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“You can get past the dead end. You can break through the ceiling. I did and so have countless others.”

Thinking about a DNP? Think again….

I see more and more colleagues going back to school for their DNP. I always scratch my head and ask “why?” Is having the title of Doctor that important? I see no other point to it. Is 1-2 years of some research project and mumbo jumbo classes going to benefit you in the real world? I don’t think so…

But I hear that it improves your ability to practice “evidence based medicine” and to interpret research and clinical studies better. Really? You need to go to school for that? It is not difficult to read a study or a guideline and implement it into your practice…

Ah, nursing… lets over complicate things…

If it was clinically oriented I could see utility to it, but even then you can learn most things on your own these days. There is a wealth of information online.

I am looking at a DNP curriculum as I write this. Health Policy for Advanced Nurse Practice? Promoting Health Behavior? Advanced Leadership in Healthcare? Nursing Informatics? Are you serious? What is this BS?

It is difficult to teach how to be a true leader. Most leaders are born with that talent. How does health policy help you in your day to day clinical activities? Need help learning how to promote health? It’s called diet and exercise…

How do these classes and a large thesis project really benefit your life? Please enlighten me with a comment if it has.

Also factor in the cost and time. These programs average around $20,000 or more, that is a large chunk of change… Most programs are 12-24 months in duration for the MSN to DNP. So you will be working plus dedicating a majority of your free time to school.

$20,000 + 12-24 months = Doctor title and to be able to practice “evidence based medicine.”

If that is important to you or you need the education, then go for it.

If your objective is financial independence and you have a head on your shoulders though, don’t waste your time or money.

Instead, I propose another equation.

$20,000 + 12-24 months = multiple income generating side businesses.

In the time it takes to get your DNP, you can open up 2 profitable part time businesses generating an extra $10,000 a month on the side.

So you pick: $10,000 a month side income and more freedom OR more debt and 2 wasted years of your short time on this earth to be called “doctor?”

If you choose doctor, then I will tip my hat your direction while sipping wine on my mountain cabin porch enjoying my financial independence being retired at 52 years of age. So my hat is off to you doctor! I have vacations to plan and life to live…

232 Responses

      1. Good for you. Don’t waste your time or money. Focus on starting a business or learning a practical skill that actually BENEFITS your life.

      2. I agree whole heartedly with what your saying. I am a NP with a post masters yet they won’t even consider me for a faculty position unless I am in a program or have to obtain within 5 years. And I don’t even want the faculty position because their pay scale is horrible and offensive . My sister that works in IT for a healthcare company makes more money than me with just a bachelors in business. And by more I mean substantially more 180,000. Your article really has me thinking , I wanted the DNP as a goal to obtain I knew it wasn’t for the extra money. Reach the highest in my profession. Plus I wasn’t getting into a school loan I was going to cash flow it.

        1. If you want to teach then go for it. If you want that “personal accomplishment” then go for it. If your goal is financial independence though then the DNP is counter intuitive. Trust me, you will get far more personal accomplishment out of a successful business you built from scratch then an inflated degree that is not that hard to get.


        1. They will choose the person who they think will fit best. I own clinics and hire NPs. I could care less if you have a DNP. Do I think your competent? Do I think your going to be productive? That is what matters, not some fluff filled degree. It is a waste in my opinion.

          1. Exactly! The DNP does not make you more marketable or a better clinician. What will make you a better clinician is learning the clinical medicine component of practice, not doing more research papers.

    1. I think it is well written. I have been saying this from the mid 1990s when it was first proposed. It is only another way to “advance” nursing, aka compete with physicians. I think the real reason some at the top are in favor of these programs is to keep the instructors employed. Doctoral programs generate a great deal of money, add employment, etc. to the schools and it is advancing.

      1. I have been saying this for the past decade. Thank you for stating it so well.

        I think that for many, a one year clinical residency after graduation, makes more sense. This should be strongly encouraged especially for NP’s who come out of a BSN program and start an NP program without clinical experience.

        1. I have precepts NP & PA students and I agree an extra 1 yr internship is a great idea. It is one situation when they come to you with experience in the field before. I entered my NP program with 20 yrs RN experience but still did 2X my practice internship because I spent 10 yrs in Hospice practice and wanted to be grounded in primary care. These 5 yr NP,s reflect on those of us who have prepared with experience. Thank you for your remarks.

    2. Disagree. I decided to return for personal growth and have enjoyed engaging in advanced practice an a higher level. Yes master’s prepared APNs are very qualified to create and utilized EBP, but as a profession we need to elevate to the doctoral level. This adds merit to our profession and keeps us competitive while further supporting our commitment to nursing and other doctor ally prepared professionals confidence in us. I respect the opinion of the author an the others, but I think there is much more too it than what is being portrayed

      1. Then the DNP should be a degree that furthers the NP clinically. Make it entail a 2-3 year internship or residency. Make it competitive to the the MD and DO. Because as it stands right now it is not.

        1. Agree completely. ALL nursing programs are loaded with “nursing theory”. It’s so annoying and difficult to tolerate. As an NP I want to be respected as as astute clinician. Therefore change the NP/DNP programs to provide us with CLINICAL education in in order to stay competitive with the MDs/DOs and other midlevel providers with whom we work. The “nursing theory” tedium has a place in BSN programs….end it there.

          1. I agree one hundred percent! Provide us with more clinical education to stay up- to- date with doctors. I don’t care to be called a doctor because I didn’t go to school for ten years or more to be one. Keep the collaborative relationship with doctors. I want to consult specialists when I need to keep my patients in good health. Patients with advanced heart problems, need a cardiologist who went to school for ten years or more, not two years like NP. I think of the patients and if they need to see a specialist, I want that collaborative relationship so I can refer them. More education is imperative, not the name on a tag!!

        2. We don’t need to “compete” with the MD or DO. We are a separate entity. Are you suggesting a brand new MD fresh out of school even compares to an NP with years of practice? Or a brand new NP and a brand new MD should even compete? How so? We are nurses with advanced degrees. We are not physicians. Yes we practice medicine, but you can’t compare the two. Your comments and article have zero facts

          1. Nope. All I am saying is that for the NP who is driven to be an excellent clinician the DNP does not assist you in that. If we want independent practice and to provide SAFE care, our clinical education needs an overhaul. I see so many new grad NPs get eaten alive when they get out of school. They are grossly unprepared. Facts? Would you like me to provide you a profit and loss statement for my businesses? The point of the article is to point out that the DNP is a waste of money if your goal is financial independence.

          2. Well said! Why are we even suggesting that NPs have to “compete” with MDs amd DOs or be comparable to them? Each profession has its own training and are not comparable. We collaborate and consult each other for the better goods of the patient outcome. If you all recall how “all NPs have to be masters prepared” and it happened (though it took some time to realize the goal but we no longer hold a certificate NP program). I agree that having a DNP does not guarantee a financial independence but when it comes time to where all NPs or APRNs must hold a doctorate degree, I bet most would lean towards the two year Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) versus the three to four years PhD or EdD. I continue to practice as an NP and teach full time as an associate professor with my DNP and I’m happy to say that I can retire at age 52 with full lifetime benefits, should I choose to. I went back to school to get my DNP not because I am hung up on my “doctor” title but because I want to expand my knowledge and be able to say that I meet the requirement for then that time comes when all NPs/APRNs must have at least a doctorate degree to practice.

          3. Standardize the DNP. Make them more credible. The Ph.D. is respected because it is recognized and known by many what is involved in completing this type of degree. Completing a DNP is highly variable. Rather than worrying about how quickly a degree can be completed, maybe the bigger picture should be considered if one is going to do it so we don’t mess things up for ourselves- make sure we do it right rather than fast and inconsistently and not cheapen the degree with inconsistencies and programs promising quick finishes and therefore rendering the degree essentially meaningless or inconsequential to others in the end.

      2. I too, went back and forth on the relevance and practicality of the earning the DNP degree.

        I am left with the personal opinion that as nurses, we are ever teaching our patients to do better because they now know better following patient education. As professionals, we are no different. We should want to be our best, does the degree it’s self grant that…no.

        It does however afford merit and validate our argument that we as clinicians are equal in ability.

        This argument from physicians is a tough one to win. We deserve validation, we deserve respect for working at the top of our education.

        As I transition through my DNP program, I remember each of us as nurses have a choice after passing NCLEX, leaders somehow should not argue with the road towards continuing excellence.

        I agree with the proposal to include an internship component. Physicians have a strong argument there regarding practice inequity due to variance in clinical/internship.

      3. So I agree with your reasoning for personal enrichment; everyone should be entitled to advance their education for that cause. But I disagree that we need to advance nursing by going back to school and getting a DNP or any other doctorate; if you want to advance nursing then advocate for nursing to stop eating its own. The idea that every APN needs a doctorate/DNP to keep up with other health professions is the same expensive mentality as “Keeping up with the Joneses”, which is one of the largest reasons Americans are drowning in debt. Unless you work for a major institution (JHU, JHH, Univ MD…etc) where doctorate degrees are mandatory as educators and management, what is a DNP (or other nursing doctorate) going to do for you?

        For clinical NPs, a doctorate is not going to increase your income, instead it will increase your student loan debt. A DNP is not going to give you better clinical skills; as previously mentioned clinical hour requirements are minimal. A DNP is not going to prepare your critical thinking skills any better than a MSN.
        A doctorate degree takes another 12 to 24 months; that’s 12 to 24 months that you will be taking away from your family; that’s 12 to 24 months of time you can never get back.

        if you want to advance the cause of nursing, then advocate for mandatory NP residencies. Early in my nursing career it was unheard of to see a registered nurse go to NP school with less than 3-5 years of experience, now it’s the norm to jump from entry program right into NP program without having any practical patient experience other than their basic RN clinicals. Experience makes a huge difference in quality of NP that programs graduate.

        I went to ISU for my FNP program during the early push to get students into the DNP tracks. In 2011, I was 12 months into my FNP program with a 4.0 gpa as a full-time student when ISU DNP program staff asked me to transfer into their program because they said I was an ideal candidate. When I asked about all of the APN core courses I’ve completed, they said I would have to repeat all of them / basically start over because they needed to be redesigned as doctoral courses even though the course material itself would remain the same. Oh they said we’ll help you get financing, but in the end it would be me that paid for the additional repeat year, and the extra 6 months average that it takes to complete a doctoral program instead of a MSN-FNP program. What a scam, load up people with costly student loan debt to better the nursing profession. I would like to point out that I finished my 2yr FNP program in exactly 24 months with a 4.0 gpa, and acquired more than twice the required clinical/ patient contact hours.

        There were students in my group that elected to do the doctorate program, and I would like to point out that I finished two plus years ahead of them, with 30 – 40 thousand dollars or more less debt, and employed full-time at least 2 years before them as a PCP and urgent care provider earning a significant salary.

        I graduated my entry / ADN program in 94, and BSN in 07, and MSN in 12, each advancement was for me and my career choices, to improve myself and my family’s life, definitely not for the betterment of the Nursing Profession.

        1. Well said. If the DNP program included a clinical residency I would have considered it years ago. Now that I have been in practice for numerous years I doubt it would benefit me but for the new grad NP, residencies would GREATLY enhance new NPs.

        2. Amen! I’ve long said new grads are not ready to be in an NP program. I cannot fathom how my current NP practice would look had I not had 26 years of beside experience in various ICUs, ER and acute dialysis.
          Year of reading charts, asking questions of the MDs, studying for certifications, seeing how problems evolve, asking patients questions, learning bedside manner and developing collegial relationships taught me as much as my NP program. I do think we could completely do away with the BS in NP programs – nursing theory, etc – in favor of more clinical instruction. I think the PA programs have the right idea – didactic for a year, followed by a year or more of clinical experiences in various specialties for a month at a time. We get broad knowledge with little depth in our programs. Doing little “projects” on singular topics doesn’t help me in my day-to-day functions. I can’t tell you how much time I spend digging into Up To Date to get a deeper understanding of diagnoses and treatment plan for things we skimmed over. And don’t even get me started on the all on-line NP programs. . .

