A Study of MSN vs. DNP - Is It Worth It?
Here at the DNP Answers blog we take your questions about the DNP and
answer them as best we can. This post is written by blogger Lisa Chism, NP, DNP, NCMP.
Q: To further the discussion, is there ANY research that states that we Masters-prepared NPs do not provide equitable quality to our patients as our DNP cohorts? Would it really be feasible for anyone to undertake this research, seeing how it may undermine our own ranks?
First, no, to my knowledge (and
please, correct me if I am wrong) there is no literature that specifically
examines quality of care of master's-prepared APNs compared to DNP-prepared
Your second question is very
interesting and valid. I personally don’t think a study like this would behoove
our profession. The IOM has outlined new skills and knowledge that ALL
healthcare professional should develop (please see also this month’s “DNP
” column) and the DNP degree curricula reflects that. We should all
strive to improve quality of care but not belittle or sabotage our colleagues
with different educational preparation. We all meet the same requirements to
practice through our specific specialty certification. I agree fully that a
study like this may “undermine our own ranks.” The DNP degree is not meant to
segregate NPs but rather add additional knowledge and skill to continually
Further, advancing the profession
sometimes involves increasing or adjusting requirement for entry into practice.
For example, NPs previously were prepared through certification only and not a master’s
degree. The decision to require a master’s degree for entry into practice was
made and programs began the transition. There was of course resistance as there
is with any change. At that time, certified NPs without master’s degrees were
grandfathered and able to continue practicing without earning a masters degree.
However, those entering the field after the target transition date were
required to earn a masters degree.
Those with certification only were not considered
obsolete or ill qualified. Rather, the nursing profession raised the bar, in
part, to advance the profession and provide uniformity in requirements to
practice. This is parallel to the current shift to the DNP degree.
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