CONFUSED about the DNP! Help!

  1. I am a second-degree BSN student with an anticipated graduation date some time in 2011. When I started this whole process, I was convinced that I wanted to become a nurse practitioner...

    I am very confused as to the status of the DNP and how/if it will affect me. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there, and I can't find a concrete source anywhere...

    At this point, is the DNP still a recommendation or is it going to be an absolute requirement in 2015?

    I want to get in before the DNP becomes a requirement. I'm not saying that I wouldn't want to get the degree, but I'd like to get a master's and THEN have the option to get the degree...
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    About SnoopysAunt

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 70; Likes: 16


  3. by   SnoopysAunt
    Anyone know something? Or do the lack of responses give me an answer that nobody knows anything...
  4. by   ghillbert
    Lack of responses probably related to the fact that there are any number of threads about the DNP already.
  5. by   juan de la cruz
    As of this writing, there is no official announcement that all NP programs are to be offered at the DNP level by 2015. Both AACN and NONPF websites allude to the year 2015 as the recommended timeframe for the DNP transition. For this to become an absolute requirement, you have to realize that many entities need to be in unison as far as implementing this transition. One, Boards of Nursing across all states will have to require that new applicants for NP licensure or certification be granted only to those who have a DNP after 2015. Second, national certification boards such as ANCC, AANP, PNCB, and NCC will have to revise their requirements to state that master's prepared NP's will no longer be allowed to sit for initial certification after 2015.

    The year 2015 is still six years away but it is definitely not unthinkable that things will change wherein all the entities involved in the practice of nurse practitioners will agree in making this proposed deadline a reality. The DNP idea was started by nurse leaders in the academia. These folks surely have a lot of control over what kind of NP programs are offered to the public. By the looks of it, many institutions have begun DNP programs and some have actually made announcements in phasing out their master's degrees in favor of accepting only DNP students by a certain time frame much earlier than 2015. If the nurse practitioner licensing boards both at the state and national level do not jump into this bandwagon by 2015, I can foresee that at the very least, many applicants to NP programs will see a scarcity of NP programs that are still offered at the master's level.

    What does this mean as far as your plans? If you are able to find a master's degree granting instutution for your NP prgram in 2011 with an expected graduation date before 2015, then I think it is safe to say that you'll be OK. If your degree completion drags on to the point where you may have to graduate after 2015, then the institution you are attending should advise you on what to do in order to practice as a nurse practititoner given the rules that will be currently imposed at that future time.

    Not a straight answer, I know, but you should already know that about nursing, right?
  6. by   SnoopysAunt
    Thanks Gilly! You have given me more of a straight answer than anyone else I have communicated with!! I live in MD and pretty much my only choices for graduate education are Hopkins or Maryland. I've called both schools and they have flat out told me that they don't know...
  7. by   frankyfern22

    I think you might as well get the DNP. From what I've seen in my area, all the universities and colleges are jumping on the DNP program like white on rice, and this is late for them they say. I don't see why other schools wouldn't join in. This would also give you and edge in the long run. Physical Therapy's corner stone used to be Masters and now the DPT exsits. Yes, they both are still equally qualified to practice, but why not go all the way?

    Some colleges might, and probably, have a masters to DNP program, allowing you to bow out with a masters and either continue with the DNP or keep the masters and peace out! That'd be a good bet. Get it over with, get the DNP before it's mandated and you're cozy with your masters ;-) Then again, who knows how long it'll be before it's mandated, they can't even mandate a BSN!!!! HAHA...good luck with whatever you choose!!!
  8. by   TiniHealer BSN
    I am glad this question was asked, because I am in the same boat. I am in the middle of debating whether or not I should go to a NP program or a DNP. I also want to work as an NP. Alas, I am still confused about the TITLE of a DNP?! Can I get a DNP and still work as a Family Nurse Pracitioner? If anyone has further elaboration on this, I will be greatly thankful.

    P.s. I'm sorry if I just restated the same question asked earlier. I am just so confused!
  9. by   Circejane
    DNP is a degree title, like MSN or BSN or PhD. It does not stand for Nurse Practitioner, it stands for Doctor of Nursing Practice. You would still be an FNP, ANP, whatever, designating your specialty. You would have a DNP degree.
  10. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    Circe is correct.

    People often get confused about the differences between academic degrees (BSN, MSN, PHD, DNP, etc), certifications (CNS, NP, CCRN, CRNA, CEN, etc), and licensures.

    Degrees are granted by colleges and universities.
    Certifications are granted by accreditation agencies (ANCC, AACN, etc)
    Licensures generally come from State Boards of Nursing.

    To be eligible to sit for an Advanced Practice Nurse certification examination, you need to have completed a specialty program from a program that is accredited by NLN or CCNE. These specialty programs are done at the MSN, Post-MSN, and DNP levels. At present (September 2009), you can enter into Advanced Practice with a MSN degree.

    The American Association of Colleges of Nuring (AACN) has called that entry into Advanced Practice require a doctoral degree by 2015. Some Universities have already made this transition and have eliminiated the MSN programs. Other Univerisities are maintaining their MSN programs for now. Other universities have no intention of opening a DNP program and hope the 2015 call from AACN is dropped (or goes the way of the 1965 call that new nurses would need a BSN to be able to sit for the NCLEX -- clearly that call on 'entry to practice' never came to fruition).

    IMO, with 100+ schools enrolling students in the DNP degree, I think a achange will happen at some time in the future. When I counsel students, I ask them how long they intend to practice. If you intend to be an advanced practice nurse beyond 2020 (or so), I would encourage you to seriously consider a DNP program. There are two primary reasons for this: (1) pretend you are a patient looking for a primary care NP. Person 1 has a MSN degree, Person 2 has a doctoral degree and has published in his/her field. Who would you select as your practitioner. (2) You are the hiring official for your agency. You have two finalists -- one with a MSN, and one with a DNP. Who might you hire? Because of these two market forces, I think that APNs who practice beyond 2020 or so would seriously want to consider the higher degree.

    There are not many BSN-DNP programs today. But there are more each year. Assuming you want to eventually get the DNP, you can decide to go for the full BSN-DNP program now (3-4 years fulltime), or do it in two steps (2 yrs to MSN, 2 more years to DNP).
  11. by   TiniHealer BSN
    Oh thank you so much!

    People like you guys, make the world a better place. Things are much clearer to me now.

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!
  12. by   SnoopysAunt
    Thank you, UVA. Do you know when or if a decision could be made? Is there any progress into making a definite decision?!
  13. by   UVA Grad Nursing

    The 300+ graduate nursing programs in the US are examining this issue at their own campuses and at their own pace. You've heard the analogy about herding cats --- now imagine herding cats in 300+ corrals at the same time!

    At my own institution with state-mandated budget cuts for the past 2 years (and likelihood of more cuts in 2010 and 2011), our faculty are not rushing into expanding program offerings. We've put one specialty MSN program on hiatus because of low enrollments. We're not in a position to launch a 10 new BSN-DNP program options while budgets are shrinking. As an indication of budget cutbacks, the local ADN program has eliminated 20 spaces in this year's class because of budget cuts from the Commonwealth.

    I realize that this makes it tough for you and other BSN-prepared RNs to plan for what the post-2015 landscape in nursing education will look like. But I feel that Schools of Nursing across the country are now focusing on next semester and next year right now. There are 'bigger fish to fry' right now than the 2015 deadline.