      4. The thing is if we move to the doctoral level there needs to be more incentive then personal growth. Why spend the extra time and money for no extra pay? Don’t get me wrong I am all about the personal accomplishment but that is where it stops. Unless nursing does away with the masters level APRN or establishes some kind of difference in levels other than in name because currently that is all it is. I am saying this as an APRN that is 5 classes from my DNP. But I’m doing it because I love school, hinds sights it won’t add to my life currently in fact it’s taken away from my life… cost me time with my family, personal time, and added $75,000 in student loans.

        1. Ouch, $75000? Just imagine what you could do with that money instead. But if it brings you accomplishment then go for it.

      5. I disagree. The only thing that a DNP does for me is if I want to be tenured at a university. I actually make more money as an adjunct teaching and the salaries for tenured teachers is deplorable…less than their graduate nurses will be making per hour. In the hospital itself, there is absolutely no benefit to getting a DNP and I guarantee you physicians could care less. As it is, they do not even grasp the enormous difference in education between an NP and a PA. Trust me, my physicans have enormous confidence in me and don’t understand, or quite frankly, care about my level of educaton. They care more about my working knowledge of adequately diagnosing and treating patients . I have invested money in aesthetic medicine and am also practicing in this arena making triple what I make even as a cardiology acute care NP.

          1. Yes, part time in an urgent care to cover personal expenses while I work on my other businesses

      6. Chantel-
        I appreciate your courage to speak.
        You shared that your pursued a DNP for personal growth? Di you grow personally, if so, how?
        How about your professional growth? How? Please elaborate with details both clinically, professionally and financially?
        How do you believe a DNP adds merit to our profession?

        Kathleen Regan, MSN, NP, RN (x 23 years)

      7. I have failed to see any change in respect or acknowledgement of my degrees. Just more money out of my pocket to pay for them. I have worked in the health care field as an RN and NP, and I have my JD. Respect is earned by your personal actions and knowledge. If you adhere to administration wants and needs and if your peers can trust you in your knowledge base and performance.
        A degree is paper and not grounded in real practice. If you want to climb an administrative ladder then DNP may serve you well. you can’t tell who has what degree when you are working side by side.
        Not worth the money unless it brings you, as an individual the personal satisfaction.

        1. Well said. No one cares about what a piece of paper says. What they care about is what you can deliver. Results triumphs over words any day.

      8. What does it mean “elevate to the doctoral level”? In what ways is a doctorate prepared nurse better prepared (for what, I ask)? Or is it an individual’s practice (content knowledge, moral disposition, experience, confidence, immeasurable aptitude to connect with humans) that makes him/her “elevated.” It seems we are conditioned by somewhat arbitrary standards to professionalize this occupation of nursing. Specifically what “merit” is generated through a DNP. The majority of this comment strikes me as propaganda. The same type of propaganda that my DNP program pulses into the airwaves and media pages of its website. I am in a DNP program because the school where I have a tuition waiver only offers a DNP, but I wholeheartedly believe it is more than just a useless degree, but is exceptionally counterproductive to the outcomes and health of vulnerable populations.

        1. WELL SAID! Couldn’t agree more… The praise you hear about the DNP being amazing is nothing but propaganda.

    3. Agreed. The only reason I see to get your DNP is if your interested in becoming a professor or something. I’m a Hospitalist NP Working alongside physicians and love what I’m doing and I don’t need to have a DNP to do it.

      1. A believe a PhD is required for tenure. I have seen plenty of MSN and DNP prepared NPs who obtain clinical faculty positions in both college and university settings.

    4. Not at all well written. If you had your DNP maybe you would recognize this. Support the argument with evidence not impulsive reflexive street talk and unsubstantiated claims.
      A decision to advance into DNP is a personal one. There is more than a few thousand dollars and a title. It’s a chance to see healthcare at a different vantage point and it gives nursing a new voice. We can properly educate, improve care with quality measures and facilitate improvement. We interact in the political arena to advocate for our profession and patients. Would you continue to leave the future of NPs in other professions hands?
      I have a new perspective that enhanced everything that I previously studied.

      1. Well stated Kaiden. I agree that this is a very personal decision and have seen more advantages from having a DNP than disadvantages.

        I respect the writers perspective and I am totally disheartened by the inexperienced and quality NP’s being produced now. No one should be allowed in a NP program without ample nursing or clinical experience first. Period.

        From a clinical perspective, not much is added with a DNP, however, that would defeat the overall point of the advanced program. As leaders at the MSN level, I do not agree with discouraging anyone from pursing routes to advance their personal and professional education.

        I am sure you will say that this can be obtained on your own, however, I do not think it would be unbiased and offer true historical background that will properly measure the value of our profession. In addition, MOST people are not motivated, skilled, or disciplined to acquire all the necessary knowledge of the nursing/healthcare profession that is available…on their own. It takes more than just being able to read (as the author has implied).

        As Kaiden mentioned, I experienced a whole new viewpoint of nursing from my DNP program. Granted, this could be from age and 20 years of nursing experience, but I do know that the political exposure from this vantage point has been very insightful.

        One reason I chose to go back for my DNP is that as I get older and the Medical associations continue to fight against the APN profession, I do not want to be in a predicament where it is decided that DNP is entry level for practitioners.

        Being “grandfathered” in and competing with Doctorate prepared practitioners in my 50’s with a MSN, is a challenge I prefer not to have to confront.

      2. Would you like me to back up my article with copies of bank statements? How would you propose I provide evidence to support a simple comparison opinion. If your goal is to be financially independent and increase your income, the DNP has little utility.

      3. Thank you! This was a terrible piece. If this is the philosophy of this author then she has missed the point of nursing. Period. Forget DNP,MSN, NP, RN labels- she should find one of her side jobs that does not involve nursing And make it permanent.

        Why did doximity even publish this?!

      4. For those who don’t understand the reasoning behind getting a DNP clearly don’t understand the ultimate goal of nursing as a discipline!! Just so you know The DNP is a practice doctorate!! First of all it was created to eliminate the alphabet soup that existed in the nursing Discipline. Before now, There were so many different degrees And designations for the doctorally prepared Nurse or the advanced practice nurse such as ND, DNsc, PhD-nurse, etc. Yet, nobody could clearly tell you who or what each one of these nursing Constituents were, their roles nor what made them different from one another! So the AANC Decided that to match the parity of our other practicing colleagues including MDs, DOs, PsychDs, DPTs, & PharmDs; that Nursing Should have a practice doctorate(DNP) and a research Doctorate(PhD). The DNP would serve as the terminal degree for those wishing to go into the clinical practice of Nursing and the research (PhD) for those who wanted to go into research and education of Nursing!! Tadaaah, NO more alphabet soup among Doctorally Prepared Nurses!!! Likewise, this Paradigm shift helped to further make the discipline of nursing strong and continues to solidify Nursing as a freestanding discipline with its own body of knowledge and it’s own unique practitioners. Consequently not all DNP programs have the The same rigors of training , yet they all should have the same basic core competencies in order to designate a graduate is a DNP!! With my being in one of the first few cohorts of DNP from the FIRST institution to offer and grant the DNP degree(University of Tennessee health science Center), I can say firsthand and With 100% accuracy that our degree has validity and my program had rigors beyond what some of you may even know!! We had to do long residency hours as well as produce a final project or publication!! And I graduated doing a time when most healthcare providers including fellow nurses did not even know what that degree meant or what it would do for the discipline of nursing!! We were trendsetters and game changers!! When I graduated there were even proposals that in order to carry the name of the doctor of nursing practice, the medical community was challenging us to take the step three of the United States medical licensure examination!! However the strong body of nurses, advanced practice nurses, nursing advocates, policy makers and nursing Political Action Committees that existed and still exists, fought to maintain that one discipline could not dictate the role of nor test the knowledge of another discipline!! So again, those of you who are talking down about the DNP Degree and you are nurses; you may want to rethink things and become better educated on the power of this degree and it’s inception into the medical community!! I don’t mean to offend anyone, but just trying to speak the truth!! If we nurses don’t stand up for NURSING how will any other discipline respect us!! And for the record we are not trying to be a “junior doctors” but “Maximum nurses!!”

    5. I recognize a DNP is not for everyone. I do not agree that it is a “waste of time and money.” Learning is never wasted. While one can learn without a structured program, it is difficult to do research in human environments without the backing of an educational institution. I still use the depth of material I gathered doing my Masters project. A doctorate is necessary to teach future NPs. And good to have to teach RNs at the AD and BS levels.

    6. I am working on mine (half way through), but ONLY because I started teaching a few years ago and ended up loving it, so I want to make sure I would be fairly marketable in the future. I also considered PhD and education programs, but thought the DNP would be best since I still work as a NP. I can’t say it was the wrong decision, but I tell everyone who asks not to bother (for reasons stated in this article)!

    7. I completely agree 110%. What’s even better is, I have my DNP! I did the BSN-DNP because that was what I was told I needed to do to be the best NP. (Insert eyeroll). It was a waste of time and money and provides no further benefit to my clinical practice. All it has done for me has served as a conversation topic of “what not to do.” People who ask me if they should do it, my answer is always without hesitation, “definitely not!” I agree with the person who replied suggesting that NPs spend their time and money (typically a pay cut) and complete a fellowship/ residency program instead! Much better use of resources! Furthermore, if you want to focus on theory and research, I suggest your PhD…

    8. I hear what you are saying but the undertones of anger are visible in your blog. You are making a choice which is what life is all about. It sound like you feel DNP is a bad choice. Maybe it’s not for you but it really was an amazing journey for me. Getting the DNP or PhD is valuable and helps further our profession just as your clinical practice does. Hope you create those businesses.

    9. I disagree with your post. I obtained my DNP after practicing as a NP for 8 years. I found the degree to be very beneficial. I highly recommend the program especially for those who wish to transition into a leadership role or have interest in quality improvement.

      Most hospital organizations provide reimbursement for tuition resulting in little cost for the employee. As for opening a business such as your own practice, patients like the fact your are a DNP.

      Go for it!! Practicing to the highest level of your degree is important.

    10. Agreed 110%!!!! Have a nerd at work doing this now and his actual clinical practice skills leave a lot to be desired. Too bad the evidence in the actual clinical outcomes!!!
      Doubting Deb

    11. BRAVO ?? . I have been saying this for YEARS !! i’ve been NP for 16 yrs , basically only one without DNP but like Columbia University put out an article , there will be a CRISIS or shortage of CLINICAL NPs because 85% of these programes are non-clinical . Nurses are getting DNPs with little or no clinical experience.. LOVE your boldness to say it as it is !

