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Nursing Doctorate Degree FAQ

If you’re thinking about earning your doctorate in nursing, you’re not alone. Many nurses who have completed their BSN and/ or MSN become leaders in healthcare by earning a doctorate-level degree. As a nurse, your schedule is busy. Many nursing doctorate programs offer courses online, making it easier for nurses to maintain their work schedule and get class assignments done on their own time. In the United States, there is a huge demand for nurses. When you get your doctorate in nursing, you’ll have a number of jobs to choose from. Many nurses who earn their doctorates continue to work in direct patient care. Others become healthcare administrators, nursing educators, nursing researchers, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions by nurses who are considering taking the next step in their education.

In This Section

  • What are the requirements for a DNP?
  • Is a DNP the same as a nurse practitioner?
  • Is a DNP a doctor?
  • What does a DNP do?
  • How much does a DNP make?
  • Do DNP get paid more than NP?
  • How long does a DNP take?
  • Why do nurses get DNP?
  • Can a DNP write prescriptions?
  • Can you go from RN to DNP?
  • Can you go straight from BSN to DNP?
  • What is the highest level of nursing?
  • How long are MSN to DNP programs?
  • Can DNP open own practice?
  • Will DNP replace MSN?
  • Is DNP better than MSN?
  • What is the highest paid nurse practitioner?
  • What type of NP makes the most money?
  • Which is better DNP or PhD in nursing?
  • What is the difference between PhD in nursing and DNP?
  • How many nurses have a PhD?
  • What do you do with a PhD in nursing?
  • What is a PhD in nursing salary?
  • What kind of job can I get with a DNP?
  • What is a PhD in nursing science?
  • What is the difference between DNP and MD?
  • Do you need a PhD to be a nurse practitioner?
  • What is CPNP?
  • Can a nurse practitioner give shots?
  • What does Cpnp mean?
  • What does a pediatric nurse practitioner do on a daily basis?

What are the requirements for a DNP?

A DNP, or doctor of nursing practice, degree is one of the highest degrees a nurse can achieve. Some DNP programs require enrolling nurses to have completed their master’s degree, while others accept nurses who have only completed their bachelor’s degree. DNP candidates must complete 1,000 hours of clinical practice and must complete a capstone project to showcase their individualized course of study.

Is a DNP the same as a nurse practitioner?

The short answer: not necessarily. The long answer: a nurse practitioner is a professional title, while a DNP is a graduate degree. Some nurse practitioners have their DNP degree, while others do not. Nurse practitioners treat and diagnose patients, prescribe medications, and can perform advanced medical procedures. Nurse practitioners with their DNP have additional leadership and advanced nursing training and are often employed in positions of leadership within their organizations.

Is a DNP a doctor?

Both medical doctors and nurses who have their doctorate of nursing practice degree have undergone many hours of training and study. There are two schools of thought on whether a person with their DNP can be called a doctor, and in some states, the distinction is legally mandated. Some medical professionals believe that a person with a DNP should be called a doctor, just like a professor at a university with a Ph.D. would be called a doctor. Others believe that a distinction needs to be made for patient clarity. The decision of whether to refer to nurses with a DNP as a doctor is up to the discretion of the employing organization.

What does a DNP do?

While practicing, a DNP may create and implement patient care plans, diagnose patients, prescribe medication, perform medical procedures, meet with other members of a patient’s care team, and more. Some DNPs choose to work in a lab doing nursing research, while others become nursing instructors.

How much does a DNP make?

Many factors determine how much a DNP makes, including years of experience in nursing, college performance, leadership skills, performance reviews, cost of living in the area, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, nurses with a DNP make $135,830 per year. This number can vary greatly depending upon the setting in which the nurse is employed.

SEE ALSO: How Much Does a  DNP Make?

Do DNP get paid more than NP?

There is limited data on how much more a DNP makes than an NP. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners make $113,930 per year on average, while nurses with a DNP make $135,830 per year on average. Many different factors could play into this difference, including the fact that nurses with their DNP are more likely to be employed at colleges and universities as nurse educators, and may make more in the education field than in a traditional healthcare setting.

How long does a DNP take?

Earning a DNP degree typically takes between three and six years. The degree requires at least 1,000 years of hands-on practical experience, in addition to the credits required by the college or university. Some programs allow nurses to work online at their own pace, while others require classes to be taken in a traditional classroom setting.

Why do nurses get DNP? What kind of job can I get with a DNP?

