DNP or DNAP?

  1. Hi all,

    I need some help in the arena of which degree to pursue, DNP or DNAP? I've looked into both degree types and I'm still on the fence, or maybe just confused, on which program would be better for me in the long run. I'm currently finishing my BSN and am starting to get my list of graduate schools together to plan for visits, as well as planning on fulfilling experience and educational requirements for each. I'm well aware of what type of applicant most of these schools are looking for but I'm having a hard time figuring out which degree would be better for myself overall.

    Does anyone who either has a DNAP or DNP have any advice about their experiences of the degree and how they feel they are different from each other? I do know that DNP if arguably more recognized and is more likely to help someone gain tenure as a professor, but other than that I'm not sure if there are any other differences. I'm personally looking to be a really great CRNA and be trained thoroughly and feel confident in my skills, I have no interest in becoming a professor in the future.

    Does one degree better prepare CRNA's for practice? Or am I more likely to gain employment as a CRNA if I get a DNP degree? So many questions but any input is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
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  2. Visit Mayn0124 profile page

    About Mayn0124

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 7
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    9 Comments

  3. by   m1lkofamnesia
    As long as you pass boards...you'll be employed. High demand for CRNAs right now.
  4. by   Mayn0124
    Thank you very much for the information! That makes the decision somewhat easier to make knowing that employment with either degree is strong.
  5. by   ICUman
    4 more years until the doctorate is required.
    Until that time, Master's will be more than adequate.
  6. by   Mayn0124
    Yes, that's very true! However, most of the schools that I am primarily looking at either already have a DNP/DNAP program and no MSNA program, or they have a MSNA program and are in the process of switching over to DNP/DNAP and plan to have made that switch by the time I believe I will be ready to apply. Masters programs are not out of the question altogether, but I just want to be prepared and know all the facts between the DNP and DNAP degrees if more of those programs start transitioning before I apply.
  7. by   Bluebolt
    I'm in a DNP CRNA program. I interviewed at a DNAP program before going with my current program that is a DNP. From what I could tell there was very little difference. The largest difference would be that DNAP programs don't have to be connected to an established school of nursing. Sometimes this carries a negative stigma but as some have mentioned the market projections show a very high demand for CRNAs in the future so this shouldn't be an issue with employment.

    Another key difference is the specific requirements for your doctoral (project, thesis, capstone, whatever you want to call it). DNAP programs often have you do a large research project just like the DNP programs require but I think their regulations on it are loose. Again, some may say this is splitting hairs and if your research gets published in a scholarly journal during your third year of your program nobody will care if it was from a DNP or DNAP student.

    The last difference, you already mentioned, the potential for a future academic employer to have some problem with your degree not coming from a nursing related institution. If you're 100% positive you never want to be a professor or work in academia then this doesn't affect you. Also, you could always teach at a DNAP program which I'm sure would accept your DNAP degree.

    My only real concern as a student looking at DNAP programs is if they are connected to a medical school or residency program. Many DNAPs are not completely stand alone and will be connected with another medical institution, oftentimes a med school. The one I interviewed at was connected to a large medical training program and residency program, fellowship program, etc. In my naivete I was enamored by the large academic setting with so many medical trainees who I envisioned would be working alongside me as a team growing together. Thank God I chose the other program because once you're in training you'll realize the political firestorm that is anesthesia and how you will be purposefully relegated to second fiddle in almost any setting involving residents/fellows. I would have probably spent my entire training getting the leftover undesirable cases and struggling to get my bare minimum numbers at CVLs, PNBs, difficult intubations and complex cardiac/neuro cases. I would have also been trained mostly in an academic setting where you are trained under an MDA to be essentially handicapped in order to justify their ACT directed model of care.

    I know that last point seems unimportant at this phase in your journey because you're probably so eager to get into a program and start learning anesthesia. Trust me, it will become very important once you begin your training and you're looking at your future career and independent practice. Make sure you choose the right program.

    Good Luck!
  8. by   Mayn0124
    Wow! Thank you so much for your response! What you said was very informative and it's definitely something that I will be considering in the future. Although it will be some time before I would go into clinical training, it's important to me that I will attend a program where I will not be handicapped as far as educational opportunities and training opportunities. This was exactly the kind of information I wanted to know and is something I can research further when looking into which schools will be best for me. Once again, thank you very much for your input, it is greatly appreciated.
  9. by   Mayn0124
    Also, are you BoltSRNA from YouTube and Instagram? If so, I messaged you on Instagram about this for your Q&A video a few minutes ago.
  10. by   loveanesthesia
    Look at the structure of the curriculum and faculty. Some DNP programs will put you in courses with non anesthesia students and faculty. That can be OK but it can also be frustrating to spend a lot of time with content unrelated to anesthesia. DNAP programs are more likely to be oriented toward anesthesia. Also look at the timing for the DNP/DNAP project. Some require you to commit to a topic before you have any clinical experience. It's more meaningful to pick a topic that you are interested in.

    I absolutely agree that the major medical center programs can have low quality clinical experience. Quality clinical experiences are much more important than the degree to employers.
  11. by   Mayn0124
    Quote from loveanesthesia
    Look at the structure of the curriculum and faculty. Some DNP programs will put you in courses with non anesthesia students and faculty. That can be OK but it can also be frustrating to spend a lot of time with content unrelated to anesthesia. DNAP programs are more likely to be oriented toward anesthesia. Also look at the timing for the DNP/DNAP project. Some require you to commit to a topic before you have any clinical experience. It's more meaningful to pick a topic that you are interested in.

    I absolutely agree that the major medical center programs can have low quality clinical experience. Quality clinical experiences are much more important than the degree to employers.
    Thank you very much for your advice! Other than a program being connected with a major medical center, are there any other things I should look out for in regard to evaluating the strength of the clinical experience I would get from a certain program? Do some programs offer more clinical hours than others or have better clinical placements? When it comes to figuring out which school is for me, I want to go to a school where I know I will get quality clinical experience, quality curriculum that will challenge me, and quality hands on experience during simulation labs. So if you, or anyone else, would like to recommend any programs I should look into please let me know. Any information helps and is greatly appreciated!

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