    12. Get it but do not agree with your points. I have been an RN since 1995, FNP since 2011 and really loved my DNP program… although I would not admit that to my instructors.
      To clear the obvious question, yes, I like to be called the doctor but do most of my patients use that term with me… No. I also understand that obtaining my doctorate does not make me a “physician“ and that the term doctor was given to people who had scholarly advanced to the maximum of their professional education.
      To the other obvious elephant in the room, yes it does have a financial cost. I have found many programs however will offer discounts, deductions, grants and some Magnet seeking hospital systems will help you cover these costs. I did not have the good fortune of being able to obtain any of these financial assistance and will be paying for it along with the rest of my nurse practitioner education.
      Your highlighted points of being able to open additional income revenue by starting businesses is an excellent point but I didn’t learn how easy it was to start a business till I took that course and my doctorate program.I will admit that I do not know what the coursework is across the country for other DNP programs but I went the route of advanced practice DNP and stayed local. My comfort of sitting in the hospital board room or the city Health and Human Services Board where I now serve as a board member would not have been as easy if I had not gone through my DNP ‘imposter syndrome’ education.
      I was a previous ER nurse, cardiology nurse, ran a lipid clinic, put myself through NP school and for lack of better words worked my butt off.I did not consider myself “unable” to read the literature to get a better understanding of research but without the impetus of having to turn in an assignment and discuss it with other like minded nurses, I never would have finished my NP program or my DNP program.
      I would love to be naturally gifted, to be able to start my own business or to be a “natural leader” but since I was not and wanted to be, I found my DNP education to be one of the best choices in my life.

      Just my 0.02$.
      Dr. Ruth Gibson, DNP, FNP-C, CLS
      Proud Old Dominion University Grad, 2011 AND 2018

    13. I have my DNP. I agree everyone does not needed it. They have been saying it is going to be entry level. That’s crap. They have been saying BSN is going to be entry level for rn since at least 1985.
      What does a DNP really do? Academia. I wanted this. I already had an Education Specialist Certificate and 20 years experience. Administration. I knew I’d never get an administrative position in my old job without it. Funny thing is, I’m not there anymore. Program Management is what we are really trained to do. It does NOTHING to make you a better nurse in any way. In fact there are no Nursing courses. It’s more like a mini research / MBA combo. You only get your money back if you get a promotion. MT former job paid for mine so l incurred no debt with mine. I am among the limited few. I was going to do it anyway though. I really wanted to do it.
      So, unless you REALLY want to and see it as a career move ether you can get sum ROI. I wouldn’t bother. Don’t get me wrong. It has mover me forward a great deal but it was something l wanted to do and l had a plan.

    14. THANK YOU! I believe a DNP is an unnecessary and expensive degree. Concerning teaching at the university level?, get an Ed.D

    15. Sales gimmick?? This is basically saying we should settle for less in regards to IOM recommendations to practice to the full extent as well as giving the AMA fuel to continue to advance medical doctors instead of NPs and continue to limit our scope of practice in the US when there are so many people that have limited access to healthcare.
      I have obtained my DNP and it is the best decision that I have ever made. And yes I have my own business license, I’m a contractor, I get to choose what practice I do, and I am also doing telemedicine.
      And yes, if you don’t feel that DNP degree is what’s right for you, then don’t do it. But don’t discourage others from not doing it because of the cost. There is so much more to it than that.

    16. 100% agree – however, if you have any aspirations of teaching, then this will likely be necessary. I did a BSN-DNP program where I conferred the MSN, and could continue the DNP if desired. It was 16 more credits, of classes that have zero relevance clinically. All policy, process implementation / improvement, leadership, education, ect. I did this for the sole purpose of teaching online in the future at the graduate level in addition to a telehealth business. So if it is a thought, finding a similar program would be the way to go. I would have never do it as a post masters at 30 or more credits. Truly wish it was more of a clinical approach – however I did find working with the IHI informative. End goal is to travel and work from my Prevost 😉


  1. ” Ah, nursing… lets over complicate things…” Ain’t it the truth!! How many ways can you be a nurse and how many degrees and credentials are there to keep everyone confused.

    I completed my DNP at the “request” of my academic employer….my affiliated clinical employer doesn’t even recognize it- literally no benefit to me financially or in practice, but makes the academic site look better on paper. IT was a bunch of “hoop jumping” to fill time and create more stress. I would not have pursued it, but the school of nursing paid for it and needed to keep that job. Really glad to have found your site!

    1. I like to call it the “Nursing Academia Scam” that takes advantage of nursing insecurities. I am sorry you wasted so much time on the DNP. It is a total sham that does not benefit the far majority of NPs.

      1. Thank you so much for the article. I have tried very hard to find a clinical based DNP program- it does not exist. I am not a leader, but I have been told that I am a great team player. Thank you for this article and for the comments

    2. 21 years as a Nurse practitioner and I signed up for a DNP at UMKC in Kansas City. The program department head wanted everyone to read the APA format book front to back. I would prefer to become more skilled at taking care of mental health issues of my patients and becoming a better medical provider.

  2. After 23 years of clinical practice as an FNP in rural areas , the bottom line is delivering compassionate care and looking into the eyes of your patients ( not the computer) . I can look up information on I would not do this kind of program as academic nursing settings cause suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately I had an abusive nursing teacher and she systematically tortured students, her goal was to shame and make them quit. I would never go back to that setting . No thanks . I don’t care if someone calls me doctor.I am a Nurse practitioner and very proud to bring decades of experience to my patients. Yes I am grateful for my education but that was 10 stones in the pile . I have since added 10 million stones to the pile from experience. I went to an ivy league school.

    1. Exactly, it is a toxic situation. Like you said, look up clinical information on up to date. It is not difficult. Experience trumps a DNP. After practicing as a NP for multiple years, a DNP will do nothing for you. Well said.

      1. Agree. Another scam. If nursing schools paid nursing instructors as they should be paid it would be helpful. What kind of nurse wants/needs to be called “doctor”?

        1. “What kind of nurse wants to be called a doctor?” I don’t understand. What about Nurses who have there PhD degree? Having a doctoral degree does not mean you are a physician?? or am I wrong??lol

    2. I agree with you. Graduated Yale School of Nursing Family nurse pracitioner track in 1982. Now work locums in AK. Finished a book and looking for an agent — about my daughter’s suicide 10 years ago and the American-era deaths of despair. I study and read and yes use up to date and years of experience. I can’t imagine going back for a DNP, esp given my age. But wouldn’t do it if I were 20 years younger.

      1. It was very difficult at the time , the discrimination. Fortunately I accessed the University Mental Health Services and they advised never meeting with her alone and to take a tape recorder with me and place it on the desk . good advice. Any one with power can abuse it .

  3. Spoken from the perspective of someone who has no idea what they are talking about. This article was a waste of 2 minutes of my life and did nothing to advance the professionalism of advanced practice nurses. Thank goodness you’ll retire early. We don’t need someone like you in the profession.

    1. We all need to utilize evidence based practice. We have thankfully many online resources . This is especially important for those of us who practice in the rural setting . It is also helpful to notice over time medications and protocols that you use yourself that are successful. You don’t get that in school. I find one of the key things I do differently from the “Drs” is to take time to explain things in a way that the patient can understand and use . Yes this takes more time . Many Drs and specialists do not have the time to do this . That is being professional . Good communication.

  4. Beautifully put. Yes I “work” in three practices (more like fun) and have the side business. Don’t need extra letters. And I work in polo shirts and jeans. Patients ask what they should call me….I tell them my first name. They are good in what they do and I am good at what I do….we just do different things.

    1. Hey, nothing wrong with jeans. All the patient cares about is feeling better. A DNP does not help a vast number do that. Focus on those businesses and living a free life. Cheers!

  5. It is an interesting perspective to look at the DNP. NPs go for the DNP for various reasons. There are some who get satisfaction with the title of DNP as well as there are others who see the DNP as a terminal degree in nursing practice. Most importantly, the APRN Consensus Model had 2015 as the time line for DNP to be the minimum qualification to practice as an APRN. Those who were already practicing as APRN before 2015 were to be grand fathered.
    I personally had mine in 2014 because I did not want to be grand fathered. I do not regret having it. I think there are some NPs who look at it from my perspective too.

  6. The curriculum needs a major overhall. Most of those things were in NO programs. Doctorate of Nursing Practice should focus on practice.

  7. So we are not going to look at parity when we think about a DNP and of course, every Pharmacist should have a doctorate and we shouldn’t? If you don’t think it is important to be at the table with a consistent level of required entry into practice degree then you are not interested in Independendant practice. It is that simple and for those who don’t see the value in the knowledge and skill you obtained in your DNP program, I say that two things can be true. First, the place you got that degree didn’t do a good enough job helping you to understand your power or you didn’t listen.
    I spend a great deal of time talking about why we have multiple ways to enter into a profession with a standard license examination and every time I try it is harder to convince myself and others that it makes sense. Lets get on the bus and do something we haven’t done well in the past. Lets use the power of sheer numbers and actual evidence to support the idea that the more we know and the more synchronicity our message has the more we can change our place at the table.

    1. The problem is the sheer number of DNPs out there and how many schools continue to pump out. Have you talked to PHDs with degrees in advanced sciences? The DNP is a joke comparatively… Make the DNP a clinical and science based degree that furthers your clinical skills. As it stands right now, it does not help many in the clinical setting.

    2. The doctorate in pharmacy and PT is actually their entry into practice. The DNP is not entry into practice in nursing, that would be the AD, diploma, BSN, etc. – nursing has in fact not made any progress in standardizing our actual entry to practice degree. I don’t think conflating an advanced nursing practice degree to the entry degree in other disciplines is helpful.

    3. The title of DNP will not change our position at the table. MDs will still see us as nurses with advanced degrees. We do not have the same depth of clinical education they do and they will always believe that. I’ve seen so many people with countless letters behind their names and it just appears sad – like trying to make themselves believe they are important and smart. I feel validated by my patient’s comments and appreciation for taking time to ask them questions listening and taking them seriously. While I don’t discourage anyone who wants to further their education soley for the joy of learning, I do discourage using it only to “advance our profession”. I advance our profession everyday I offer myself to my clients – and I just have FNP-C behind my signature.

      1. Well said. I have NP behind my name, that is sufficient for patients. Like you said, I advance our profession by providing excellent clinical care and expanding my practice empire. That shows the world we are capable of anything. No a bunch of letters behind your name that you paid for.

    1. Maybe whether the letters behind your name were earned or just paid for depends on whether you went to an actual school , perhaps with bricks and mortar or an on line program for your degree. Might have something to do with the quality of care you are providing as well. Quality matters.

  8. Yep! I looked into getting a DNP, until I saw the bs classes and how they would not improve my clinical practice whatsoever…I also couldn’t find a program for under 30K. If there would be a pay increase at the end, maybe; but there isn’t. It’s just a money-making scam.

  9. Thank you for posting this! It’s a very good read, logical and helps one to make a sound decision on spending that EXTRA money to be called Dr. NP. I totally agree with this. There are many of my colleagues returning back to school to obtain this degree for validation, personal development and professional development; when they can do all this on they’re own. Again, thanks again!

  10. To each his own! Life is about what makes an individual happy in “their” lives not anyone else’s. If pursuing the DNP is not gratifying to you then so be it. What works for you may not work for everyone else. It sounds like you like to be called “doctor ” but don’t chose to devote the time and money to earn the title. It also appears that your goal is to discourage others from pursuing their DNP. For me it was a personal goal to obtain the highest degree in Nursing, as i started my nursing career 29 years ago as a LPN. My advice to everyone is to do whatever makes you feel fulfilled!

    1. Thank you. I agree, to each his own. Professional nurses should be encouraging life long learning. I am interested in facts and not in someone’s opinion.

  11. I looked into too. Many programs were close to $40000. Yikes. I was in my late 50’s at the time. No way I was gonna so that.
    Recertify had a DNP student that I prevented. What she had to do for her DNP project was less then I had to do for my Master’s!I I was shocked.
    Those of us who got a master’s when we still had to take the GRE and get a decent score to get into grad school, then had to write publishable articles and create teaching materials to be used in current practices, should receive a DNP. Beats a poster project with limited research.

