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ADVANCE for NPs & PAs Blog

NPs & PAs Are Talking: The DNP Degree

Published January 21, 2013 3:20 PM by Kelly Wolfgang
This week, we received a lengthy comment in opposition to making the DNP degree mandatory. The comment was posted on our DNP Answers blog post titled "Feedback on the DNP." In the post, Mai Kung, NP, DNP, discusses the widespread acceptance of the DNP movement, citing the growing number of programs across the country as evidence of its popularity.

Reader Michael spoke out for the "silent majority." "Unless the individual wants a DNP and wants to be employed at the University level and/or wants to do research; thinking of making it a mandatory requirement in the future is wrought with problems and a monumental mistake," Michael said. "The greatest majority of the supporters of making the DNP a mandatory requirement are those who already obtained their DNP and need to justify their decision to obtain it, spend the money for it and expended the rigorous energy needed to obtain it. You want a DNP, that's fine, but don't make it a requirement. It should be an optional choice."

Several readers weighed in with support for Michael's sentiments. "Hear, hear. I have felt no need to obtain a DNP. I evaluated the coursework of multiple programs. If it was truly ‘clinically based' I would have wanted this degree. I love my work as a practitioner. I have no interest whatsoever in becoming a healthcare administrator, researcher or educator," reader Dana said at

What are your thoughts on the DNP degree? Let us know in the comments below.

For more information on the DNP, check out some of our recent articles:

Return to the ADVANCE for NPs & PAs homepage.


Excuse me if anyone has already said this however, the DNP is not a research-based doctorate. It IS clinical based and it will increase the knowledge, skills, and credibility to make us ( clinical NPs) experts in our field and make us comparable to others who are experts in their field yet also require doctorates (i.e. medical doctors, dentists, audiologists, psychologists, etc). I'm not saying it should be mandatory for those who are already practicing APRNs, however those who are in the process of obtaining their advance practice nursing degrees should strive to have the highest degree in their field and thus improve patient outcomes, credibility, and respect

Ebony, public health - WHNP February 13, 2013 10:03 AM

I agree that money is something that really needs to be considered in this situation. For those of us that have both undergraduate and graduate school loans to pay off and are making less or near our nursing salary, it is too difficult. I'm making the same amount of money I was as a nurse, working more hours, and paying more student loans. Its tough to justify a small salary increase for thousands more dollars owed in student loans.

Erin Tracy, Pulmonary - FNP January 31, 2013 10:45 AM
Des Moines IA

I agree with Michael; I don't think it should be mandatory. I can't afford to go back to school to get this degree - I will never recoup the money spent. I already earn less money as a CNM than I do as an RN. I am not interested in becoming a mover and shaker for health administrations, systems issues, etc. Nor am I interested in conducting research. I want to be a clinician. I have a friend who probably will be starting in an advanced practice program next year. She does not have her master's yet. She's also in her mid-50s and will never make a salary high enough to offset the cost of a DNP program.

Sheila, women's health - CNM January 22, 2013 10:57 PM
Springfield IL

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