5 Facts About the DNP for Nurse Practitioners

The demand for Nurse Practitioners has steadily grown in the United States over the past several years, and with it has grown a need for advanced nursing education. In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) decided on a plan to make the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) the terminal degree in the nursing field by the year 2015. Nurses earning their DNP can expect to study research methods, evidence-based medicine and how it is put into practice, and an overview of the history and driving philosophy behind nursing, as well as receive a comprehensive view of statistics and data analysis. The driving factors in the push towards a practice focused doctoral education for nurses can be traced to the increasing complexity and concern about healthcare and patient safety, as well as the continuing effort to improve outcomes and patient satisfaction, especially in the face of an aging population. Doctoral-level nursing staff can provide solutions to these problems, both in patient-centered practice and leadership roles in clinical settings. Here are five facts about the DNP that nurse practitioners and hospital administration should consider :

  • The DNP emphasizes leadership in a clinical-practice setting. Taking between three to five years to complete, a DNP opens up more opportunities for manager and executive level positions in clinical settings. This differentiates the degree from a PhD in Nursing, which places more emphasis on research and teaching.
  • DNPs are also near the top of the nursing pay scale. The average salary for a nurse with a DNP degree is $106,494.
  • There are 289 DNP programs nationwide (and counting). There are also 128 new DNP programs in the planning stage, split between post-baccalaureate and post-master’s programs.
  • DNP programs are found in 48 states and Washington, D.C. New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Texas have the more DNP programs than the other 40 states with DNP programs.
  • Nurse Practitioners are more prevalent in rural areas. This speaks to a healthcare and practice style that is more reliant on nurse practitioners, since MDs are in high demand and short supply in rural areas. A nurse practitioner with a DNP has even greater value in these areas, which also explains why schools in the Midwest and the West are more likely to offer a BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing)-to-DNP program.

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