  12. I looked into too. Many programs were close to $40000. Yikes. I was in my late 50’s at the time. No way I was gonna do that.
    Recently I was a preceptor for a DNP student. What she had to do for her DNP project was less then I had to do for my Master’s! I was shocked.
    Those of us who got a master’s when we still had to take the GRE and get a decent score to get into grad school, then had to write publishable articles and create teaching materials to be used in current practices, should receive a DNP. Beats a poster project with limited research.

    1. I entered my program in 1994 , had to pass the entry test , and write papers. Once I was out I happened to meet Pam Shuler ( Nursing theory) I helped her write an article and it was published . It was a great experience and Pam is truly a wonderful warm academic as well as excellent clinician . Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
      Development of a Local Advanced Practice Nurse Coalition
      Pamela A. Shuler DNSc, CFNP, RNC Laura Hunter MSN, CFNP, CACNP, RN … See all authors
      First published: 24 May 2005
      Find what brings you Peace in your practice and education . I had fun writing the article but would I spend my life pursuing this? No , I have enjoyed a rich and full clinical practice. Would I want to spend more money on a DNP ? no thanks , I am interested in gardening , and hiking the beautiful mountains of Montana. It all comes down to supply and demand , if you are in a shortage area doctors and administrators love you , if you are in an area competing with them not so much . Enjoy life!

    1. There are many avenues to obtain $10k on the side. You are a NP, figure out a niche practice and go for it. Personally I love Men’s Health and Medical Cannabis, and I do VERY well with it.

  13. If I may ask: why so much hate about DNP? People pursue different degrees based on their personal reasons. If it’s not for you, then, leave it alone. It doesn’t matter what anyone says on this thread, if it doesn’t agree with your beliefs, you will trash it, with your condescending attitude. You don’t agree with it, then, let it go. Don’t leash your bitterness on others. Yeesh!

    1. I totally agree! Why all the hate? If anything, we should be encouraging advanced degrees and greater education, not knocking it. How about we get rid of the diploma and ADN degrees instead of trashing the DNP degree? How about we set national guidelines that will make an advanced degree in nursing a requirement after certain years of practice? Why do we as nurses have to settle for lower degrees? Why not standardize these degrees? Are there associate degrees for medicine? Pharmacy? Why so many degrees for nursing? We should WANT to be parallel to other medical professions. But instead, you choose to bash those that decide to advance their education. I wonder, what’s the real motive behind this opinion?

      1. Parallel other medical professions? Please tell me other licensed clinical providers that spend a year doing nothing but fluff work? Optometrists, dentist, podiatrists, MDs, DOs, and pharmacists certainly don’t. They are being trained clinically and in the sciences. The DNP does not do this. It is a joke. My bachelors in biology was more difficult than my MSN in nursing….

  14. I can see that several of you really have no clue … I would be hesitant to have you as my nurse, let alone my NP.

    1. Thank you. I agree, to each his own. Professional nurses should be encouraging life long learning. I am interested in facts and not in someone’s opinion.

  15. Sigh. I just LOVE to see people in our own profession write things like this so it can be used against us by physicians who will tell us a DNP means nothing & use your words to continue to advocate against full practice. Thanks Justin Allan!

    1. Agreed 100%. I have the DNP title. I deal with physicians daily that use these types of things to decrease the merit of our profession. I don’t feel that I was scammed by obtaining my degree. It was personal. I have been an NP for 5 years and was an RN for 22 years before returning to school to obtain my BSN, MSN in nursing education, post-masters NP, and DNP. I own a private practice and I am nursing faculty. My doctoral experience and my path to “personal” success have enlightened my ability to practice and additionally heightened my ability to educate others about the multiple avenues of success that our profession provides. We should encourage others to seek knowledge that advances personal and professional success and refrain from degrading titles that we don’t have. I have no problem with others in my profession that did not choose to obtain a doctorate. I prefer not to offend others by referring to their achievements as a scam. This blog would not exist if the author had a DNP or any other terminal degree.

      1. I can assure you the blog would still exist because the point of the blog is to empower NPs to venture on their own. A DNP is not necessary for that. That is the point of the article.

  16. Great article! I totally agree! I am currently working on my MSIs (multiple streams of income. In my opinion and for my personal goals this is the direction I will be taking. Thank you!

  17. This article is silly. A DNP is a another step toward furthering your career as a nurse – you shouldn’t be shamed into thinking it’s anything but that. I have a DNP and I have never, in my career, asked to be called “doctor.” It’s SUPER COOL that you’re retired at the age of 52 and have vacations to plan – BUT WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH HAVING A DNP? In my opinion, this is nurse bullying. You can’t/don’t want to get a DNP? Whatever! (No one actually cares). But don’t shit on those who choose to. We’ve got to stop accepting that these kind of articles are ok in nursing. Lets support each other, not being each other down.

    1. My goal is to enlighten those who are thinking about getting a DNP and are interested in furthering their financial life.

  18. OMG, thank you! I am not the only one that thinks the DNP title and degree is a waste of time and money. This is degree adds nothing, absolutely nothing, to your clinical practice. It does add financial burden and research with leadership. Umm, hate to tell you you should have been able to research and be a leader at the master’s level. If not, you should get your money back from your master’s program. Now, if they do begin to offer a clinical based DNP that will help clinical skills or medical knowledge (like a speciality or etc) then I bet you will have all the nurse practitioners interested. But until then you can have your “doctor” title that is basically a research PhD.

  19. As a DNP, it’s very insultive reading this post and responses. I have been practicing as a Board Certified FNP for 15 years in which I obtained my DNP in 2011. From my perspective, obtaining a DNP degree is not a waste of time or money. It helps me to be able to think outside of the box, to wear many hats instead of seeing just black and white, it makes me to be an effective critical thinker and most importantly been able to provide the highest quality of care to my patients. Achieving a DNP is not BS, it’s advancing your education and knowledge so that you can be at least better educated in working with for example, MDs. DNP is not about the title Dr. but for better patient care and outcome.

    1. Truthful question. Do you really feel you couldn’t think like that with your FNP or MSN? I had stat and informatics and leadership in my MSN program.
      I don’t see where getting a DNP is going to make me a more creative thinker. To me it’s just a bunch of research, time, and money that doesn’t change my clinical practice at all.

  20. As I read this, I’m filled with a mixture of anger and utter disbelief. Though it does remind me of the fact that nurses have been cutting each others throats like this for generations. We are the only field in existence where people hear their colleagues thinking about advancing their degrees and careers and actively lobby against. You think your physician colleagues are going through this? Doubtful. Do educators go through this? Nope. I agree with your first amendment right to express whatever opinion you have. But it’s my first amendment right to be able to tell you, you’re wrong. If you don’t feel like a DNPis right for you then don’t do it. But it’s your duty as a professional to encourage your colleagues to better themselves not how you feel they should but how they feel they should.

  21. I am nearly finished my DNP program, and it has been an incredibly fulfilling journey. I am pursuing DNP essential V and have become passionate about policy. Pursuing a DNP is not for everyone, but it is also quite true to form of the old adage of nurses eating their young to MOCK pursuing a DNP. Why must nurses mock other nurses for what they do, what they pursue? Why the insistence of being rude? If it is not for you, then, by all means, don’t do it.

    1. We need nurses at the policy table and in the political arena. It is the utter ignorance of politicians like Maureen Walsh the Washington Senator who poked fun at nurses earlier this year. We need intelligent well spoken nurses with terminal degrees to elevate our profession. A DNP is not worthless, there aren’t enough hours in our MSN programs to teach the leadership skills required to propel our profession forward. Congratulations on your degree.

  22. As a DNP practicing for 6 years here are my thoughts.
    1. It’s up to you whether you wish to pursue a doctorate or masters degree in Nursing. Having a doctorate degree is important to some of us, it may be a matter of personal satisfaction or income increase.
    2. I strongly believe that ANY amount of time or money invested in education is NEVER wasted. You will always learn something valuable. ALWAYS! But maybe that’s why I also chose to invest time in becoming fully bilingual in Spanish. I guess some of us are just nerds to the core!
    3. My DNP thesis project taught me to come up with a solution to a healthcare problem and actually implement it into clinical practice. I created a pilot clinic to teach, manage and implement sustainable therapeutic life style changes for patients diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome. I have been invited to present my project in clinical conferences attended by MD’s, PAs and NPs. Thanks to my DNP and thesis, I am currently in charge of the health promotion clinic where I work. When the 6 physician partners (that own the practice) were thinking about the best person to lead this health promotion clinic; I was asked to organize it, manage it lead it, and be 100% in charge of it. All because I am the only “midlevel provider” that understood the value of delayed gratification and invested the time and money in a doctorate degree.
    4. Creating the Health Promotion Clinic at my work came with a 30,000 dollar pay increase per year. I would dare say (if my math is right) that in the first year it already paid for my DNP degree and I had a little extra cash leftover for vacations.
    5. If you haven’t noticed, other fields such as pharmacy, physical therapy and PAs are preparing their professionals with doctorate degrees. Why should Nursing lag behind other healthcare professions? Nursing is not overcomplicated, nursing is unsupportive. RNs don’t see the value of obtaining a BSN and MSNs don’t see the value of obtaining a DNP.
    I truly wish you the best when you retire on your mountain cabin at age 52. At age 40, I have visited China, France, Spain, Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico and Portugal with my husband and children. I too, plan to retire in my 50s.
    In conclusion, suit yourself and get the degree that you want, BUT don’t discount the value of extra education and discourage others from obtaining a degree that could open many professional opportunities with increase in income.
    6. I appreciate you tipping your hat in my direction for being called a doctor. Apparently the physicians in my practice also tip their hat in my direction when they address me as doctor without a second thought. The greatest satisfaction of all…. when my children are asked “What does your mom do for a living ” and with a twinkle in their eye they say… she’s a Doctor or Nursing Practice.

    1. Alison, it gives me great joy to read your post. I was so appalled by this article that I was speechless until I read your post that actually share my sentiments about this baseless post and gave me great joy to have people like you in this noble profession. One of the best decisions I have made in my life is to obtain my DNP after 20 years of clinical practice including 7 years as an FNP. I have no idea why anyone thinks that the a DNP prepared APRN is trying to compete with a physician, we are not. Most doctoral degree programs in the medical field include a component of clinical research that does not involve a residency but an internship program(1-6 months based on the project). Some of my classmates spent the whole 2 years that they were attending classes working on their projects until completion.. My scholarly project involved developing an educational /training program that helped to reduce falls on a geriatric behavioral health unit. After completing my project, there was a tremendous reduction in falls on that unit and the clinical staff felt more confident in preventing falls on that unit. I recently opened my own mental health practice and to tell you the truth , I feel like completing my DNP gave me more leverage and confidence to approach facilities and physicians for their contracts. Since opening my practice in July of this year, I have generated over 10000 dollars along with claims that are still pending to be paid for at least 6000 dollars. I keep my overhead low and believe that it will take me less than 6 months to generate the cost of my DNP program which I think was nicely done at the University of Miami that is heavily embedded in clinical research and clinical simulation . Additionally, most of the physicians and facilities that I contracted with, value my expertise and were more than elated to have me on board. I am now putting a cap on how many contracts I want to accept. I am here to tell you that we are getting no where in the nursing profession if we continue to have that kind of attitude towards those of us who choose to obtain our doctoral degree. People in the community and other clinical providers would value us more if we did not have people like the one who wrote this post finding any baseless reason to knock down those of us in nursing who want to advance our knowledge in the nursing profession. Lastly, being good at what you do requires being proactive and putting the time into learning more and more about your craft. Anyone in any profession including nurses and physicians can also be lousy at what they do if they just rely in what is being taught to them without any additional efforts to master their craft. One more thing, I am always amazed when those with DNP defend themselves for being called ” Doctor”. I proudly embrace being called a doctor just like my colleague at the University that I teach who welcomes being called ” doctor” with an Ed.D. I also am proud to be called a ” Doctor of Nursing Practice” because I have all the skills to actually save a life and spent an extra 8 years of my life beyond my undergraduate studies getting an MSN, two post masters certificates and a doctoral degree. I also find that many of my patients express their positive opinions on my advancing my education and also expressed their appreciation for having someone with my expertise care for them.

