The Groundswell Toward Full Practice Authority For Nps Makes The Push For A 2025 Dnp Migration Imperative
Arguing for the DNP presents something of a double-edged sword for NP advocates. While its difficult to argue that more training and more clinical education arent a good thing for anyone in the medical field, NPs and other APRNs have already been fighting to establish themselves as being well-qualified to practice and prescribe independently with nothing more than an MSN.
While requiring a DNP for licensure obviously answers this argument, if the initiative doesnt succeed it could provide ammunition for entities such as the AMA who seek to restrict APRN practice authority. If NPs themselves believe the role needs a higher education requirement, it tends to work against the argument for independent practice authority, and boosts the AMA position that NPs should only function under MD supervision.
If the push to move to a DNP as standard fails again, it may only reinforce the perception that independent practice for NPs should continue to be restricted.
The argument works in the other direction as well though. For the additional education a DNP offers to have any practical advantages, NPs would have to be allowed to put it to use in the field by being granted independent practice authority as a matter of course. Many states still restrict NP practice authority to levels below their capabilities when they come out of MSN programs, so proactively moving to the DNP standard could be the very thing that convinces state law makers to authorize that expanded practice authority.
How Dnps Help Address The Critical Shortage Of Nurses
NPs with a DNP play a pivotal role in the education of future nurse generations a need that is especially critical in light of the widening gap between the supply and demand for skilled nursing professionals. Among the reasons cited for the growing shortage of nurses are an aging population that increases demand for health care services and an aging nursing workforce in positions that will be difficult to fill as experienced nurses retire.
The American Nurses Association highlights the negative impact the nursing shortage continues to have on the delivery of health care. The sufficient staffing of qualified nurses reduces mortality rates, shortens patient stays, and minimizes falls and nosocomial illnesses. To combat the shortage of nurses, the ANA recommends that nurses practice to the full extent of their education, training, and licensure and that they achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
The DNP provides NPs with the skills they will need to ensure patients and communities receive the highest quality of health care possible, in a timely and cost-effective manner. For example, the ability to analyze patient data provides hospitals with greater flexibility in staffing to ensure nursing resources are applied when and where they are needed most.
What Degrees Do I Need
Before you pursue a masters or doctoral degree, youll need an RN-level nursing degree. You can apply to an MSN program if you already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing . You can also apply to special MSN programs known as bridge programs if you have an Associate Degree in Nursing . In either case, youll need to meet the requirements of your desired MSN program. In many cases, this means youll need to have an active RN license in good standing. Some programs will also ask that you have some professional experience working as an RN.
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Pass Your Cnp/crna/cnm Certification Exam
After earning your graduate degree, youll need to take a national certification exam for your area of practice. This exam will depend on whether you become an NP, CRNA, or CNM. For CNPs, nurses choose a population specialty, so the board exams cover general knowledge as well as population-specific information.
Q: If A Masters Degree Will Get Me Aprn Licensure Why Get A Dnp Too
We wont lie masters degrees are generally cheaper than doctorates. However, if youre coming out of a bachelors program, take a good hard look at the DNP. The AACN is pushing for all entry-level APRN programs to transition from MSNs to DNPs. In addition, the degree is only 1-2 years longer than a traditional masters program and has a great deal of tangible career benefits. By earning a practice-based doctoral degree, you will be in an excellent position to apply for well-paid jobs. Youll also have the highest qualification in your area. We cover this topic in our guide to the differences between the DNP and an NP.
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Open Doors To New Opportunities With A Dnp Degree
Many nurses see a doctorate as the next step in their nursing career. A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree will allow you to become a nurse leader that is able to achieve new levels of understanding, expertise, and recognition.
When you choose Franklin University for your DNP degree we provide two paths that prepare you for both clinical and nonclinical advanced nursing rolesone in family practice and one in leadership. Through our innovative curriculum and built-in practicum courses, you will gain both theoretical understanding and practical experience in advanced practice nursing.
See how our online Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees can help you advance your career to new heights.
Whats The Bottom Line
So, has the AACNs recommendation that all NPs hold doctorates by 2015 been fulfilled? No. Is it currently a mandate for NPs to hold DNP degrees? Also no.
That could change, but as of now, the MSN is the most common path way to becoming an NP. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners article above says, There is so far no indication that certifying boards are considering changing the educational requirements for taking the certification exam, it states, and goes on to say, we do not yet have evidence that acquiring a DNP degree either after certification or as initial education for certification as an ARNP has any impact on patient, population or system health outcomes.
Bottom line: experts agree for now that the MSN prepares Nurse Practitioners and other APRNs effectively. To date, there has been no further movement toward a required DNP for NPs.
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Can A Nurse Practitioner Have A Doctorate
In order to perform as a nurse practitioner, you must have a masters or doctorate degree , state license, and national certification.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice is the last degree for practice-oriented nurses.
