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Is Nurse Practitioner A Masters Or Doctorate

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Msn Vs Dnp: Career Overview

NURSE PRACTITIONER | Masters or Doctorate

From the MSN to DNP, both degrees open paths to bright careers. An advanced degree in nursing unlocks countless options, allowing nurses to take on direct roles in patient care, education, and leadership.


MSN degrees are an option for those looking to broaden their competence in a specific area. MSNs offer many specialities, including the MSN-NP for aspiring nurse practitioners . Other common careers include nurse anesthetist, critical care nurse, certified nurse midwife, and more.

Nurses with an MSN are not limited to working in a hospital or clinic in fact, with many careers available, there are various work settings to choose from. Roles like nurse educator, nurse researcher, and nurse advocate are viable options for those with an MSN degree.


DNP-prepared nurses have an even wider range of workplaces available to them. Theyre qualified to fill any position that an MSN nurse can, and beyond. DNP nurses can work in public health offices and universities, and positions could range from faculty to executive c-suite over the span of a nurses career.

Many DNP programs prepare graduates for advanced leadership roles. For those interested in making a difference on a macro-level, earning the highest credential in the nursing field is an ideal option.

How Do You Become A Nurse Practitioner

In order to pursue a degree in nursing, you will need to complete an accredited nursing program.

This nursing program should take four years of full-time study to complete, but most students choose to attend part-time because this allows them more time for work and family obligations.

They spend between 4 years getting the necessary education before taking the boards exams to become certified by the National Commission on Certification of Nurse Practitioners .

If you want its possible for you to enroll in an accelerated nursing program that lasts just 4 years. However, this involves taking classes at night or online and dedicating yourself full-time towards completing your degree.

Get Your Graduate Degree

You must complete an NP educational program that has been approved by the College of Nurses of Ontario Council before you may register in Ontario as an NP. These programs are at the graduate level and usually result in a masters degree or post-masters diploma/certificate. If you do not graduate from an approved program, you must be assessed by the Colleges Registration Committee.

  • Master of Nursing Nurse Practitioner Field
  • Post Masters Nurse Practitioner Diploma
  • University of Victoria
  • Master of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner Stream
  • If the NP program you graduate from is not Council-approved, the Registration Committee must assess your competencies. This process begins when you submit your application packet for registration as an NP in Ontario. The Committee will focus on your demonstration of knowledge of the NP Core Competencies as defined by the Canadian Nurses Association. Further information may be required from you as your application is evaluated, such as a resume, job description or a list of medical directives you have used.

    Course Requirements

    Because the College of Nurses of Ontario does not assess credentials, only competencies, course requirements for NP programs have not been specified. However, if you look at the NP core competencies, you can surmise that the following topics must be covered in any NP educational program. These competencies are common to all specialty certificates:

    Prescriptive Authority

    Specialization for NPs

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    Nurse Practitioner To Dnp Program

    The DNP degree prepares nurses to provide health services at the highest level of clinical nursing practice. In the NP to DNP program, registered nurses who are master’s-prepared, certified, licensed, and practicing nurse practitioners retain their specialty and earn the DNP degree. The NP to DNP program of study is 40 credits and can be completed in 2 years of full-time coursework.

    Dnp: Areas Of Emphasis

    Doctor of Nursing Practice

    Whatever pathway a student selects to earn their Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree, one is encouraged to select an area of emphasis, which is often known in nursing as a âspecializationâ, simply because the courses are intended to help nurses build targeted skills in their practice area. Many schools of nursing differ in what focused areas they offer, so make sure to do some research! To start you out, let’s explore a few examples below.

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    Becoming A Nurse Practitioner

    In order to become a nurse practitioner, youll need to obtain at least a BSN and MSN, pass certification exams, perform clinical research, and apply for licensure within the states you wish you to practice. But, depending on your career goals and the specific states in which you wish to practice, you may need to earn your DNP to become a nurse practitioner or advance your career to take on leadership roles.

    No matter your decision, being a nurse practitioner is a challenging and rewarding career. Youll be charged with providing top-of-the-line healthcare for your patients while also shaping the future of the healthcare industry for the betterultimately saving and making a huge difference in peoples lives.

    The Role Of A Doctor Of Nursing Practice

    The DNP degree program is aimed at building on traditional masters program training for an in-depth role in clinical work, leadership, healthcare delivery systems, and healthcare policy. Unlike a research-focused nursing Ph.D. program, the DNP program is a practice-focused degree

  • A strong scientific background and thorough understanding of nursing theories and concepts.
  • Leadership and organizational skills, including healthcare systems and business practices.
  • The ability to implement improvements to healthcare systems across the continuum of care.
  • Strong technology skills for transformative healthcare improvements.
  • The ability to critically analyze healthcare policy with an eye on advocacy and social justice.
  • Effective communication, organizational, and leadership skills for greater collaboration across healthcare teams.
  • The skills to evaluate, interpret, and apply data to lead healthcare changes and improvements.
  • Strong clinical judgment to ensure patient health and safety.
  • DNP graduates work in clinical settings as well as administrative and They also work in public policy, public health, and education. The DNP is the highest professional degree in nursing, also called a terminal degree, and is considered the future of healthcare. Organizations that have endorsed the DNP position as transformative include the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties , the Institute of Medicine , and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists .

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    Dnps In Advanced Practice Nursing

    DNP graduates who take the advanced practice nursing pathway will provide direct care to patients that include managing, assessing, and evaluating care.

    DNPs who focus on advanced practice nursing are required to sit for the advanced practice registered nurse certification exam. They may also be required to sit for advanced specialty certification as well.

    In the workforce, you may find DNPs in the following roles,

    • Nurse Midwife – professionals who provide reproductive health services before, during and after childbirth. They also provide primary care and counseling throughout infancy.
    • Nurse Anesthetist – professionals who work collaboratively with the healthcare team to administer anesthesia.
    • Nurse Practitioner – clinicians who work autonomously to provide patient care and manage illness. Nurse practitioners specialize in a specific patient population such as,
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Womens Health Nurse Practitioner

    Become A Certified Nurse Practitioner

    Doctor Bio | Sally Delger, ARNP | Nurse Practitioner

    Be sure to review information on licensure and regulatory requirements in your state. The AANP is a good resource.

    To become licensed to practice as a nurse practitioner, you will need to take a national certification exam. You can take this exam through any of five national certification boards, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners , the National Certification Corporation , or the American Nurses Credentialing Center . Each organizations exam is different, so you should research the focus and format of each one and consider your personal career goals and testing preferences when deciding which exam to take.

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    Are Dnps Called Doctors

  • Technically, nurse practitioners that have earned a DNP are doctors but are not called this in the clinical setting. Those that teach in academia will be referred to as Dr. but those that practice solely in a hospital or outpatient setting will be referred to as a nurse practitioner. Referring to an NP as Dr. can cause confusion with patients. Most patients, when meeting someone with the title of doctor, will assume the person is an MD. Certain states have rules that indicate a nurse practitioner with a DNP must inform patients they are a doctoral-prepared nurse practitioner. Certain healthcare organizations may also restrict the use of doctor for NPs.
    • Educate patients and families on disease prevention and plan of care
    • Monitor and operate medical equipment
    • Perform physical examinations and patient observations
    • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals
    • Detect changes in a patients health and change the treatment plan if necessary

    In 23 states, nurse practitioners have full practice authority which means they do not have to work under the supervision of a doctor. Full practice states include Oregon, Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Iowa. In states with reduced practice and restricted practice , NPs must have a medical doctor sign certain medical patient care decisions. NPs have prescriptive privileges in all 50 states and can administer controlled substances in 49 states.

    Masters In Nursing Vs Doctorate In Nursing Degree Whats The Difference

    If you want a career in nursing, you may be considering degree options beyond a bachelors degree. Pursuing a graduate degree program may prepare you for more specialized and upper-level nursing opportunities. Both a Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice are options, but youll need to decide which is right for you based on your career goals.

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    Employers Want To Avoid Restricting The Np Pipeline With A Dnp Requirement While Np Students Want The Salary Benefits That Come With A Doctorate

    There are solid arguments for high standards of education in medicine, but the move to create a more difficult and longer path to advanced practice risks undercutting much of what makes the APRN role appealing to employers.

    Part of that has to do with the sheer demand for APRNs in the healthcare industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of nurse practitioner positions will increase by 26% between 2018 and 2028 just to keep up with demand that represents another 62,000 NPs entering the nursing workforce.

    A DNP program can take twice as long to complete as an MSN two to four additional years. The concern, of course, is that with the more stringent requirements to both enter and complete a doctoral program, not to mention the higher costs, moving to the DNP could constrict the pipeline that is expected to produce all those new NPs.

    On the flip side, the higher salaries that DNP-prepared NPs earn could make the additional time and expense well worth it from the perspective of nursing students. A 2018 survey by Medscape found that RNs with a doctoral degree were paid, on average, about $9,000 more than those with only a masters degree.

    The Critical Differences Between Msn And Dnp

    DNP Essentials: 5 Courses and the Skills Doctor of Nursing Practice ...

    Many RNs, even those with considerable experience in the field, may be confused about the differences between the two degrees. The first significant difference is in their focus. MSN degrees focus on medical skills such as support for those with various mental diseases, or the preparation and administration of anesthesia. DNP programs combine that training with an added focus on leadership, statistical analysis, and employee management.

    The second major difference between the two degree programs is the type of academic coursework. MSN candidates study the foundations of advanced nursing and must be able to combine those with ethical practices, legal concerns, and the fields of social, behavioral, and medical sciences. DNP candidates deal primarily with data research and evidence-based practice. Students in a DNP program are expected to learn how healthcare systems are changing in the modern world and how to adapt to advances in the field. DNP programs usually require candidates to complete a major research project to prove mastery of their area of study and to serve as a springboard for their careers moving forward.

