- Why get your DNP now?
- DNP vs. DNAP
- Components of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree
Why get your Doctorate of Nursing Practice Degree (DNP) now?
Many looking to start CRNA school often wonder if they should get the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP) or just stick with a Masters degree program since they can get the DNP later. However, the fact of the matter is that you should get your DNP sooner rather than later. Why? This article will look at four reasons why it is better to get the DNP as a direct entry, rather than going back later once you are a practicing CRNA.
First, the requirements are in place that by 2025 new CRNAs will be graduating with doctoral degrees. This is not a maybe situation; it is happening. Many schools have begun their transition over to the DNP by offering direct entry 36-month programs that are BSN to DNP.
Many have mistaken information that the DNP is a lot longer; however, this is not true. Most Master degree programs are 28 to 30 months in length; in reality you will only spend 6-8 more months in college to achieve the DNP. However, does that mean you will be without income for 6-8 more months? Simply put, no. Many DNP programs offer the first year online and allow full time employment as a nurse during this year. Schools recognize that 36 months of full time study is a long commitment, and are trying to make the first year a transition that will allow students to continue working so they can have more savings and an easier time the last two years. This means that while you may have to balance work and school for awhile, you will only be out of work two years as opposed to three.
Second, why put off to tomorrow something that can be done today? Most people who complete CRNA school never desire to go back to college, let alone spend another two years getting their DNP. Sacrifices were great getting through school and many want to make up for lost time by spending any free time at home with friends and family, therefore it is not reasonable for someone to get their MSN and then start their DNP right away.
In addition, most MSN to DNP programs are two years in length, cost in excess of $30,000, and require a sizable time commitment. This is not appealing to anyone who has already sacrificed 28-30 months and is in a large amount of debt. This means that those who go this route will be spending at least 48 months to get a degree that could be earned in 36 months. It truly makes sense to get the DNP right away and be done.
Third, the DNP is becoming the standard for any career in academia. Any future career in teaching or working at a University will require you to have their doctorate. Therefore, not having your DNP could possibly prevent a career change from clinical practice to a career as a professor. This impact will be greater in the coming years, but many current program directors and faculty are getting their DNP or have made plans to start in the near future.
The final reason to get the DNP sooner rather than later is that higher education is rewarding and working hard to learn as much as possible will pay off in the long run. While it will be challenging, the DNP will make you terminal in your field and will enable you to achieve a higher level of career satisfaction knowing that you are the holder of the highest degree in your field.
Therefore, with the above reasons in mind, get your DNP the first time.
DNP vs. DNAP
Now that you know you want to pursue a terminal nursing degree, you’ll need to know which degree (specifically) to get.
So, what is the difference between the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)and the Doctorate of Nursing Anesthesia Practice (DNAP)degrees?
Essentially, they are the same degree with a different title.
Every student in a Doctorate of Nursing Practice program is required to choose a specialty. According to the DNP Essentials, (page 17) published by the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing), you can choose to specialize on the care of individuals (CRNA is an example of this), or practice at an aggregate, systems, or organizational level.
If you choose the DNAP, you have already chosen to specialize in Anesthesia, the care of individuals.
If you choose the DNP, you have the choice to specialize in Anesthesia or on a leadership role.
The only other notable difference between the two degrees is public recognition. The title of “Doctorate of Nursing Practice” will be more easily recognized and identified by the public, as it will be the standard degree title given to all advanced practice nurses who graduate after 2025.
Components of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree
After your bachelor’s degree, it will be a minimum of three calendar years, or 36 months of full-time study including summers or four years on a traditional academic calendar.
If you enter a post-master’s degree program it will be a minimum of 12 months full time study to complete your DNP.
Practice Experiences in the curriculum
Minimum of 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate as part of a supervised academic program.
Final DNP Project
Rather than requiring that you write a dissertation, as you would with a research oriented doctoral program, the DNP final project could take many forms. The final DNP project is a tangible and deliverable academic product that uses evidence to improve either practice or patient outcomes.
This section (components of the DNP) is a summary of pages 18 and 19 of the DNP Essentials (see below)
DNP Essentials The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, October 2006.
It’s a 20 page PDF, published by the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing), describing the 8 essential components of the DNP program.
Are you a current CRNA student or a recent graduate? If so, please share your experience with other visitors to help them choose the CRNA school that’s right for them!
*This page was updated October 20th, 2014.*
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