Accordingly, the doctorate is the highest degree that may be obtained.
There is a nursing Ph.D. program available.
However, it is primarily intended for nurses who want to pursue a career in research or academics rather than clinical practice.
DNP programs are designed to train nurses for the highest advanced practice levels available in the field.
AACN defines the advanced practice asany form of nursing intervention that has an impact on the health care outcomes of individuals or populations.
Including the provision of direct care or management of care for individual patients or management of care populations, as well as the provision of indirect care such as nursing administration, executive leadership, health policy, informatics, and population health.
Advanced practice includes both direct and indirect care.
Earn Your Dnp Degree At Bradley
A DNP can help fuel career growth and development for NPs, among many other health care professionals. If youre interested in earning that terminal degree, consider studying online at Bradley University.
We maintain two online DNP programs:
- A bachelors entry track designed to prepare FNPs, which takes roughly 3.7 years to complete
- A masters entry track focusing on cultivating leadership qualities, which takes roughly three years to complete
At Bradley, nurses will learn from world-class faculty and engage with courses that help build advanced practice nursing competencies. Some of the courses featured in our DNPs include:
- Health Promotion in Populations
- Ethics in Advanced Practice Nursing
- Advanced Pharmacology
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The Benefits Of A Dnp For Future Nps And Those Currently Practicing
The DNP is considered a terminal degree because it is the highest level of education for the nursing profession. One thing that distinguishes doctors of nursing practice from other nursing professionals is their ability to work as independent practitioners. In addition to leading the diagnosis and treatment of disease from a clinical perspective, DNPs can serve as certified nurse midwives , certified registered nurse anesthetists , and doctors of nurse anesthesia practice , among dozens of other specialties.
Stephen Ferrara writes on the Daily Nurse that NPs are vital for addressing the main shortcoming of evidence-based practice on the front lines of the health care industry. Ferrara describes evidence-based practice as a foundational tenet of DNP curricula. However, decision-making in clinical settings cannot always be based on the best available evidence. Nurses must take the research one step further and translate that discovered evidence into applied practice, according to Ferrara.
Phd Programs In Nursing
The traditional nursing doctorate is a Ph.D. It’s considered a research-oriented degree, so it’s favored by nurse practitioners with an interest in the scientific or policy aspects of the profession. Earning a Ph.D. requires a combination of advanced classwork and original research, with the candidate eventually completing and defending an original research paper. After completing and defending this thesis, the newly-minted Ph.D. is eligible for the highest positions in the profession. This includes lucrative research positions with pharmaceutical companies, a senior faculty role at a school of nursing, or even a policy-making advisory position in government.
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How Are These Two Roles Different
These two roles differ in the principal focus and underlying philosophy. Nurse practitioners function under the nursing model, while doctors employthe medical model.
The nursing model emphasizes the impact of the diagnosis on the patient. Nurse practitioners must consider the psychosocial impact.
The medicalmodel focuses on the illness or the disease that a patient has. Physicians treat the condition. That is their primary focus.
In many ways, nurses look at the patient holistically while doctors tend to emphasize the disease.
This approach materializes in the nurses focus on disease prevention and helping to educate the patient on wellness approaches.
Another difference between doctors and nurses is the prescriptive authority. Doctors can prescribe in all 50 states and D.C., while only 21 states allow nurses full practice authority without the supervision of a doctor.
Master Of Science In Nursing
While earning your BSN is the only major education degree a registered nurse needs to practice, nurse practitioners must earn both a BSN and a graduate degree in order to practice. One of the most common graduate degrees pursued by aspiring nurse practitioners is the Master of Science in Nursing , which is really going to be the lowest level of education you can complete and work as an NP.
Earning an MSN prepares nurse practitioners with the relevant knowledge, skillset, and expertise to become a leader within the healthcare industry and provide specific, hands-on patient care. It is during their master of science in nursing that most nurse practitioners will choose a specialization, of which there are many.
At Regis College, for example, MSN students can pursue roughly 10 education tracks, split between two specializations: nurse practitioner and nurse leadership. The nurse practitioner track consists of pediatric, family, psychiatric-mental health, womens health and adult-gerontology specializations, while the nurse leadership track encompasses clinical research, health administration, health informatics, health policy, and clinical nurse leader specialties.
As with BSN programs, there are many ways to earn your MSN. At Regis College, for example, you can learn both in-person and online, participate in an RN to MSN program, or opt for the accelerated direct entry to MSN route.
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How Important Is Accreditation
Attending an accredited nursing school opens many doors for students, since its often a gateway for students to study in federally funded and state entitlement programs. In fact, you cant apply for federal financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid unless you attend an accredited school. Secondly, a degree from an accredited school and program allows a student to pursue further education at other accredited schools.