      1. The goal of the article is to enlighten those thinking about getting a DNP for an increase in financial and professional gain. Which is does little for.

        If you feel like you needed the DNP to help you start your practice, than great! I hope your business succeeds! But many of us do not need a DNP to start a business. I own multiple and it would not benefit me. Starting a business is simple and can be done by yourself. That is the point of this blog is to empower NPs to venture on their own. A DNP is not necessary for that.

  23. Experience is the real education. I always thought that the DNP was education promoting itself. Congratulations to those who wanted to do this. Not for me.

  24. I am currently near completion of my DNP program. I am a family nurse practitioner and I was hesitant to begin my pursuit of my terminal degree. I must admit, I have learned so much about process improvements on both the facility, local, state, and national level. Now, I fully understand the importance of outcome measures and truly reviewing literature prior to initiating a process change. I am thankful I did the DNP journey and have truly grown even more more after 31 years of nursing. I do not understand the negativity by so many nurses to belittle advanced education. No one is forcing you to continue your advanced practice, but respectfully encourage, rather than hate, those who choose to do more. Respectively, Eleanor Lomzenski

  25. There is a lot of bashing here. Hiw sad. There is nothing wrong with having a DNP. And before you start judging no I am not a DNP. People are motivated for different reasons. What is the real problem here?

  26. I have my DNP. My reason for getting it was twofold: I believe we should have the highest degree available to us to promote our profession and it was for my personal satisfaction. I was a so so student in high school and went to college as a non-traditional student, always doubted myself, and graduated with a 3.91. Digging your heels in and saying you won’t without going beyond “reading the curriculum” does nothing to further our profession or promote independent practice and only furthers the divide between physicians and NPs. Pharmacists, lawyers and physicians, to name a few, have to obtain their capstone degree in order to practice. Why should we be any different?

  27. Did my DNP and I got paid more money because of it (after preaching it of course ) and was chosen over the masters candidates . Company said it made em “look better” to have DNP prepared staff. Whatever that means ! However – I was given a full ride scholarship . No loans ever . Surely I wouldn’t of pursued this level Dantes Inferno without that . So , it is what it is . How does that goofy tattoo go ? No regerts !

  28. A bunch of insecure NPs here. Seriously guys. IF YOU CAN’T and DON’T WANT TO DO IT, DON’T TELL EVERYBODY THEY SHOULDN’T DO IT. There is a lot more to the whole DNP experience than just being called a “Dr.”. I don’t have my DNP and I’m not defending them but It’s embarrassing to see all the people here and their crab mentality. So disappointing.

  29. Interesting article, but I disagree with your conclusion – that a DNP is “BS”. I have been a nurse and nurse-midwife for over 30 years, and I chose to return to school for my DNP in order to teach. My DNP program at Vanderbilt was exceptional, and gave me a huge step up in understanding how to change practice on the systems level. It’s true that there are many people born with the leadership/change agent skills – I overcame many obstacles to open my own practice and fight the system for the families I served in the 90;s. I was successful, but I can honestly look back and see how I could have done a better job and been more successful with my current level of knowledge. I don’t criticize your choice – there’s nothing wrong with finding other ways to invest your energy & skills. Alternately, you need not judge such programs as “BS” when you have not been actually enrolled in one. To each his/her own…enjoy your choice. My choice to get a DNP was one of the best things in my life, and I am enjoying my clinical practice, my role as an professor, and my enhanced ability to change the world.

  30. Granted it was the ‘70’s but I learned the most in my associate degree RN and working with in critical care and research. But I was put down by hospital programs RN and BSN programs grads. Eventually jobs required BSN grads so I went back and hated the program. All theory and philosophies. Meanwhile being at the bedside was less and less. I got my MSN NP decades later and a loved being an NP. My niece is now in MSN NP plus doctorate program. She was pressured by the school to get doctorate. At least at her age of 28 she won’t be forced to go back for another degree. Btw the nurses barely see the patients. I was shocked when my sister was ill. the Tech emptied jp drains, did fresh wound dressing, new ileostomy care, drew blood cultures etc.
    patients have suffered the consequences.

  31. Granted it was the ‘70’s but I learned the most in my associate degree RN and working with in critical care and research. But I was put down by hospital programs RN and BSN programs grads. Eventually jobs required BSN grads so I went back and hated the program. All theory and philosophies. Meanwhile being at the bedside was less and less. I got my MSN NP decades later and a loved being an NP. My niece is now in MSN NP plus doctorate program. She was pressured by the school to get doctorate. At least at her age of 28 she won’t be forced to go back for another degree. Btw the nurses barely see the patients. I was shocked when my sister was ill. the Tech emptied jp drains, did fresh wound dressing, new ileostomy care, drew blood cultures etc.
    patients have suffered the consequences.

  32. I have been saying this since the conception of a DNP. This is strictly to benefit aDNP programs and has nothing to do with quality patient care. Fortunately, I have been in practice long enough to be “grandfathered in” without threat to continued practice. The BRN says it will make us more professional. Ha! I don’t see any of my colleagues getting paid an increased professional wage for getting their DNP. I can’t tell my DNP colleagues from my FNP colleagues. That’s a fact.

  33. I work in Family Practice, have experience, and a DNP, of which my employer completely paid for while working full-time. For me it was a no-brainer if my employer was totally paying for it. However, I had already had my MSN in Healthcare Leadership and certificate in Family Practice before I went for the DNP, and the program was not 12 months but 28 months. Most respectable professions offer PHD or doctorate level work, why not nursing? Why does anyone go through that much education? It’s our societal mores. Because our society, whether we like it or not, wants reassurance that their providers are qualified to care for them, have the experience and achievements that set them above all others. You could argue why does a physician need to spend 8 years in school? Most of their studies, except human A & P and the actual study of medicine, is not applied. How many of us have college degrees and most of our course work does not or will not apply to what we are or will be doing in the future. Yes, the education system is a “racket” and way too costly, that is an issue in this country. You may think it is a waste of time, but it not to me, my employer, nor to my patients. Higher learning is an individual choice, of which I personally respect . It does not make me less compassionate or a snob. I pray every day that God would give me love, compassion, and wisdom for every patient that walks into my exam rooms. Because, whether I have degrees or not, my world and profession is about caring, giving, helping, loving, ministering, using my intelligence, the list goes on and on! Let’s not be judgemental people, but embrace all the levels of education that nursing offers!!!

  34. Iam interested in learning about the side businesses you are proposing. I did a semester in a DNP program and realized it was not worth my time or money, so I dropped out. I have friends that pursued a DNP because they were in academia and not clinical. I would like to back for my psych np certification.

    1. Is the psych degree really going to be worth your time though? Can you not utilize your FNP (which is what I assume you have) for your financial gain at this point instead of wasting more money?

  35. I am a MD in my home country, China. I also completed my PhD in Pathology, fellowship in becoming a medical examiner to perform autopsy in the USofA.
    However, I could not secure a residency for my MD after many attempts
    So, I had no choice but to opt for FNP route in order to treat live patients.
    I work in the coroner’s office, urgent care centers and family practice. In the urgent care centers and family practice, DNPs and PhDs are not allowed to be called DOCTORS. Only MDs and DOs. Why is this so?

  36. Could we think big picture here as a nursing profession? You are not seeing a benefit to the DNP in your clinical practice but there are bigger issues as well. Why should nursing be the LEAST prepared at the Health Care decision making table? when was the last time you were asked your opinion about issues in your organization?
    I have been an FNP for 33 years and have held many positions. Many felt like being an advanced practice staff nurse.
    The DNP isn’t for any NP over 50 as it will make no difference in the long run. But educating on issue such as evidence based practice and informatics ARE important to keep up (sounds as if this wasn’t taught well in previous comments). A DNP should be able to translate research to practice and do QI at the minimum. That is beyond being clinically competent.

  37. Super happy to read this. Been an NP for 30 years. My masters program was more intensive than those of today and after looking through several DNP program classes i thought to myself ” i have ALREADY done this” So many NPs have jumped on the DNP bandwagon i believe for professional peer pressure but no one i have talked to get any financial reward….hmmmm. And then they have to introduce themselves to their patients “Hi I am Dr Jane Smith your Nurse Practitioner” How confusing can that be to patients. Anyway if this is so important to the national nursing community maybe get rid of MSN altogether and jump right into a DSN program that encompasses everything ….like my masters program from 30 years ago

  38. I completed the MSN plus certification five years ago, only to find a saturated market in which I drove way too far (almost 100 miles/day) to work within my certification. After two years of that, I realized my time AND money were not improved by doing so. I am back in a non-provider role now, enjoying a better schedule at work and home. Now, how, exactly, would the DNP improve that situation? Probably not at all.

  39. I agree to everything you said. I have been thinking of going back to school to do my DNP but every time I think of what will I be after this, I realized that no benefits at all. I’m happy of my work as an NP. I know I am making a difference to my patients . I don’t plan to change career. Thank you for this. I thought I am the only one thinking this way. I don’t need the doctor to make a difference. . I am doing it now…

  40. I think the DNP is way over sold, like doctorates in many other fields these days. It certainly should not be the entry into practice, as some want. And I would strongly caution against anyone looking at a BSN to DNP program. However, it is incorrect to dismiss it completely as having no value. If your career goal as an NP is to be a clinician for your entire career then, yes, the DNP is a waste of your time. As pointed out, it isn’t a clinical degree. But if your career goals are to move into leadership or administrative roles, then I think there is value. The assertion that it is easy to simply find an evidence based guideline and effectively implement it in your practice reveals ignorance of that process. Leading effective practice change is challenging and requires specific knowledge and skill to do well. There are too many practices that attempt to “just implement guidelines” and call that evidence based practice. Perhaps that approach is part of the reason the healthcare system in the US continues to spend such large amounts of money on mediocre outcomes. There is an entire interdisciplinary field out of there called implementation science. It isn’t nursing that has unnecessarily complicated things. It is that changing behavior (particularly clinicians) and organizational culture is exceedingly difficult, which is recognized across disciplines and industries.

  41. I am the target market for these DNP programs. I would like to have the terminal degree so that I can transition into an educational environment in my later years.
    However, I cannot stomach the additional time sink and cost and the ZERO impact to my bottom line this would engender. I think a combined MSN-DNP program makes sense. But, I am loathe to go back to school AFTER I earned my MSN.
    I think if it were required by my employer (and reimbursed 90-100%) I would do it. As it sits now, the cost/benefit analysis is skewed too heavily towards ‘all cost/little benefit’

  42. Thank you so much for putting together how I have felt about the DNP degree. I have been an MSN family nurse practitioner since 1992, and when I see these young nurses, going through online NP programs, without the years of experience as an RN, and going right to DNP, that is a problem. Before I went on for the APRN, I had been a RN since 1984 and BSN since 1985! My PA colleagues have been stating that APRN are doing it “all online.” I do not defend this since I see the new PAs getting 2 years in their current programs.

  43. Justin Allen sounds a little bitter. I finished my DNP at age 24 and have done very well thank you. Cheers from the porch of my mountain house.

  44. Nice article. I’m on the FIRE pathway as well-being an NP is conducive to it. What do you do for your side incomes mentioned in the article?

