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DNP by 2015?

Answers to Your DNP Transition Questions

Confusion persists when it comes to the concept of a transition to the DNP for all NPs in the year 2015. Will a switch suddenly be flipped, after which all NPs will need a doctorate? Read excerpts from past entries of the DNP Answers blog on what, exactly, this transition means.

What Will Change in 2015? by Scott Governo, NP, DNP:

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) suggested that the DNP be the terminal degree for advanced practice nursing beginning in 2015. The AACN is a self-described advocate for nursing standards and does have considerable influence in educating nurses today and into the future. A more detailed explanation of the DNP can be found here:

State nurse practice acts are what guide NPs' legal status, scope of practice, and so on. They have not changed their requirements, despite a strong movement by many, from the master's preparation to a DNP degree. The hope among many proponents of the DNP is that eventually the laws will change toward a more autonomous role and a widening of scope. This, however, remains to be seen and my expectation is that special interest groups on both sides of the issue will be more than vocal and that only with strong public support and the recognition of the quality of healthcare delivered by NPs will nurses be allowed to practice to their fullest ability.

The future of nursing's role in healthcare is yet unwritten, and it is every nurse's duty to advocate for patients, personally and professionally, so that they receive the most effective and humanistic care. To do this we must carefully avoid the reinforcement of old stereotypes and skillfully craft innovative healthcare solutions to meet today's problems and tomorrows needs.

What's the Real Scoop on 2015? by Mai Kung, NP, DNP:

My understanding of the call for the transition from the master's to the DNP preparation by 2015 is that it is "recommended" or "endorsed," but NOT "mandated." However, just to be certain I reviewed many organization websites such as the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing), CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education), AANP (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners), and NONPF (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties). I also attended the third National Doctors of Nursing Conference in San Diego in 2010. I had the opportunity to talk with nursing leaders and policy makers on this very issue. The verdict is that the call by the AACN for transitioning advanced practice nursing to the doctoral level by 2015 is only a "recommendation."

It is a bold step to transition advanced practice nursing to a doctoral level. No one is absolutely certain of the future outcomes of the DNP movement. However, this movement is showing great progress. In 2004 when the AACN Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing was published there were eight clinical or practice doctoral nursing programs either in existence or in the approval stage. By September 2008, 80 DNP programs were available and over 50 colleges of nursing were considering starting a DNP program. As of September 2010 there were 129 DNP programs in existence and over 100 are in the planning stages. According to an AACN survey done in 2009, 72% of schools with APRN programs (388 schools) were either offering (120) or planning (161) a DNP program. Furthermore, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Council on Accreditation has taken the lead to mandate doctoral education. The mandate is for all certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) programs to transition to the practice doctorate by 2022 and the plan is not to accredit new master's programs for nurse anesthesia after 2015.

Whether advanced practice nursing will be successful in making the transition from the master's to the doctoral level will depend upon a combination of market demand, legislative and regulatory forces, and the buy-in from the nursing education, accreditation, and regulatory bodies. It may seem like a monumental task, but many have compared achieving this goal to the transition of advanced practice nursing from the certificate to the master's degree. This transition was also contested, but is now widely accepted, well underway and it has happened naturally and with time. Therefore, many feel transitioning from the master's to the doctoral degree will also happen gradually with time.

Grandfathering After 2015, by Lisa Chism, NP, DNP, NCMP, FAANP:

State licensure will likely follow certification trends as most APN licensure is dependent on certification. Current certification agencies require master's or doctorate degrees for certification. As students still graduate from master's degree programs, certification agencies will likely still recognize this type of educational preparation. With the transition date of 2015 approaching, many APN programs are already transitioning to DNP degrees with target dates to end master's preparation. It is likely that new APNs after 2015 seeking certification will therefore have DNP degrees. I would suspect that those with master's degree will then be able to renew their certification far into the future.

Grandfathering for anywhere in the United States will likely also follow certification trends. If a master's degree is acceptable preparation for certification within a certain state, then obtaining certification within that state will be attainable.

The good news is you are most definitely not obsolete! The literature is rich with evidence that supports the master's degree as preparation for advanced practice nurses. Despite the fact that master's degrees are converting over to DNP degrees, master's-prepared advanced practice nurses are qualified and certified to practice and will be even after the AACN's target date of 2015 for DNP as a requirement for certification. If you don't wish to return to school, that is your choice. However, after 2015, most APN programs will likely be converted to DNP programs and those returning to school at that time will have to obtain a DNP degree. Hopefully you are reassured that you are valuable and highly qualified and most definitely NOT obsolete!

DNP Articles Archives

Agree with RICH totally. 8,000 more a year for a DNP is not worth the $50,000 or more or a little less for not much finacial gain. Anyone in finance or not can do the math. This is just another way to keep us in further debt and allow the universities and their empioyess to stay in a job and be paid well when we are out in trenches working very hard to support our families. There will not be big financial gains from this degree especially with the DNP and the state of affairs of our country and the mounting debt per capita. Let us not forget the abuse and overuse in the health care system from so many people that cannot pay.

Denise m,   MSN, RN, FNP-BC,  hospitalFebruary 23, 2015
dallas, TX

It started with the "BSN ONLY" and now its time to milk those that want to get away from the bedside altogether. NSG shortages are an embarrassment for hospital CEOs. ADN nurses owe little in student loans, they get out of school and see what a slave job NSG is and they go study something else or leave NSG completely. "BSN ONLY" makes sure new nurses owe 60 grand and up for their education. Deep debt will keep the next generation of nurses chained to the bedside a lot longer than past generations. This will make the CEOs jump for joy. No more sign on cash, no need for good benefits and all the other goodies the CEOs had to pander up in order to staff the hell holes they create. Needless to say, "BSN ONLY" has been a cash cow for the same CEOs. Older RNs must pay up to get the BSN. Many medical centers/ Universitys have online programs. I have a RN from HU in Phila, PA. HU wants a cool 50 grand for my BSN. It's over 100 grand for a straight shot for the BSN. Most of my degree will be done online and a good chunk the BSN will be done online as well. Make no mistake, online education is a CEOs wet dream. It is pure profit. Milking the NPs is the natural progression or expression of wealth class greed. I'll explain, a young nurse gets out of NSG school today and if she is lucky, she finds a hospital job, hopefully, in under 2 years. Her first 6 months on the job wake her up to the reality of bedside nursing. This poor young thing convinces herself that she must get away from the bedside. If she had a ADN degree that cost under 10 grand it's not a big deal. Just go back to school an study something else. But now, this 25 year old Nurse owes maybe 60- 80 grand for that BSN. Not so easy to kiss a stress filled, body beating profession goodbye with that kind of debt. So she gets her NP and says goodbye to the bedside. Not so fast young lady !!! Let's see here, you owe 60-80 on the BSN, maybe 40- 50 on that masters. How much for that last bit of paper ??? Let's face it my fellow Nurses, we are getting bent over everyday by these bastards. WAKE UP.

Rich Barber,  RN,  HHNovember 09, 2014
Phila, PA

I am beginning my FNP studies in the spring of 2015. My college states I would still be able to sit for the ANCC exam when I finish in a year and 1/2. Is this correct? Will I have to have a DNP to sit for the exam??

Diane Duran,  cns,  hospitalAugust 04, 2014
New Rochelle, NY

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