To tell or not to tell employer about pursuing DNP?

Specialties Doctoral


Hello everyone,

I recently graduated with my FNP degree but will be starting slowly on my DNP this coming fall. I am looking for employment as a Nurse Practitioner in my area to work full time while continuing on with my education, but also know for my DNP program that I may need time off for on campus seminars, orientation etc. I have heard mixed reviews about whether to tell your employer you are pursuing this degree, since there are alot of mixed feelings about it voiced by other professions..i.e. MDs etc. Although I have not found a job yet, I am trying to decide if it is wise to mention I am continuing my education during the interview process etc. Many of my fellow classmates have said they do not believe it is a good idea to tell, but I want to feel I can be open and honest about it. I plan to work in the outpatient setting for quite some time; possibly teach down the road, but mostly pursuing it for my own personal and professional growth.

For other DNP students out there, did you mention you were continuing your education? what kind of response did you get?


Specializes in FNP, Surgery.

I was in the middle of my DNP program when I interviewed and accepted my first position as a NP. The neurosurgeon I worked with was supportive and proud I was completing my doctorate. The surgeon and entire office even threw me a graduation party when I completed my DNP program. He worked with my schedule for class/clinicals and gave me the time off I needed. He did not take the time I needed off from my vacation/continuing education time either. I am now a travel nurse practitioner and have worked with many physicians of various specialties all over the nation. I have been pleasantly suprised how the physicians I work with have been respectful and supportive of me having a DNP. They ask questions and what to know more about the degree. I have yet to come across a physician who has had something negative to say. Unfortunately, the most negative comments/criticism regarding the DNP have come from fellow nurses. Good luck and be proud of the fact you are working towards a doctorate degree!!

Specializes in family nurse practitioner.

Congrats Anny08 on furthering your education :). Good for you. I'm not a DNP student but I would probably feel out the situation before telling an employer. One of my preceptors said that she would not have been hired at her current job had she told them she was pursuing her DNP. I know that is an isolated situation but it does happen. Best wishes with school and with your new career. Very exciting :)

I would not tell.

Specializes in FNP, ONP.

I think you should, and proudly.

For one thing, you might get some tuition reimbursement. For another, you will likely need time off and may have to implement your capstone where you work. Lastly, ask yourself if you want to work with people who would not be supportive of something that is important to you for you personal and professional growth?

I told everyone I interviewed with that I was halfway through my DNP. I immediately removed from consideration anyplace that was not enthusiastically supportive. I even disregarded the indifferent people! I wanted respect, support, and encouragement. I got it because I demanded it for myself. You deserve nothing less!

FWIW, the docs in my office refer to me as "one of our Nurse Practitioners, Dr. Devil" to patients. Using the "Dr." title was not an issue for me when job hunting, and most people call me Blue. Some people call me Dr. Blue, lol. When introducing myself, I say "I'm Blue Devil, I'm a nurse practitioner." I only mention it because it is a frequently debated topic here, but IRL is not much of an issue.

Be forthcoming and don't settle! Good luck.

Specializes in ICU, CV-Thoracic Sx, Internal Medicine.

I would not.

Employers may wonder how outside responsibilities affect your work productivity.

Life being diverse by nature, you are going to find every type of response.

I am a board certified FNP going for another postmasters in CNM and reaching toward either DNP or DNEd.

Even for part time positions, I have experienced potential employers not desiring to take me because they expected me to have little free time or extra time and/or because some felt I would be too stressed to perform well.

I perceived this as a kind of support actually - that these employers supported me giving my focus to my degree.

But of course, one still needs to keep a roof over the head and feed the kids!

So, as one of you mentioned, feeling out potential employers, not only for their opinions regarding hiring an advanced degree student, but also regarding how much they expect of you as an employee is a piece of the job search process.

Best of everything to you ... with school and job!

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