Doctor of Nursing Practice degree or DNP provides nurses with the highest level of expertise and skills a nurse could possess, making it a terminal degree. It prepares nurses for competency positions such as leadership and health policy. The need for healthcare is constantly rising in the U.S., creating a high demand for DNPs as their responsibilities are similar to those of a physician. So, nurses who want to become physicians without going through medical school can become DNPs instead. 

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DNPs are not just limited to general healthcare and can specialize in diverse areas. Due to a constant rise in demand for DNPs, pursuing it can be rewarding both physically and financially. You can pursue your DNP degree right after completing your Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

Need to know more before making up your mind about a DNP degree? Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about BSN to DNP program.

#1 Duration

The first question that comes to mind is how long is a DNP program

It depends on various factors such as which state the school is located in, its credit requirements, student’s course load, etc. Students who are done with their BSN can take advantage of BSN to DNP programs and get their DNP degree in 3-4 years. However, according to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), it takes a full-time student three years to complete a DNP and a full-time student up to 4 years. 

You also need to have a nurse practitioner license and relevant work experience to complete your degree and start practicing as a DNP.

#2 Requirements

Requirements for a BSN to DNP degree program are different from the rest of the degree programs. It does not require a master’s degree however, you need to have a BSN to apply for a BSN to DNP program. Most schools also require a minimum CGPA of 3.0 as well as nursing experience of at least a year. You can even pursue your DNP degree online from the comfort of your home with the best colleges around the world. 

The online DNP program offers a flexible schedule, especially for those with some personal or family obligations to fulfill.

#3 Specializations

You can pursue diverse specializations in your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. These include but are not limited to:

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP):

FNPs are registered nurses with advanced practice degrees and provide primary health care services to families and individuals of all ages. Their responsibilities are similar to those of a physician.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP):

ACNPs take care of adult patients with complex illnesses, recovering from a surgery or an injury, as they are more immune to catching infections and require an advanced level of care.

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner:

Similar to ACNPS, adult-gerontology nurse practitioners provide primary to acute care to adult patients.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner:

Pediatric nurse practitioners provide primary care to children under the age of 18, i.e., infants, toddlers, and children, as well as guidance to parents and caregivers.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner:

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are responsible for providing direct help to people with mental health disorders and issues.

#4 Responsibilities

DNPs usually work in two roles: leadership & administration and advanced practice nursing (APRN). 

Leadership and administration:

In leadership and administration roles, they play an important role in strengthening executive nurse roles and influencing healthcare results through scientific research. DNPs work in different roles under leadership and administration, some of which are:

  • Nurse Management
  • Organizational leadership
  • Health policy (both state and national)
  • Health informatics systems

Advanced Practice Nursing (APRN):

APRNs provide direct healthcare to individuals. Their responsibilities may include ordering, conducting, and interpreting lab tests as well as x-rays. They may diagnose and treat acute medical illnesses and injuries. They even have prescription rights in some states of the U.S and can prescribe medicines and other treatments. They can also promote health and disease prevention by providing counseling and health education. Their responsibilities may also include maintaining patient records, assisting minor surgeries, and making referrals when required. 

#5 Job Market 

The rising demand for healthcare is increasing the demand for nurse practitioners, creating more jobs in the market. The nurse practitioner is the fastest-growing occupation in the healthcare sector with an expected growth rate of more than 50% over the next ten years. 

Covid pandemic has also contributed to a sudden rise in demand for nurse practitioners. It was ranked second place in the best 100 jobs in 2022 and first in healthcare jobs. As of February 2022, the average salary of a nurse practitioner is $114,708, which is well above the average salary range in the U.S.

#6 Scope of Practice

Different states have a different scope of work for nurse practitioners, i.e., how independently they can work without the supervision of a doctor. The different scopes of practice are full practice, reduced practice, and restricted practice.

In full practice states, nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat acute illnesses, order and interpret lab tests and offer counseling to the patient without the supervision of a doctor. Full practice states in the U.S. include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and Washington.

In reduced practice states, nurse practitioners cannot work independently however, they have some authority as they can only diagnose and treat illnesses but cannot give a prescription without the supervision of a physician. Reduced practice U.S. states include New York, New Jersey, and Ohio.

In restricted practice states, nurse practitioners don’t have any authority and need the supervision of a physician to practice. Restricted practice U.S. states include California, Michigan, and Virginia.

Also, Read: The Role of Nurses in Promoting Healthy Aging


If you are thinking of pursuing a career as a DNP, then go for it! Quality healthcare is becoming essential and as a result, demand for DNPs is rising. Increased demand for high-quality care also increases the demand for hospitals and clinics, thus creating more jobs. 

DNP jobs have great earnings potential as well, so you will have a stable career in this field. Considering the current pandemic situation, you can also pursue your master’s degree online, which means you can get a career of your choice from the comfort of your own home and any school around the world! 

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