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PNP VS NNP

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Hi!

I wanted to know if it is possible to get my MSN as a PNP and then my DNP as an NNP. Does anyone know any colleges that do this? I know a lot of colleges have post-masters certificates in other NP specialties but I haven't seen any that give a DNP in another specialty. Any leads would be helpful!

Thanks!

LovingPeds, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Clinical Pediatrics; Maternal-Child Educator. Has 11 years experience.

There are a few colleges which offer the opportunity to enter a different advanced practice specialty in their DNP programs. These programs usually require experience in the field you wish to go into. Most PNP and NNP programs require one to two years of experience prior to acceptance. The NNP program also usually specifies experience in a higher level NICU. You would have to meet these experience requirements to be able to do both.

The University of South Alabama offers this option in their DNP program.

On 5/9/2020 at 12:22 AM, LovingPeds said:

There are a few colleges which offer the opportunity to enter a different advanced practice specialty in their DNP programs. These programs usually require experience in the field you wish to go into. Most PNP and NNP programs require one to two years of experience prior to acceptance. The NNP program also usually specifies experience in a higher level NICU. You would have to meet these experience requirements to be able to do both.

The University of South Alabama offers this option in their DNP program.

Thanks so much! This was very helpful!

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

That's interesting--I've also been going back and forth between PNP-AC and NNP, and a very small part of me is considering getting both.

I do think you may be confused about the idea of a specialty-specific DNP. The coursework for NP degrees (both MSN and DNP) is divided into three sections: the core 3 Ps (lifespan patho/pharm/physical assessment, taken by literally all NP students), the specialty-specific NP classes (I.e. Advanced Practice Neonatal Management I/II/III), and the 'Nurse Leader' classes (research, professional practice, etc.)

The things is, the coursework that grants you the DNP is pretty much separate form the coursework (either MSN or post-masters certificate) that grants you the NP qualification. It sounds like maybe you're wanting to get the NNP-DNP because you think it will allow you to progress through the degree more quickly; it probably won't.

The 'specialty-specific' coursework that prepares you to be an NP is more-or-less the same, whether you're getting your MSN, post-masters certificate, or DNP. The DNP coursework is entirely separate (I.e. statistics, leadership, final project), and its often shared between all of the specialties (I.e. adult, peds, and neonatal DNP students all take the same courses regardless of specialty).

Honestly, it will probably take the exact same amount of school to do a post-masters NNP and a separate DNP as you would getting a combined NNP-DNP. Either way, you're going to have to take all of the 'specialty-specific' classes (which would be enough to grant you a post-masters certificate) plus all of the core courses for your DNP.

I agree with @LovingPeds, you'll definitely still need recent Level III/IV NICU experience to be considered for an NNP program. That might mean continuing to work PRN as a NICU nurse while you work as a peds NP (which can get pretty dicey, since you're still held to the standards of your highest degree).

I'm a bit confused about why you'd want both? Do you have experience in both fields? For me, the only reason I've even considered doing both is because there's one particular cardiac NICU I'd love to work in, and it requires all of their physicians to have completed fellowships in both neonatology and pediatric cardiology. I figure that if I have experience as a peds cardiac NP as well as an NNP, they might hire me; however, I also bring several years of NICU and Pediatric Cardiac ICU experience to the table.

9 hours ago, adventure_rn said:

That's interesting--I've also been going back and forth between PNP-AC and NNP, and a very small part of me is considering getting both.

I do think you may be confused about the idea of a specialty-specific DNP. The coursework for NP degrees (both MSN and DNP) is divided into three sections: the core 3 Ps (lifespan patho/pharm/physical assessment, taken by literally all NP students), the specialty-specific NP classes (I.e. Advanced Practice Neonatal Management I/II/III), and the 'Nurse Leader' classes (research, professional practice, etc.)

The things is, the coursework that grants you the DNP is pretty much separate form the coursework (either MSN or post-masters certificate) that grants you the NP qualification. It sounds like maybe you're wanting to get the NNP-DNP because you think it will allow you to progress through the degree more quickly; it probably won't.

