I write in response to the OJIN discussions on the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to share my concerns regarding the movement toward DNP programs. I believe the DNP degree will deter many new nurses from entering an advanced practice role. Part of what has appealed to me as a nursing student is the ability to obtain an advanced degree in nursing while continuing to work as a staff nurse. Currently the only DNP program in my area requires students to attend as full-time students. It is very difficult to attend school full time and also work enough to bring in needed income during that time. The current two-year MSN program which allows for part-time study sounds more realistic to me. These challenges of completing a DNP program could decrease the number of students entering APN programs.
Additionally, many individuals see nurse practitioner programs as an alternative to medical school. If the educational process of becoming an advanced practice nurse takes as much time as completing medical school, many students may opt to go into the medical profession. Nurse practitioners still do not earn as much as physicians, despite the decline in the salaries of physicians, and the NP role is still seen as less prestigious than that of a physician by much of society, regardless of the degree title.
It is my contention that the public will be best served if doctoral preparation is reserved for those desiring to become researchers and/or educators. Those individuals who desire to become skilled practitioners can do so without the doctoral degree.
Downstate University Medical Center School of Nursing