    1. Multiple. I own a Men’s Health clinic, Medical Cannabis clinic, and some other businesses and real estate. There are so many opportunities out there with what the NP degree affords you.

  45. 110% Accurate!! This is the exact same argument made for years with ADN vs BSN…It all boils down to $$..Experience trumps the DNP all day, everyday….Why Nurses are so worried and insecure with their profession is beyond me. It seems that there is always a point to prove and frankly, it’s idiotic. If you want to be called DOCTOR in a clinical setting with patients, go to medical school—Problem solved
    We can always count on our profession to embarrass us with these crazy educational schemes and “specialty” certifications

  46. Columbia University just came out with a statement that the DNP is not clinically strong enough couldn’t agree more. Ok, so don’t cringe but I’m going to say it. Design it like medical school and I’d bet you’d have so many applicants you’d have to turn them away. That’s right, a program strong in pure sciences, rotations, specializations, and skills including surgery. Now we are talking.

  47. Have you found that some employers (MDs, especially) are hesitant to hire DNPs because of concern for potential role and title confusion for their staff and patients?
    The group I work with has indicated their reluctance to consider DNPs for these reasons. I also do not work in a FPA state.

    1. No, in fact many DESIRE us because we have taken the extra step. There is no role confusion. I and most of us follow Dr with “your blank Nurse Practitioner. There is more role confusion from Medical Residents not identifying themselves as such and the patient saying ” l wanted a real doctor”

  48. A year or 2 ago I would have agreed with you. Certainly late in one’s career it would be foolish to spend so much time and money for a piece of paper that won’t even increase your pay rate. However, with all the professions promoting doctorates-pharmacy, PT, PA, in order for us to have a voice and power in the field a DNP will be necessary. It is up to nursing programs to provide relevant and important education.

    1. I know plenty of PTs and pharmacists who do not have doctorate degrees and are VERY successful. Look at the pharmD. A lot of pharmacy schools opened and the market became flooded with “doctors of pharmacy.” SALARIES HAVE DECREASED SO HAVE JOB PROSPECTS. Open your eyes, it is happening to us now too.

  49. I have had my DNP for over 5 years and it has been very beneficial to me because I love to teach. I work full time as a NP and teach online part-time. If you are interested in education and teaching online then I find that DNP program is beneficial. Most MSN programs require you to have a doctorate to teach the didactic courses vs clinical courses. This also opens doors to teach doctoral courses as well. The supplemental income is great.


  50. Thanks for confirming what I have been stressing to my fellow NP colleagues who have been trying to get me to pursue the DNP. Who cares about the “doctor” title! I’ll take equation #2……”$20,000 + 12-24 months = multiple income generating side businesses”

  51. It is unfortunate that you feel this way. Yes, anyone can look up clinical guidelines on UpToDate or other internet sites, but the DNP is so much more than that. Reading the title of a course does not even begin to describe the knowledge gained by taking a quality course with faculty dedicated to the advancement of our profession. There are many proprietary schools that deliver a less than optimal experience but that should not taint those that are doing an excellent job. Earning a DNP is not about being called Doctor. “Doctor” is an academic title meaning a doctoral degree was earned. This is different from our professional title which would be Nurse Practitioner or physician or dentist etc. We are nurse practitioners with a terminal degree. Many health professions are now using terminal degrees as the requirement for their profession moving forward, such as physical therapy and pharmacy. Why don’t we encourage and support each other to earn the highest degree and gain the most knowledge possible if desired? As nurses we have a history of keeping each other down and in the process we keep our profession down. We complain that we don’t get the respect and value we deserve from others, yet we don’t give it to each other and date I say ourselves. So if you aren’t interested in earning your DNP, that is fine. Do what makes you happy. However please do not disparage the degree or those who choose to further their education and earn one. Put that energy into supporting them and your profession.

  52. I love being an FNP in primary care. I actually feel my 20 years of experience as an RN (with an earlier achieved masters in nursing that I added onto in NP school) prior to becoming an NP was paramount in how I approach and treat patients today. One of my collaborating physicians once told me, ” your patients will teach YOU, if you let them” and I believe he is absolutely on target.
    Yep, I am with you. I plan to write some books and focus on preventing disease and restoring health.

  53. Amen, brother! When I was graduating from UCLA’s masters program, several of the nursing faculty asked me to consider their (new) doctoral program. However, I wasn’t interested in doing research or teaching, at that time I wanted to be a clinician. I wanted to provide care to patients.
    The only valid reason I can think of earning a DNP is if the NP wants to teach at the graduate level. I have been a FNP for 25 years, and I have practiced in primary care, emergency medicine, urgent care, and pain management, as well as teaching and developing curriculum at the undergraduate level. My roles have ranged from being a generalist to a narrow specialty. I don’t regret my decision at all.

  54. Totally agree. Unfortunately it also leads to what is essentially representing yourself as on par with the MD which is clinical and a heck of a lot more useful education and clinical experience. I hear of young nurses all the time who go straight from RN to BSN to NP to DNP without hardly ever practicing as any kind of nurse clinically which is where most NPs work and where most of our clinical experience comes from unlike MDs. Comments such as “I will be a doctor” are so naïve and misrepresenting. In fact as a consumer I would be very hesitant to see a DNP at this point.

  55. I would love DNP programs to be more clinically focused too. Not worth it to me at this point in my life. I am curious about what type of part time businesses you’ve considered!

    1. There are so many. I own a Men’s Health clinic and a Medical Cannabis clinic in particular. Also dabble with nightly rentals etc… The skys the limit!

  56. Ditto to the worthless hoops nursing academia puts in advanced degree programs. I completed my FNP twenty years ago and was on clinical staff for many years, even doing precepting for DNP students. I had the opportunity to get my DNP soon after I graduated with my Masters. If there had been course work in clinical areas that would have supported my practice as an FNP, I would have done it. But no, the emphasis was on research, critical thinking and nursing diagnosis. No thank you. Maybe the Ivory Tower thinks those are important, but they are out of touch with reality–including with BSN degrees. Too much theory and not enough hands on. I’ve seen too many NP and DNP graduates that are not ready to practice.

  57. To all of you who have replied to this article, I beg to differ and defend the Doctoral path in Nursing. As a practicing DNP, I find that fellow colleagues ; such as medical doctors have much more respect for the practice of nursing. These other professionals realize that I too have dedicated my life to the profession of nursing, and taken it to the next level. Of course, it is a lot of classes that make no sense, but in the end of the thesis project and the review board deems that you have satisfied the requirements to become a Doctor; then it was worth it. When other doctors address you as Dr. H , and ask what do you think about this case or administrative issue; then yes it was worth the money. When your boss turns to you and says I know that I can entrust you with training the new staff physicians and other NPs, then it was worth it. When patients and students say, thank you, Dr. H, then yes it was worth the time and effort. When I go to promote my business, having Dr. in my name on my business cards; yes it makes it an awesome moment of accomplishment. No, I do not have a medical degree; I have a nursing degree! I believe in the power of nursing and it is proof positive when you become the DNP in practice.
    Therefore to all of the people who responded to this article; please rethink your role in the nursing profession. As a reminder our reasonable duty is to uphold each other and promote our profession, no matter the level. In closing, nursing is an intellectual discipline that holds power and influence, no matter where nursing is practiced. The DNP demonstrates the highest level of this discipline, so it stands to reason that this level of nursing is needed to carry the torch foward as an example of the true nursing savvy and convention. Please, let all of the nurses be an example to each other; the people we work with and those we serve. God Bless.

    1. The problem is that there are SO MANY DNPs. And it is an easy degree to get. It is not difficult. There are so many degree mills out there. It makes it look like a joke to many other professions.

  58. I’ve looked at the DNP course work several times and decided that no, it isn’t really relevant to every day clinical practice and won’t do much to improve my skills. Having said that, my MSN was only marginally better. I had to re-take a bunch of courses that I had already taken in my undergrad: nursing theory, community nursing, a *whole* semester dedicated solely to child development – “observing” pre-schoolers for 54 clinical hours. I only had one semester of pathophysiology – taught by an NP who couldn’t answer many of my questions, no course on lab interpretation or radiology, one optional lab course on clinical skills, and hit or miss clinical rotations, etc. It wasn’t horrible, just sorely inadequate.

    Having said that, I do think the title of “doctor” is important – hear my out before you all call me an elitist snob.

    For one thing, because we are working at the top our profession, it’s a title we have all earned and deserve – we shouldn’t sell ourselves short (mind you, I wouldn’t use the Dr. title with patients – not because I worry about being confused with being a physician – it’s easy enough to simply say, “I’m Dr. McCurdy, your nurse practitioner” – but because I think titles get in the way of the therapeutic relationship – we send the message that our patients are not peers – it’s patronizing, I think. But I digress).

    Second, on a practical level, having the title ” Dr.” would automatically include us when media, the pharmaceutical industry, government, etc. talk about seeing your “doctor”. They’re not going to change, so it’s up to us to include ourselves.

    Third, I believe a solid 3 years – rather than the current 2 years for the Master’s program is required considering our level of responsibility. That last year should be focused on clinical hours, while the first 2 years should focus on more intensive clinical study than we currently have. No more redundant courses, no BS courses like informatics and health policy (the current DNP tries to do too much – if one wants research, get the PhD, if you want a health policy degree get one, etc). All in all, a strong, comprehensive, clinically-focused program bathed in the holistic philosophy that the nursing profession brings.

    We need a complete overhaul of our NP programs. Our profession and our patients will be better off.

  59. Cannot agree more, and it is what I have been saying for years. 10-15 years ago we were told the DNP was going to become THE minimal standard of being an NP. I thought, first, ridiculous anyone could make demands like this in a scarcity market; and second, what does learning about policy do to make me a better PRACTITIONER???? If I thought it would make me a better PRACTICING nurse practitioner, I’d be all over a DNP. But a DNP primes you for policy and admin… NOT my interest. I’m in it for the bedside, for the people. As stated previously, keeps practice current for us by streamlining the process of EBP. I read 4 journals a month but we all know that one or two studies won’t and shouldn’t change your practice (even if you are really good at reading and interpreting them). makes determinations I could only get from reading dozens of journals, relying on, studies, and other prominent sources. Neither NPs nor DNPs are exempt from staying current, and can and should use sources such as these. Significantly, there is no pay recognition for a DNP, either. So tell me, what IS the upshot of a DNP?

  60. Absolutely agree! The more I looked at DNP curriculums the further I ran from the thought of doing it. It is BS and any nurse or nurse practitioner has been taught evidence based practice and like me has been practicing it her entire career. I’m proud to say UpToDate is a good friend and I don’t need someone to call me doctor. My happiness comes from seeing my patients have positive outcomes and improved health.

    1. Check out the rest of the blog. There are SO many possibilities out there. It is endless with a NP can create. Think of NICHE practices. Do not do urgent care or primary care. Think outside the box.

  61. After 20 years in practice I decided to go back for my DNP. I’m just about finished and I absolutely loved it. The professors and other students are supportive, encouraging, and really passionate about learning/teaching. I learned things I couldn’t have learned on my own, and I’m so happy I did it. The kinds of things I learned in my program aren’t in UpToDate. I learned about making a difference on the legislative level; about how to adopt QI into practice; about how to be a better leader and more supportive colleague. I have no intention of using the doctor title; that’s not why I went back to school. I simply needed to feel like I was growing, not getting stale, not burning out. My employer paid for the vast majority of it and I have a wonderfully supportive family. I realize it’s not for everyone (and not everyone has the financial and emotional support to do it) but it is a great environment for some people. I hate to see so much negativity from people who never even tried. If you don’t want a DNP, don’t get one. I’m sure you’re making the right choice for you. But I don’t see the benefit in spewing negativity, especially when you have no first-hand experience in the matter. I don’t WANT to open a business, but I’m so happy for my friends that have. Just because I don’t want to doesn’t mean it has no value for someone else. JustinAllen, why not focus all of your wonderful energy on something positive?