The 'specialty-specific' coursework that prepares you to be an NP is more-or-less the same, whether you're getting your MSN, post-masters certificate, or DNP. The DNP coursework is entirely separate (I.e. statistics, leadership, final project), and its often shared between all of the specialties (I.e. adult, peds, and neonatal DNP students all take the same courses regardless of specialty).

Honestly, it will probably take the exact same amount of school to do a post-masters NNP and a separate DNP as you would getting a combined NNP-DNP. Either way, you're going to have to take all of the 'specialty-specific' classes (which would be enough to grant you a post-masters certificate) plus all of the core courses for your DNP.

I agree with @LovingPeds, you'll definitely still need recent Level III/IV NICU experience to be considered for an NNP program. That might mean continuing to work PRN as a NICU nurse while you work as a peds NP (which can get pretty dicey, since you're still held to the standards of your highest degree).

I'm a bit confused about why you'd want both? Do you have experience in both fields? For me, the only reason I've even considered doing both is because there's one particular cardiac NICU I'd love to work in, and it requires all of their physicians to have completed fellowships in both neonatology and pediatric cardiology. I figure that if I have experience as a peds cardiac NP as well as an NNP, they might hire me; however, I also bring several years of NICU and Pediatric Cardiac ICU experience to the table.

WOW!! This was super super informative! Thank you!

The reason I would want to do a dual specialty is so I can work in both the NICU and Peds environments.

Thank you for this response tho!

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

47 minutes ago, lr1123 said:

WOW! This was super super informative! Thank you!

The reason I would want to do a dual specialty is so I can work in both the NICU and Peds environments.

Thank you for this response tho!

No problem.

The tricky thing about getting both is that it would be really hard to maintain your competency. You'd effectively have to work full-time in peds to get comfortable, then as soon as you get your NNP you'd have to work full-time in NICU while simultaneously working part-time in peds. At pretty much any given time, you'd probably have to be working at least part-time in both specialties to keep your competency current.

Otherwise, if you've been away from one specialty or the other for long enough, you might have a hard time getting a job (for instance, it probably isn't realistic to do peds for four years, then just jump back into a NICU). You'd also have to maintain an adequate number of practice hours in each specialty to maintain your licenses, as well.

There are a handful of practice settings where you might be able to claim that you're getting overlapping practice hours (Special Infant Care Clinics, inpatient intermediate/transitional care nurseries, etc.) but it would be a bit limiting.

I could be wrong, but it sounds like a challenge. It definitely isn't as easy as maintaining a dual Acute Care PNP and Primary Care PNP, where there are practice areas that easily overlap (like specialty outpatient clinics).

LovingPeds, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Clinical Pediatrics; Maternal-Child Educator. Has 11 years experience.

A PNP can work NICU, but it is extremely rare. Most prefer (and with good reason) to hire NNPs to care for their critical babies. Most PNPs if hired will work more with 'feeder/grower' babies and well-baby. In areas were NNPs are rare or unavailable, a PNP may be hired to work NICU even though the scope of practice there is crossing over more toward NNP. For instance, I recently saw a job opportunity in rural Alaska looking for a PNP to work with pediatrics, their NICU, and the well-baby nursery. As an acute care NP, I learned a lot of what NNPs will do - art line/PICC line insertion, lumbar puncture, vent management, similar diagnostic evaluation, etc. However, there is gray-area there. My scope is from birth until 21 years. Even though a 28 weeker is technically within scope after birth, they still would receive more specialized care from someone who only works with premature infants. Just as the kiddos I work with get more specialized care from me only doing pediatrics than someone who may do more rounded family care.

I've only known one nurse to complete both degrees. She works NICU and uses well-baby and teaching to count toward her pediatric practice. She just as easily could have done NNP and been done. She probably would have if she had not received her PNP first. You have to keep up with different continuing education requirements for each degree and you have to pay for two different certification renewals with each re-cert. Most PNPs will re-certify annually because that's what the PNCB requires. I'm not familiar with the NNP re-certification requirements, but I know as far as the continuing education hours it's similar.