Earning a DNP degree sets nurses apart due to the intense hands-on training, emphasis on leadership skills, and individual research required to earn the degree. Nurses who earn their DNP have a wide variety of career options, including working in research facilities, continuing to provide hands-on health care to patients, training nurses in educational settings, and taking on leadership roles within healthcare organizations.

Can a DNP write prescriptions?

A nurse with a DNP degree can legally prescribe medications to patients.

Can you go from RN to DNP?

Some programs permit RNs with bachelor’s degrees to enter DNP programs, but most require that you have your master’s before getting started.

Can you go straight from BSN to DNP?

While some DNP programs accept nurses with their bachelor’s degree, most require nurses to have completed their master’s before entering a DNP program.

What is the highest level of nursing?

There are several different doctorate levels of nursing degrees. Nurses can earn a Ph.D. in nursing, a doctorate of nursing practice, and a general doctorate in nursing. All of these programs are considered to be the highest level of education in the nursing field.

How long are MSN to DNP programs?

A DNP takes between three and six years to complete. Some DNP programs accept prior work as practice hours, which can significantly shorten the program.

Can DNP open own practice?

As of 2019, 23 states in the U.S. permit nurses with their DNP to run their own healthcare facilities. If you’re interested in opening your own facility with your DNP, check with local laws to find out whether this is permitted in your area.

Will DNP replace MSN? Is DNP better than MSN?

It’s unlikely that the DNP degree will ever completely replace the MSN degree. Getting an MSN is an important step for many nurses to earn their DNP. Since earning a DNP takes three to six years, having a MSN degree can create many employment options throughout the time you’re earning your DNP. A nurse with a DNP has more training than a nurse with their MSN degree. While both degrees are valuable, nurses with their DNP tend to earn more money and take on more leadership responsibilities than nurses with their MSN.

What is the highest-paid nurse practitioner? What type of NP makes the most money?

Certified registered nurse anesthetists who also have their nurse practitioner degree have the highest median salary of any nurse practitioner position, with an average of $157,690.

Which is better DNP or Ph.D. in nursing? What is the difference between a Ph.D. in nursing and DNP?

While both of these degrees designate a nurse as an expert in the field, there are some key differences between the two degrees. A Ph.D. in nursing is research-based and does not require clinical hours, while a DNP focuses heavily on clinical skills and requires at least 1,000 clinical hours.

How many nurses have a Ph.D.?

In 2019, 6,193 nurses held Ph.D. degrees.

What do you do with a Ph.D. in nursing?

While nurses with PhDs may continue to provide hands-on patient care, many become nursing researchers or nurse educators. Some nurses with PhDs continue to work part-time in direct patient care while also pursuing other career options.

What is a Ph.D. in nursing salary?

The average salary for nurses who have a Ph.D. is $90,000 per year.

What is a Ph.D. in nursing science?

In the field of nursing science, a Ph.D. provides a high-level education in nursing research, advanced patient care, nursing education techniques, and/ or healthcare leadership. If you decide to work toward your doctorate in any nursing field, you’ll have heavy input into your personalized research plan.

What is the difference between DNP and MD?

The main difference between a DNP and MD is the way they approach patient care. While both degrees render the person in question a doctor, a DNP recognizes a person’s achievement in the field of nursing, while an MD recognizes a person’s achievement in medicine. DNPs tend to take a holistic approach to patient care, viewing patients’ bodies and mental functioning as interconnected systems. MDs take a disease-based approach, treating symptoms of illness.

Do you need a Ph.D. to be a nurse practitioner?

No. While some nurse practitioners do have their Ph.D., others have a master’s degree. Both are acceptable for licensing as a nurse practitioner.

What is CPNP? What does CPNP mean?

A CPNP is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner. A CPNP can perform many of the same duties as a pediatrician, including evaluating pediatric patients, developing and implementing treatment plans, prescribing medication, and performing advanced medical procedures.

Can a nurse practitioner give shots?

Yes, a nurse practitioner is legally permitted to give shots and administer/ prescribe medications.

What does a pediatric nurse practitioner do on a daily basis?

A pediatric nurse practitioner performs many of the same duties as a pediatrician in their daily work. They may see patients for routine visits as their primary care provider. They may also see children who are experiencing acute health care needs. A pediatric nurse practitioner may develop treatment plans as a part of a larger treatment team for children with serious and/ or chronic illness. Pediatric nurse practitioners may also perform advanced medical procedures.