  62. Thank you for this article. Make the program worthwhile for us at least – actually add to our knowledge and skill set. Those classes sound the same as the MSN classes. Why would anyone want to pay money to duplicate what they already know?

  63. My thoughts exactly! Helllo Dr. Nurse! LOL. I get way more of an education through actual work experience than wasting time and money. AND already have enough predatory student debt to last me a lifetime.

  64. I wholeheartedly agree with you! I would not waste my time! I have worked with several people who have went back only to get into deeper debt and to get no increase in pay in the end. For what? To be called Doctor Nurse? No thanks, I have no GOD complex and am perfectly satisfied with the degree I chose and the career I have. This was a wonderful way to express why there should not be any more nonsense in our profession. It seems to be just a money making racket for the universities. I’m sure those who have finished the course work will feel differently as they would want to justify their spending but I seriously doubt they learned much more clinically applicable that cannot be learned at the yearly meetings from the ANCC or AANP.

  65. Degree inflation; Also in an effort to prime this process many years ago ANCC promised a transition phase for whereby experienced masters prepared NP’s would be provided pathway to earn credit towards a DNP. Still waiting. Btw, DNP programs are happy to have me clinically precept their students all the while I hear rumblings for a two tier NP license for masters and DNP. Yikes, if such an insult is ever legislated, glad I’m financially able to retire!

  66. I read an article in 2013 that stated that the purpose of the DNP was not only to put us on parity with other health professionals, but it was also so we could become good clinicians, researchers, educators and leaders. Now that is a tall order for any one degree! On leadership, it stated that we should have a seat at the table in deciding health policy and in health systems. ( I wish I could find that article for this comment, but I couldn’t ).

    Well, before becoming a family nurse practitioner I practiced health care law for 14 years in a large firm and spent some time as the general counsel of a hospital. From my experience, those who were given a seat at the table were the most respected practitioners, almost always physicians, who also happened to generate a lot of revenue for the health system or hospital. Merely getting a degree with a few courses on health policy and leadership is not going to give us a seat at the table.

    If nursing thinks it is important for us to have a doctoral degree, then perhaps nursing should focus the DNP program on clinical practice and an internship/residency as does medicine. Compared to medicine, our clinical education is lacking, partly because nursing won’t pay the true cost of clinical education. Medicine pays physicians to train new physicians. We are given second class treatment by relying on volunteers to train us, sometimes begrudgingly. This is not to say that they do not do a good job training us. But one problem we have with NP programs is finding preceptors to train us because physicians, NPs and PAs are under intense pressure to see as many patients as possible and generate revenue. They just don’t have the time.

    So when are we going to speak up and demand higher quality clinical education? We can do this by voting with our feet and our money.

    1. Well said. The DNP does not even come close to putting us on parity with even a pharmD. Most doctorate degrees in healthcare fields are VERY science intensive. The DNP is not…

    2. The DNP does exactly that. You are equating this degree with volume. This degree trains you to design and implement the programs that increase facility revenue. I saved my old facility several million dollars by preventing pain patients from retiring to the ER. THAT is how you get recognized and a seat at the table. That is leadership, that is transformation. That’s why l hate it when they say my degree was “easy” l worked my butt off and got a 3.9 GPA working full time. Is not about ease is about liking what you are doing and going to a good school.
      Clinical education comes at the Masters level. If you are upset with how you were educated in your Masters program speak up. Quite frankly as an EX nursing instructor that’s why l left. Schools were dropping their standards. I found myself getting in trouble for trying to enforce the standards under which l was taught. I one case it was APA and sentence structure… My GYN paid back her scholarship money because she refused to precept the students they were so bad.
      You are speaking of two totally different things. Your school should find you preceptors mine did but l graduated in 1998.

  67. What an amazing article. I have all these thoughts written in your article and wondered why anyone in their right mind will pursue a DNP degree that does nothing but eat away on the time we can truly use and impact the lives of our patients. Knowing what I know now, anyone thinking about completing DNP should consider the Ph.D. program instead

    1. There is a difference between the two that’s why. The PhD develops science and the DNP takes the science and develops it into programs. That is why it’s called a clinical doctorate. You complete a Capstone Project which if you are as lucky as l am you will get to continue once you graduate. The DNP is not intended to make you a better NP it is to help you get a job in Academia if you want this, Administration because there is heavy emphasis on Finance, Human Resources Negotiation Policy and Leadership. You are expected to COME with clinical skills. No nursing job should be done for the money. We never get paid for what we do.
      The DNP is a personal choice. It’s not good everyone. However for those who do, no one has ever been sorry.

  68. This article is terrible. The DNP is not the only doctorate degree available to nurses or NPs. It’s not even the first! You sound bitter or jealous suggesting people are doing it for a title. Spare me. No one is trying to convince anyone NOT to advance their degree so why are you trying so hard to bash anyone that wants to? We have a complex healthcare system that warrants a complex level of thinking. Not everything is learned on the job. From barriers in the healthcare system, advanced care planning, creating change within your healthcare system in a meaningful way to help patients. Don’t you want the absolute best care for your patients…and not everything is learned on the job. You are ignorant and making excuses. Do what you want with your own life and career. Stop bashing people who seek higher education to make yourself feel better! And the rest of you shame on you! You are using this opinionated blog to make life decisions about education when we deal with life and death literally every day? If you’re so easily swayed I wouldn’t want to be one of your patients. Lame. It’s fine if you do, it’s fine if you don’t. Leave the ones that do alone.

    1. The point if the article is to enlighten individuals who are more monetary motivated individuals that the DNP will be a waste of your time. If you goal is to increase your personal income and financial independence, the DNP will not help you with that. If you feel like you need it to further your education than good for you, but I do not see how a long paper and a few classes benefits many NPs.

      1. I am usually not into disrespecting anyone but many of your comments are making me think that maybe you are partaking in that side business of yours (The Cannabis Business? ). Wy is it that I do not see any one from any other profession trying to convince others against getting their doctoral degrees. I do not know why it is so difficult for nurses to just mind their own business and stop self-deprecating .

        1. Yes, Medical Cannabis is a very lucrative business. I have no shame in that. You should look into it. You state you have made $10,000 with another $6,000 pending since July. Great! What if I told you that you can make that in cash in 2 weeks? Tell me how the DNP will teach you how to do that?

  69. DNP? More like DCBRUNC: Doctor of Complete Bollocks, Rubbish, Utter Nonsense & Codswallop. More word salad behind your name so you can feign importance, put on the dog, and call it a mink coat.

  70. Nicely said. I feel the same way about returning to my school for my Master’s. I have worked as a Women’s Health NP for 23 years from a certificate program. I am grandfathered in the state of Illinois, but most places want the MSN. So here I am…$40,000 in debt, no increase in pay!

  71. I am so sorry to hear that. I have to disagree, I will not elaborate deeply in the case as I feel that furthering your education and expansion is not only a personal choice but also something no one can take away from you, like a ” business” that may give you some apparent security when you retire. Education, on the other hand, will be accompanying you and open doors and connections never seeing before.
    I encourage you to seek within yourself, the true reason you feel that furthering your education and expansion is not worth the effort and the few extra bills. When did you become unworthy of the knowledge?

    1. That fact sheet tells me very little in terms of WHY it is necessary? A large thesis and a few non clinical classes that cost me $40,000 does very little to further my education. I read medical school grade pathophysiology books, THAT furthers my practical and clinical knowledge. Reading off a power point does not. From your fact sheet:

      “From 2017 to 2018, the number of students enrolled in DNP programs increased from
      29,093 to 32,678. During that same period, the number of DNP graduates increased
      from 6,090 to 7,039.”

      These numbers are terrifying. It saturates the market… How good is a DNP when there is no work?

  72. I was actually enrolled in an on-line DNP program several years ago, and then a family crisis occurred and I had to drop out. I had been practicing as an NP for 14 years when I decided to pursue the DNP. My intention was to advance my professional growth and development and not for financial gain because I knew that employers were not going to pay me more money because my scope of practice as an NP did not change.
    And, yes, we have to consider financial return because the DNP programs are as expensive as any other advanced degree.

    My problem with the DNP is that it is being pushed as ENTRY level which is ABSURD.

    Allison posted a very articulate response about the value of the DNP, HOWEVER the key to her message is that she had 20 YEARS of experience before going for it.

    Based on what I am seeing in practice – with many of the newer NPs having a DNP and pretty much no NURSING experience, let alone NP experience – I am a more than a bit concerned that we are pushing this too soon. While many here have so eloquently argued for the purpose, role and need for Doctorate prepared nurses in general and nurse practitioners in particular, there remains a MUCH NEEDED role for the Master’s prepared NP.

    It is my belief that you should have at least 5 yrs clinical experience as an NP before applying for a DNP. It is at the 5-8 year mark of practice that you come into your own and are considered “expert.” But I also firmly believe that all RNs should be BSN prepared and have at least 5 years of NURSING experience before applying for a Master’s level NP program.
    Perhaps THAT is where the energy of the nursing profession should be spent – if we really want a nursing force that is well equipped to handle the complexities and dynamics of healthcare provision and management, start at the very beginning of the career ladder.

    However, good luck even finding a university that still offers a Masters for those considering an NP program. Many universities do not even offer the Masters level NP program any longer – only the DNP – and you can even “fast track” BSN to DNP.
    The DNP programs have a Capstone Project requirement for graduation. The DNP student is to identify an area of practice that needs to be changed and come up with a plan to do so — in a very short period of time and with no real-world experience. Really?

    It has been 6 years since that family crisis averted my plans for the DNP. While I still believe I will pursue a higher degree, I am no longer certain that it will be in Nursing. It will likely be in business because THAT is definitely something that is not taught and is much needed for NPs!

    Lucia M. Novak, MSN, ANP-BC, BC-ADM
    Director, Riverside Diabetes Cente
    Riverside Medical Associates
    Riverdale, MD

  73. The thoughts presented in this article highlights a major issue among the nursing population. The author somehow finds it necessary to compare *all* DNP programs to venture capitalism/growing income. DNP, similar to all other professional doctorates, is a tool – not a cash card. It is the individual that makes the degree – not the other way around. NO ONE says to a pharmacist, MD, even a DPT, that they need to have any training before they matriculate into their respective programs. Don’t you take issue with this self-imposed double standard nursing seems to have?? I am a DNP, who completed a clinical doctorate. There was no “project”. However, I met core competencies and disseminated evidence. The purpose of the degree is to be able to participate in conversations requiring the ability to level and utilize evidence to, further improving your practice and safety for your patients. No, there are not many residencies or fellowships available, but you must learn the history of medicine to understand how those programs evolved. As a nurse – or any other professional, for that matter – you must commit to lifelong learning. Once we (too many nurses) stop focusing on money and instead, focus on clinical practice at the highest standard, the money will come. You do this by making yourself irreplaceable. So, if you do not feel empowered by your training, you will not be able to succeed. Do not give in to peer pressure. I typically find those severely critical of the the DNP have personal barriers that keep them from following through or simply express that they do not have the fortitude. And Yes, I am Dr. [insert my name] who is respected by my physician colleagues for what I bring to the table. This was also evidence by my 12k raise, when I completed the degree.

