Is going straight into a DNP crazy or great?

Specialties Doctoral


Hi all,

I'm graduating with my MSN in a few months and I've been thinking about getting a DNP basically since I started my masters program. Getting a DNP has always been a given in my mind, it's going to happen, it's just an issue of when I'm going to get it; whether I should wait a few years and work or go into program more or less directly from the MSN program. I've spoken with a few of my professors, one with a Ph.D, one in the process of getting her DNP, one with a DNP already and they've all given me conflicting answers! Some say they wish they had gone on and gotten the degree straight away when they were younger and had fewer outside issues going on and were in 'school mode' and some say they were happy they waited a bit because they found out where they really wanted to work, etc.

So is it ridiculous to even consider going straight on to a DNP program from my MSN? I don't have a ton of experience: I've only been working as an RN for about a year at this point, but I've been working in mental health since I was 18 (i'm now 26) and it's where I want to be, I know that. I also know I want to teach at some point (hence the need for a doctorate) but I'm just not sure how to go about getting all it done!

That being said, do any of you have any suggestions or advice for me? Anything you wish you wish you had known before you started a DNP? Anything you wish you could have changed? Anyone in the same boat? I'm just looking for a dialogue here, I'm interested in seeing what everyone thinks and hopefully it'll help me too! Thanks!

Specializes in FNP, Surgery.

I went straight into my DNP from my MSN, and don't regret it. I think it was easier since I was already in "school mode". I think I only had 2 weeks off in between both programs. It was easy enough studying for my boards/school work at the same time. After passing my boards I started my first NP job, and worked full time and completed my DNP. I think if you know what want to do the DNP just go for it, and get it out of the way. Good luck!!

Do you really need a DNP to teach? I don't know that much about it, but I've seen job postings for adjunct profs with an MSN (these postings were for psych nursing teaching positions).

Specializes in Medical and Behavioral Health.

Go for it! Do it young and finish young! I'm facing the same thing. I'd start DNP as soon as possible because my parents told me that once you have family, older, etc, life becomes a little more constraint due to more responsibilities. And some states like masscheutes recognize doctorates than masters. Sort of the like the North where they are looking for more BSNs than ADNs.

Do it now! Like you, I always knew I'd go back once I got my BSN. It ended up being years later. In the time I spent wondering about going back, I could have just done it! I know once I complete my NP program, I'm headed straight for the DNP. Good luck!

I am practicing right now as an APN and holding off a bit on the DNP. I am not sure what I want my capstone project to be, and when I do the DNP, I want to be totally focused on that goal. Friends of mine who are in DNP programs tell me it makes a big difference when you know what you want your final project to be. I am sure that an appropriate project will make itself known to me as I work through my first years as an APN. :)

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