I would probably go part time. Obtaining a DNP at this point is just not something I want to put time, effort & money into. It would not help me in my current position & I would not make any more money.

You, however, may be much younger & plan to work a lot longer than I will. You may just want to bite the bullet & get it over with. Just another hoop through which you will have to jump...good luck!


446 Posts

ditto to what BeckyBrown NP just wrote.


2 Posts

The DNP was a good fit for me because I knew that I had interest in teaching and/or hospital administration in the future. Also it was a point in my life where I could dedicate the extra time to added semesters and I knew in the near future I wouldn't have time to go back for the degree.

I currently work as an FNP in family practice and I do have patients who appreciate my DNP. Other patients could care less as long as I provide quality and safe care.

I think you have to look at your end professional goals and make the decision from there!


99 Posts

I think it depends on what is important to you. If you want to work and complete it part time that is an option, but as a new NP you are going to spend much of the first years getting acclimated to your new role. So, if it is something you feel is important (DNP) then it may be best to just stay and complete it.


60 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

*Update* I wanted to Thank all of you who have responded. It appears as though it would be three additional semesters for me to obtain a DNP. At this point, I am not willing to spend that extra time in school. After considering all of the additional classes, I just don't see the clinical value in them. Again, thank you all for the input! I'm just ready "get my feet wet." I have no doubts that I will go back for a terminal degree, but at this point, I am just ready to get into practice! I appreciate all of you!