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    Similarities Between An Msn Vs Dnp

    Both the MSN and DNP are specialized programs that may help prepare you for your nursing career. They are designed to equip you with the skills youll use daily, including triaging patients, solving problems, and serving as a leader. Both programs give you the chance to explore more specialized fields of study than the more general education offered by a bachelors degree.

    These programs share similar education requirements. Most programs require that you complete a bachelors degree in nursing and have a current RN license to be admitted.

    After completing either of these degree programs, you may be more qualified and prepared for more opportunities than you would with a bachelors degree alone. These programs may prepare you to become an advanced practice registered nurse, pursuing a specialized career as a clinical nurse specialist, family nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, or nurse practitioner.

    Primary Differences Between Fnp And Dnp

    The biggest differences between the FNP and DNP degrees are education, training, and experience. In a clinical setting, FNPs are known to take a while DNPs utilize technology, healthcare, and business acumen for nursing best practices.

    An FNP is a masters-level degree that prepares graduates to work in leadership and management roles, typically in clinical settings in primary healthcare practices. They work either autonomously or in collaboration with other medical professionals. They focus on diagnosing and treating patients. Other duties include managing acute and chronic conditions.

    A DNP is a doctoral-level degree that focuses on the science, business, and management side of nursing. DNPs utilize evidence-based skills and practices to improve health outcomes for patients. The degree program gives DNPs the skills to examine healthcare trends and implement policy and clinical changes. Many also work in private practice to focus on patient care. DNPs are registered nurses with masters and doctoral degrees.

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    History Of Changes To Np Requirements

    In 2004, the member schools affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing voted to endorse the Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing. This decision called for moving the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice from the masters degree to the doctorate-level by the year 2015. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses include Nurse Practitioners as well as Certified Nurse Midwives, Nurse Anesthetists and Clinical Nurse Specialists.

    In April 2018, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties made the commitmentto move all entry-level nurse practitioner education to the DNP degree by 2025.

    While no mandate has happened yet, its possible this could happen in the future, and there is certainly a larger number of doctoral programs out theremore than than there was 10+ years ago.

    In fact, according to this 2015 editorial in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners, there has been rapid growth in the number of Doctor of Nurse Practice programs available . But the MSN remains the go-to degree to become an NPand the AACNs recommendation has not been fulfilled.

    How Do I Become A Nurse Practitioner

    Family Nurse Practitioner/Graduate Nursing Programs

    Put simply, to become an NP, you need a masters or doctoral degree (and depending on your state and population focus, educational requirements vary, certification, state licensure, and national certification.

    Heres more about the requirements to practice as a Nurse Practitioner, but know that it all starts with earning the right degree, such as one of American Sentinels two MSN Nurse Practitioner specializations: Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner and Family Practice Nurse Practitioner.

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    What If I Just Earned My Msn

    You should be all set if youve already earned your MSN. The coming degree changes wont affect the license you already have. Even current MSN-level educated CRNAs will be able to keep practicing, but all CRNAs who apply for licensure in 2025 or later will need a doctorate.

    Firm doctorate requirements for other APRN professions havent yet been announced, but its a good idea to keep up-to-date in your specialty to keep an eye on the rules and recommendations. There are many ways to make sure you know whats happening currently, including joining nursing organizations, staying in touch with your alumni association, and following nursing news on social media. You can check out our resources guide for more ideas.

    Online Nurse Practitioner Courses

    You may have the opportunity to pursue an online course of study , but there will be some requirements that cant be met from a distance. At the minimum, you will need to go out into the community to complete your 500 clinical hours. Your state may impose additional restrictions. Out-of-state schools that place nursing students in the community may be under Board jurisdiction.

    Online schools give their students varying degrees of assistance with regard to finding clinical placements.

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    Doctorate In Nursing Practice

    A DNP is a doctorate degree in nursing and it is the highest level of education in the nursing field. A DNP degree can function similarly to an MSN degree, as that it can prepare a nurse to sit for certification as an APRN in a variety of clinical specialties, such as a Geriatric NP, Pediatric NP, Critical Care NP, or Family Care.

    As John Hopkins University explains, DNP-prepared nurses gain advanced levels of clinical skills and systems thinking, which allows them to enter into roles with more responsibility to care for both individual and population health needs. For instance, a Nurse Practitioner with an MSN degree may work in a hospital as a Critical Care Practitioner to deliver bedside care, while a Nurse Practitioner with a DNP degree may deliver care as well as lead the nursing team in an expanded role.

    The American Association of Colleges of Nursing also explains that practice-based DNP programs focus on 7 key areas of instruction:

    • Scientific underpinnings for practice
    • Organization and system leadership/management, quality improvement, and system thinking
    • Analytic methodologies related to the evaluation of practice and the application of evidence for practice
    • Utilization of technology and information for the improvement and transformation of healthcare
    • Health policy development, implementation, and evaluation
    • Interdisciplinary collaboration for improving patient and population healthcare outcomes

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