There are two agencies that accredit nursing programs:
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing : Accredits bachelors masters, and doctorate programs.
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education : Accredits bachelor and masters degree level programs.
While each agencys accreditation process differs, they both meet national standards.
What if My Program or School Isnt Accredited?
If youre thinking of attending a non-accredited but state board-approved school, there can be drawbacks.
While you can still take the NCLEX, your nursing profession may stall out if youre seeking additional education. Generally, education from a non-accredited school doesnt qualify students for acceptance at an accredited school. If youre thinking about a career as a nurse practitioner where an MSN is necessary, attending a non-accredited undergraduate school can limit your options in the future. Furthermore, employers might not consider you for employment with a degree from an unaccredited school.
Will I Have To Have A Doctorate Of Nursing Practice To Be A Family Nurse Practitioner
It takes more knowledge and skills today to be a nurse, and the requirements for nursing proficiency are increasing. The RN with an associates degree will need to have a bachelors degree by 2020. The nurse practitioner trained at the masters level is expected to have a doctorate after 2015. Whats happening to cause these changes, and does this mean that the Family Nurse Practitioner will have to hold a doctorate?
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What Do You Call A Nurse Practitioner With A Doctorate
In many peoples perceptions, the word doctor is most typically associated with physicians.
Many non-physicians and academics, such as psychologists, attorneys, researchers, dentists, and pharmacists, may receive professional degrees that contain the title of doctor.
Nurses may also get a terminal degree, known as a Doctor of Nursing Practice , which denotes eminence in the field.
The DNP degree, as opposed to the research-driven Ph.D. in nursing, was designed as a practice-focused degree.
Clinical evidence is used by DNP-educated nurses in inpatient care, nursing leadership, and healthcare policy.
DNP-prepared nurses have positively impacted the healthcare system as physicians, according to researcher Nancy Edwards and colleagues in the paper The Impact of the Role of Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurses on Healthcare and Leadership.
In all healthcare contexts, the DNP has proven useful. As change agents, these professionals have brought best practices into care settings and provided cost-effective solutions to patient care issues while maintaining or improving outcomes.
These skills enable individuals to contribute effectively to collaborative care teams and organizations that use healthcare economics and finance.
In other words, a DNP degree-level education displays nursing leadership expertise.
Advance practice registered nurses who successfully finish a DNP program, including an online DNP program, are entitled to use the medical salute doctor.
Doctorate Of Nursing Careers
A DNP degree can open doors in a number of settings. Doctorate of nursing careers are in high demand and can yield competitive salaries, especially for those with considerable experience. Nurses with a DNP degree can find opportunities for hands-on leadership roles in areas including hospitals and healthcare centers, private sector healthcare organizations, collegiate-level academia, government, and in consulting, just to name a few. Some popular careers for those with a DNP degree include the following.
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Q: What Areas Can I Specialize In
DNP programs are aimed at aspiring or current advanced practice registered nurses who work in clinical roles, management and leadership positions, health policy, and education. Youll find DNP degrees tailored to Nurse Practitioners Nurse Anesthetists Nurse Midwives Clinical Nurse Specialists Nursing Administrators Nursing Informaticists, and more. For more information on each specialty and real-world advice from DNP graduates check out our DNP Specialties section.
When Should Patients See A Nurse Practitioner Vs A Doctor
Typically, it is easier to make an appointment with an NP vs. a doctor due to an NP’s flexibility. Since they are able to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medicine, patients can book an appointment for urgent issues with an NP instead of waiting for a future appointment with a doctor.
For treatment that may be more experimental or for patients who have an unclear diagnosis, it is best to visit a doctor. Seeing a doctor is also recommended for patients who require surgical procedures or who need invasive treatment.
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Dnp Vs Np: Whats The Difference
The difference between DNP and NP is much more than just one letter.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal educational degree, while a nurse practitioner is a professional role and job title. Nurse practitioners can be prepared at the masters level or earn a DNP degree.
As you explore advancing your nursing career, you may be comparing DNP vs masters NP programs. Below, we share more information about the differences between DNP and NP, and how each path may align with your professional goals.
The Difference Between DNP and NP
Lets first look at how these nursing acronyms stand on their own.
What is a DNP?
A DNP degree program prepares nurses for not only advanced clinical practice roles, but also for leadership roles in healthcare organizations.
A DNP degree is on par with a Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D. degree in nursing, but focuses on nursing practice rather than research. Instead of conducting nursing research or teaching at the college level, a DNP-prepared nurse might provide direct patient care, provide clinical training for nurses and NP students, serve on a hospital board or in a nursing administrative position or work on emerging health policies.
The DNP degree requires coursework focused not only on more advanced clinical practice skills, but on high-level organizational skills, such as leadership, program management, healthcare administration, and health policy.
What is an NP?
Should I Attend an FNP or DNP Program?
DNP vs. NP FAQs