If you want to become an advanced practice nurse, such as a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist, you are making a good career move. The demand for nurses in advanced practice is expected to increase by at least 20% by 2020. Meanwhile, the expected salaries in advanced practice nursing continues to increase. Many advanced nursing professionals make $75,000 per year or more, and a nurse anesthetist can make at least $130,000 per year.
Until recently, earning your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) was all that you needed to work in advance nursing practice. However, in 2006, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, or AACN, made the decision to alter the needed preparation level for advanced nursing practice.
As of 2015, you will be required to have a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree to practice in some advanced nursing professions, such as nurse practitioner. Other advanced nursing practices may require a DNP as well in the near future.
However, this does not imply that if you are a nurse in an advanced practice setting that you will suddenly not be able to practice. If you are a current nurse practitioner with an MSN, you will still be able to practice in 2015 and beyond. However, you may find over time that you are at a competitive disadvantage in your field. You may discover that going from a BSN to not just an MSN, but to earning your DNP is the smart career choice.
Fortunately, today there are strong academic options for nursing professionals with a BSN who want to earn both their MSN and DNP at the same time.
Why Earn a BSN to DNP Degree
Less than one percent of nurses in the United States have a doctoral degree. But earning a doctoral degree in nursing will become more important and necessary in the near future.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report recently that stated that nurses should take on more responsibilities in health care. For that reason, IOM recommended that the number of nurses with a doctorate double by 2020.
It therefore is likely that more employers will be seeking doctoral degree-educated nurses in the coming years. And already the demand for nurses with a DNP degree is increasing. There is a serious shortage of nursing faculty, and this is delaying the number of nursing students who can be accepted into BSN and MSN programs.
Some of the other reasons that you should consider a BSN to DNP degree are:
- Teaching nurses is highly fulfilling for many RNs. The nurses of the future will need to be highly skilled in a clinical sense, quick on their feet and be able to work in many different clinical environments. These nurses of tomorrow need experienced and skilled nursing instructors today to teach them all of the nursing skills they need to succeed. But the American Association of Colleges of Nursing or AACN reported in 2010 that nursing schools were forced to turn away 67,000 nursing students because of lack of instructors.
- The DNP leads to expert-level clinical skills. The DNP is new degree. In past years, the only way to get a doctoral degree in nursing was to earn a Ph.D. But that degree, while very valuable, is an academic and research degree primarily. Nurses who wanted to increase their clinical skills had few options. The DNP is the solution. The DNP is designed for the RN who wants a terminal degree in nursing practice, and wants an alternative to a research-heavy doctoral degree. In the coming years, more advanced nursing practice professionals such as nurse practitioners will hold DNP degrees.
- You want to advance the nursing profession. In many cases, nurses in clinical care see what needs to change in clinical care. If you work as an RN in a hospital, you probably can explain a dozen reasons why a lower nurse to patient ratio improves care. But you need hard data to back that claim so that hospital administrators will increase the nursing staff budget. That is where a nurse with a doctoral degree can help. With a DNP, you can provide the research data to support necessary changes in the nursing profession that improve patient outcomes.
- You can save money. Getting a doctoral degree takes a lot of time and money. But it actually makes sense to enroll in a BSN to DNP program; if you earn your master of science in nursing first, you then have to earn your doctoral degree on top of it. Given that the DNP is going to be the standard degree soon, why not just enroll in a BSN to DNP program?
Featured Online BSN to DNP Degrees
- BSN to DNP: At the University of South Alabama, you can earn your Doctorate of Nursing Practice and be prepared to provide the highest level of patient care to both communities and individuals. You will learn the skills that you need to provide direct care for patients, manage their care effectively, administer their health care and also nursing systems. You also will work to develop and implement health policy.
- BSN to DNP: The School of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of San Francisco offers the BSN-DNP pathway to students who already have a BS in nursing and want to become a clinical nursing leader. You will complete your MSN in the first two years of this online program and then will work on your DNP for the last 2.5 years.
- BSN to DNP: The DNP curriculum at the University of Toledo includes clinical and theoretical classes that will ready students to lead and develop strong health care delivery in many health care settings. There also are over 1000 hours of academically supervised, advanced clinical care practice in this doctoral program. You can focus your studies on either family nurse practitioner or pediatric nurse practitioner.