    1. Many of us that decide not to pursue the DNP have the fortitude for it, I can assure you that. We just don’t see how it will benefit our lives. I am more than happy to have a discussion and to engage in conversation about the utilization of evidence. It is not difficult and many do not need a DNP to do so. And a $12k raise? In exchange for how much debt and time? You could have spent those 2 years building a business that provides far more than $12k a year if money is a goal of yours. Make your self irreplaceable by being competent and productive, which does not require a DNP.

      1. Thank you for the response. The only reference to the author was regarding the general statements made regarding DNP programs, comparing them to venture capitalism. The rest is a response to the statements made by users. I will work backwards here. I did not say a DNP is required to be ‘irreplaceable’. Nor did I say everyone critical of the DNP does not have the fortitude. My point is that if you want to secure your job or income, do something that makes you unique, and that you love — the money will come. I assure you that even janitors can make themselves irreplaceable. You are making assumptions – along with blanket statements. That includes “2 years building a business”, which ostensibly sounds great. Most NPs/RNs I know are not only full time employees, but spouses and parents, which is like working a second job. You are also assuming that I can’t do math… Starting NP salary in my region is approx. $125k. A $12K increase from a starting salary of $125k, is 9.6% salary increase, which should rises with inflation, if employers follow this common practice. An experienced NP likely earns more, which may reduce the annual ROI, but not by much. This is not that far from the average ROI on most businesses. You then get into the upfront cost – not just time – to invest in a business, unless you are using leverage, which is risky. Any true entrepreneur will tell you that there are risks involved with investing. However, the riskier the venture, the higher the return…

        Yes, I stand by my statement regarding leveling and appraising evidence. So, yes, I commend you for your willingness to engage, but I never said you were incompetent, because I do not know you.

  74. As a PA I am trying to respond to this carefully with my 2 cents worth , because there is always going to be someone who will try to call you out on it. Unlike the author, I don’t have any salary facts to toss before you. I don’t have a other offices like some of you nor have a need for “advancing my self improvement and knowledge ” nor do I know how marketable it makes you as others have added. I will list several things I HAVE however, noticed though from my eyes and a couple thoughts as well.
    1) In my state the transition of NP programs to DNP programs has nearly ruined the collaboration of comraderie that we’ve had over the years of PA’s and NPs. Am I “jealous” that some NPs on paper have a higher title – HECK NO! About 10-12 years ago the AAPA went back and forth with PAs across the country on Masters programs vs Doctoral programs. Judging by the letters I read in a number of PA journals (nope no official study) during those years , it seems the majority of PAs leaned away from a doctoral program thus PA programs have remained Masters Level. Several of you have used the word competitive. EXACTLY. No doubt, our state nursing board from a political perspective stepped over us despite all the years of our state PA board maintaining a great relationship with NPs, inviting them to our conferences, and respecting them as similar colleagues . NO – I’m not crying sour grapes – I’m calling it as many of us see it though. Again, I have no desire to have a doctoral title. If you do then perhaps you should have applied to medical school.
    2) I don’t have any fancy research or statistics but from what I have seen truthfully , is that many DNPs (not all) like to throw their title as doctor out there quite a bit leading me to wonder..what has happened to their own self-esteem that has led to this? I don’t know what has happened in their earlier lives to become so competitive and sometimes arrogant. 2 examples off the the top are .. My office had a DNP for a year and the first day of work she announced herself as “Dr Smith” and expected staff and patients to call her that. (What a buffoon.. ) . She eventually went on to develop cancer about 9 months into her job and told folks she was to begin chemo. The following Monday she came in with a short haircut due to what effects the chemo had caused”. Really woman? You think you’re going to have chemo and several days later your hair is going to shorten?? After another month of this it became apparent she did not have cancer and in fact was asking several staff members to borrow money. She was gone several weeks later. Another DNP a couple counties over expects AND CORRECTS patients, pharm reps etc if they call her Mary – or Ms Jones. Now how’s that for someone that sorely needs to improve their self esteem?! The pharma reps refer to her and just roll their eyes.
    3) The obvious issue here is the word “doctor”. If only there were another word that NP’s and Physical therapists and Audiologists could use for their advanced learning other than the word “doctor”. That’s where the rub is folks … and I’m saying that after hearing MD’s frown upon the title as well. I bet if the title was any other word than “doctor”. A “foctor” perhaps – or a “loctor ” or a “roctor” that MANY of you would not be going through all the extra education but no….. there’s something empowering, something that wets your lips so that you can taste it- and almost orgasmic perhaps about that word “doctor”. And yes I’ll admit – it is a bit insulting and can come across as a bit demeaning to those of us who don’t have that “high title” as if we somehow are less worthy and less talented a health care provider than you are.
    4) When someone asks me what I do for a living I say “I’m a PA” or “a Physician Assistant”. I don’t say “I’m a Physician Assistant Certified”. Aren’t at the end of the day you folks still Nurse Practitioners or do you answer that question with “I’m a Doctorate Nurse Practitioner ABC, DEF, HGI, JKL. ” . Good Lord people – talk about a career that’s enamored with their titles and letters behind their name! I’m 51 and 2 years ago had my hearing tested because I do have a bit of hearing loss. The audiologist walked in and said “I’m Dr Jones”. I turned to him , looked him straight in the eye and said – well… no- you’re an audiologist who has performed and passed extra curriculum and worked your butt off to have a doctorate title. He was thrown and looked down at the floor sheepishly and smiled and said “I’m David Jones an audiologist here at this practice” and I smiled and said “I’m Pete Vogt- I’m a PA down the street at ABC practice”.
    5) I DO see the advantage of having a doctorate title if you’re an instructor in a nursing or NP program and yes…I’m sure there are other reasons when this is an advantage sometimes.

    To summarize, First of all I wish none of us in the Allied Health professions had ever been put into this situation FOR WHATEVER reasons that “doctor” is the next term higher up and I sure as heck wish there was another word…another title that did not link us to a “Medical Doctor” and cause all this crap to begin with. I think that many of you NPs (NOT ALL!! ) and Physical Therapists, and yada yada, AND the political movers and shakers in the NP profession really get some kind of “high” to use that title. You feel its very empowering to have that title which IN MY OPINION seems to suggest some insecurity to begin with which in the long run may suggest some immature persona where you “need” to feel better about yourself – no matter the 18 reasons you may list. Its insulting to the rest of us and its insulting to many MDs themselves only for a different reason. I DO understand that politically and so on and so on that you have been pushed and encouraged to reach for a doctorate. (shaking my head…) AND lastly I realize I phrasing all this in normal lingo ….as if I’m the guy next door …which in a sense I am. And yes.. I’ll understand that many of you are wondering WTH a PA is doing butting into this topic. Hmmmm…. ?

    1. Well said Pete. I think the titles and the alphabet soup behind many NP names stem from professional insecurity as well. I introduce myself by my first name and I am a NP… On another point you hinted at, I bet the doctorate in audiology is 10x more difficult than a DNP. The DNP is probably one of the easiest doctorate degrees one can obtain.

      1. Justin please don’t disparage my degree because of its supposed “ease” Decide which side of this issue you are on. First it’s a crap degree now it an easy one? Just say it’s printed on toilet paper.
        As l said people need to understand the PURPOSE of the DNP before they keep trashing it! I is not to makes anyone a better NP. It is to take the science of Nursing and translate it into programs that benefit patients or extend that knowledge into Academia or Administration.
        Everyone doesn’t need it because we all don’t have the same career goals but it is NOT by any stretch a worthless degree.

    2. Please allow me to clarify. Doctor is a term properly according to Miriam Webster Dictionary assigned to a person who has completed the highest degree in their field. As such most physicians are not entitled to be called this. Doctor in Latin comes from to teach. Which is why in Academia it is the highest standard. A nurse with a Doctorate is entitled to “throw that title around” because they HAVE earned the highest possible level of Nursing education. However physicians weather MD or DO have earned entry level degrees. Their diploma states Doctor of Medicine. I don’t know when in history PHYSICIANS took ownership of the term DOCTOR but it DOES NOT belong to them as the have tried to soley appropriate the term for themselves grudgingly allowing others who HAVE actual Doctorate degrees to use the term granted to them. Unless that physician has a PhD they don’t really have the right to Doctor. They are a Physician.
      They spend time in Medical School doing coursework in biological science. Their residency is literally a hand holding processes. They are given 4 years go learn what an NP had to in two. A Physician commented after precepting 3 NP students how much harder it is for us than them.
      My real point is we are on a team. If l want to display my alphabet soup l earned it. Don’t disparage any of us for it. Done correctly it shouldn’t be that long anyway. Sure there are 1 or 2 butts in any group but in the end we are a team. I am in no way insecure but when you give 12 years to your education you are a bit allowed to “throw my title around” So please allow me to introduce myself as l do to my patients, Hello I’m Dr. Spencer your Pain Nurse Practitioner pleased to meet you.

  75. Thank you! My biggest issue with earning a DNP is that it is selfish and driven by ego. I came into my role as an NP with goal to help others. Earning a DNP Takes a lot of time away from my primary purpose, Caring for others .

    1. My DNP was not done out of selfishness and there was no ego involved. That statement makes it clear you have no real understanding of the purpose of this degree. It is NOT to make you a better nurse. It takes evidence and builds it into better programs to serve patients better. I have my DNP and have mentored others to theirs. In my class one person put together a website to localize and educate about mental illnesses another implemented a fully NP run neonatal ICU. I personally implemented a pain management service for people with mental illnesses and one of my mentees did a project that saved the facility money by improving or start times. This helped the facility and the patients.
      I don’t know about you but the average nurse is NOT going to put in 36 extra hours per week to complete complex projects like this and write the articles to publish.
      I don’t think my work with mentally ill, substance abusing people in pain is selfish. I would not have been able to do this work or have these opportunities without this degree. Nor would l be able to embark on the research l am about to start on.
      We are not selfish just reaching for goals you don’t understand. I am still doing NP patient care but l am doing it in a program I designed based on evidence. Taking time away from my family and having to take a laptop on my honeymoon isn’t selfish it’s dedication.

  76. Justin, thank you for the article. NPs have to recognize that becoming a provider is a whole new game. NPs are not competing with PAs and MDs but their expertise should be comparable. Aren’t we striving for autonomy and higher salaries? After all we are providing medical care to patients, we are not psychologists or psychotherapists. Additional education should be required to raise the bar for NPs, but I wouldn’t waste a minute of my time or a penny to go through a DNP program that will provide no clinical improvement to my practice. DNP and most NP programs’ only focus is to make money, unfortunately!!

  77. sounds like good old fashion nurses eating their young again. Obviously, in reading your article, I can tell you have noticed the drastic changes in the healthcare system. The Institute of Medicine recommended for nursing to be a leading force for the change in healthcare. As nurses and nurse practitioners, we are the active forces involved with the care of our patients and the outcomes. What does a DNP do for you personally? It changes your mindset from leaders who are born to leadership skills that can be developed. The ability to be knowledgeable about how to effectively change the healthcare system as an active participant rather than a delegated recipient. The DNP has the opportunity to allow you to have more opportunities, whether as a business person, educator, or a creative outside the box concept you have not imagined before. Your right if you want to get rich, find your hussle. For some who are dedicated and want to advance the practice don’t tear them down. Encourage someone to be frontier in practice who may indirectly improve your role as a nurse.

  78. This is a no brainer. If DNP programs were clinically based then I would certainly consider it. I’m so done with school! Ready to have my own practice whether collaborative agreements are necessary or not. In fact, I already have my own practice. My collaborator flat out told me…We are partners! It is a great set up. Forget the DNP unless you have some burning need to EARN it. It is, by itself, a great accomplishment but doesn’t put any $$$ in my pocket.

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