Rehashing the 2015 DNP Requirement Debate

Posted
by Stud_martin Stud_martin Member Nurse

Has 5 years experience.

So I've been doing a lot of searching through the old threads regarding the "mandated" or "suggested" transition to DNP being the requirement starting in 2015. Regrettably the newest posts I could find were from 2012/2013, and most were years older than that.

So, what's the most recent word on the topic? I'm looking to start applying to some programs starting summer/fall 2015 and am curious as to what I can expect.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

Many schools are switching their MSN programs to DNP programs and that is obviously the direction for the future, but there is still no requirement for NPs, CNMs, or CNSs. The CRNA group is the only group that has really embraced the DNP, and their target date (for DNP becoming mandatory) is 2025, not 2015.

Stud_martin

Stud_martin

Has 5 years experience. 19 Posts

Thank you for the reply. Just to take the clarity one step further... If I, or anyone else, enrolled into a masters NP program that started in 2015 and graduated in say 2018, there shouldn't be anything to worry about?

elkpark

14,633 Posts

It remains to be seen what may happen in terms of marketability/competitiveness as increasing numbers of DNP-prepared individuals enter practice (and if that will even be perceived by employers as a significant advantage over MSN-prepared people), but, in terms of certification/licensing, until something else happens, there are no concerns.

The road to a DNP, especially from a BSN, is a long one, and it can be expensive -- over $100,000 at some of the elite private schools. If you're trying to work and go to school part time it will take up to five years to complete; if you have the luxury of being able to go full time it will take about three. It will be interesting to see what the attrition rates are over time for these programs. One reputable bricks-and-mortar school that I'm familiar with dropped their MSN-NP programs a couple of years ago, but they're seriously considering bringing them back. Enrollment in their DNP program has just not lived up to their expectations, and they can't justify the faculty expense (all DNPs or PhDs) for such a small group of students.

Palliative Care, DNP

Palliative Care, DNP

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. 781 Posts

I am in a BSN to DNP program. Out of 40 people that began this cohort only 11 were left this summer. We are scheduled to graduate May 2015 but I'm not thinking 11 of us will be there.

Adenium

Adenium

132 Posts

My school was one of those that went to DNP-only and ended up switching back - there's just not enough interest as it means more time and money spent getting the degree, but no better clinical preparation or difference in pay. When I went looking for jobs, no employer seemed to know anything about DNP vs MSN or to care what degree I had. They were only concerned with employment background and clinical preparation, along with (obviously) my licensing status as an APRN.

The only thing that gives me pause is that I'd like to teach one day, preferably at the graduate level. That will require a doctorate, and I'd thus be excluded. But that would be well down the road, after I'm experienced, and if I need a DNP at that point I'll look at the reimbursement options. I also think I'd be better prepared for the research projects involved once I've been in practice. If I were to do it now, I'd have no idea what direction to go. How can I have an area of practice I'd passionately like to improve before I've actually been a practitioner? I'm sure I could do it, but it'd be a long arduous road and I need to be certain where it will take me first.

I'd suggest identifying where you'd like to work, and talk to some folks in those places or shadow. Find out what they're looking for in hiring, now and into the future. Also talk to program directors at schools you're interested in, and see if they have plans to switch. However, if you start an MSN program they shouldn't be able to change the rules partway through the process.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

The only thing that gives me pause is that I'd like to teach one day, preferably at the graduate level. That will require a doctorate, and I'd thus be excluded. But that would be well down the road, after I'm experienced, and if I need a DNP at that point I'll look at the reimbursement options.

Be careful about a DNP if your goal is academia. Some schools are considering DNPs to be equivalent to a PhD, some are not. At the last BSN program in which I taught, the university (a reputable state uni, nothing fancy or esp. prestigious) had already decided that a DNP would not "count" for tenure track positions, Faculty Senate voting privileges, etc., and individuals with DNPs would be in the same category as MSN-prepared faculty in terms of privileges, tenure, etc. Only a PhD would count as a "real" doctorate. Some schools are taking that position, some are considering all doctorates to be equivalent for faculty purposes ... Just depends on the individual school.

Adenium

Adenium

132 Posts

Good point elkpark. I have heard of that happening with some schools - my own happens to view PhD and DNP as adequate. My MSN professors were required to get the DNP if they didn't have it already.

babyNP.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 14 years experience. 1,920 Posts

My understanding is that the only way for DNPs to be "required" for practice are:

1. State BON requiring it for licensure. Unlikely...some states do not even require a master's (just a certificate, although most are grandfathered in)

2. Congress requires it. Unlikely...due to the expanding coverage of Americans with healthcare insurance and not enough providers to care for them all.

3. Every school in the USA only offers DNP, no MSN anymore. This is probably what is most likely to happen, eventually, but will take many years and again many more years until people with "just" a masters retires.

Overall, I think that if you're young enough, you might as well go for it, although it wouldn't hurt to do the masters first and then complete the DNP at your own pace later in practice. I have not been very impressed with many DNP programs in expanding hard theory content as it relates to their chosen specialty, but more leadership and projects type roles.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

My understanding is that the only way for DNPs to be "required" for practice are:

1. State BON requiring it for licensure. Unlikely...some states do not even require a master's (just a certificate, although most are grandfathered in)

2. Congress requires it. Unlikely...due to the expanding coverage of Americans with healthcare insurance and not enough providers to care for them all.

3. Every school in the USA only offers DNP, no MSN anymore. This is probably what is most likely to happen, eventually, but will take many years and again many more years until people with "just" a masters retires.

Actually, no; there's another option: the national certifying bodies start requiring DNPs for certification. AFAIK, most-if-not-all state BONs require that you be nationally certified (as an FNP, CRNA, CNS, whatever) to be eligible for state licensure as such. If the national organizations started requiring it, then it would be up to the states to choose to change their rules to no longer require national certification in order for MSN grads to get licensed (which probably wouldn't happen).

So far, though, the only national certifying group that has embraced the DNP-mandatory idea is the CRNA group.

babyNP.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 14 years experience. 1,920 Posts

I'll do you one better ;) not all states require certification. California is one of them.