- BSN to DNP: The DNP program at the University of Tennessee is a full time online program that is designed for nursing professionals who hold either their BS or MSN. If you enter the program with an MSN and a nurse practitioner certification, you can expect the program to take two years to finish. If you enter the program with a BS or a regular MSN without certification, it will take at least three years. Most of the program can be finished online, but there are some required campus visits during the program.
- BSN to DNP: You can attend this strong DNP program at Robert Morris University online and complete the full program in three years, if you take three or four classes each semester. If you choose to work on your degree part time, expect to take four years to finish the program. This degree program includes lectures, seminars, practicum, and a clinical experience component. You can use many different health care settings for your practicum – hospitals, doctors’ offices, primary care and specialty clinics.
- BSN to DNP: At the University of Minnesota, you will be prepared for a leadership role as an advanced practice nurse, clinical expert, health care executive or a policy expert. This is a three year program that is designed for those who have a BSN. This program offers most classes online, and there are three on campus sessions in the fall and spring terms, and two on campus sessions in the summer term. You will need to be on campus about eight times each year during the program.
- BSN to DNP: This four year program from the University of Michigan-Flint will provide you with the advanced skills that you need to be successful in advanced nursing practices in primary health care. This program is available both as BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP. It is a four year, full time program that has concentrations in Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
- BSN to DNP: The School of Nursing at the University of Missouri will prepare you with a strong doctoral level education that will ready you to become a certified, advanced practice registered nurse. You can choose to take either a full time program, or a part time program. If you take the full time option, you should not be working as you are studying. The online tracks that are available include pediatric nurse practitioner and women’s health nurse practitioner.
- BSN to DNP: At New Mexico State University, you can earn your DNP in about three years. Most of the classes that you will take in this accredited doctoral program are on the Internet, but you will need to attend seminars on campus at the start of each fall semester. Also, some clinical tracks in this program may require you to participate in on campus clinical immersion sessions that last about one week each.
Popular Career Paths for BSN to DNP Degree
Some of the most popular careers for nurses with a DNP degree include the following. At this time, you can still become a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife with a master of science in nursing. However, this will change in the future. Thus it is a wise investment in your future to earn a BSN to DNP degree so that you can qualify for these highly paid nursing positions in the future.
A nurse practitioner is a type of advanced nursing practice professional who works with a physician and sometimes even independently. A nurse practitioner can do most of the things that a doctor can do, but at a lower costs. In the majority of US states, NPs may prescribe drugs, order tests, and diagnose most health problems.
They also can offer primary and preventive care, and often specialize in certain patient groups. Many nurse practitioners choose to earn a certification in a specialized population of patients, such as pediatrics, mental health, geriatrics and even specific health conditions, including diabetes and cancer.
The scope of duties for nurse practitioners can vary somewhat by state, but they generally can do most of the same roles as doctors. In some states, they may work independent of doctors.
The job outlook for nurse practitioners is outstanding, with a 35% increase in demand anticipated by 2024. This great increase in demand is being caused by a much higher demand for health care services, as well as increasing health care costs. NPs cost less to employ than doctors, and they can provide a similar level of care, so it is not surprising there are so many open jobs today for nurse practitioners.
Nurse practitioners get a median salary of $98,190, and many NPs work a full time job as well as part time in another facility. Thus it is possible for a hard working NP to make well into the six figures.
After you complete your DNP degree, you will need to pass a national certification exam, and then you can earn a specialized certification as a nurse practitioner.
Nurse midwives (CNMs) provide care to women, which usually includes gynecological examinations, family planning, and pre and post natal care. CNMs also spend part of their time delivering babies, and handling various emergency situations during delivery.
They also provide general primary care services to women and their newborn children. These advanced nursing professionals also provide specialized wellness care and educate their patients about how to live a healthy life, talking to them about how to prevent diseases and how to eat nutritiously. CNMs also provide care to the partners of their patients for various sexual and reproductive health matters.
Job demand for nurse midwives is also going to increase rapidly by 2024 with a 25% increase in demand. CNMs can perform many of the same tasks and level of care that doctors can, so demand for their services is going to increase quickly.
The median wage for CNMs is $92,510.
After you have earned your DNP degree, you then should seek certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
- Fink, Jennifer. (n.d.). 5 Reasons to Get a PhD/DNP. Retrieved from http://nursinglink.monster.com/education/articles/2491-5-reasons-to-get-a-phddnp?page=2
- Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-2