The world of nursing is constantly in flux. Innovative technologies and evolving health care laws can create ripple effects in care delivery, while acute issues such as public health crises can cause disruptions to routine processes. These challenges must be met head-on to ensure high-quality patient care.
This is why effective nurse leadership is so crucial. Nurses in senior positions, such as nurse practitioners, can help a facility’s nursing staff navigate these changes and integrate care delivery innovations into their health care strategies.
Becoming a nurse leader requires deep knowledge of health care and care delivery strategies and well-honed leadership skills. One of the best ways to develop this foundation is by earning a terminal degree such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Doing so can open the door to high-paying job opportunities, but there’s more to the role of a D.N.P.-prepared nurse practitioner than salary. Becoming a D.N.P. affords the unique opportunity to make a profound impact on health care delivery — and on patients’ lives.
D.N.P.-Prepared Nurse Practitioner Salary
Nursing is as demanding as it is rewarding and can offer a high level of compensation. One of the many factors that affect nurses’ salaries is education level.
As of May 2021, PayScale reports that the median annual salary for nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree was around $86,500, while for those with a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) it was about $96,000. Those with a D.N.P. had a median annual salary of around $104,000.
Higher salaries often reflect the positions that nurses fill; several advanced roles, such as nurse practitioner, require a minimum of a master’s degree.
Nurse Practitioner Careers with a D.N.P.
Individuals with a D.N.P. can choose from a wide array of career paths. The knowledge and skills developed through a D.N.P. program can be applied in many ways, from guiding the administration of a health care facility to preparing the next generation of nursing professionals.
Nurse educators teach and train prospective nursing students to give them the foundational knowledge and skills associated with quality health care delivery. Those in the role often design and evaluate their own curriculum, which combines academic learning in a class environment and hands-on clinical experience.
Nurse educators typically continue their own education to remain current with health care innovations and government regulations. Because of the unique interactive nature of the role, it’s essential for nurse educators to have strong interpersonal, presentation, critical thinking and organizational skills in addition to leadership competencies. PayScale reports that the median annual salary of nurse educators was around $77,000 as of May 2021.
Those in nurse researcher roles use their analytical skills to study the elements and materials of health care to create and improve medications, treatments and patient care delivery. Nurse researchers typically focus on a specific element of health care, such as disease or pharmaceuticals. The sources they use to gather data can include medical journals, patient observations and results of previous studies.
Nurse researchers document their findings through reports, presentations and journal articles. Strong analytical skills, organizational skills and detail orientation are essential for the nurse researcher role. Good writing and communication skills are critical to report research findings clearly and unambiguously. According to PayScale, the median annual salary of nurse researchers as of May 2021 was approximately $81,500.
Director of Nursing
Directors of nursing oversee all aspects of a health care facility’s nursing unit. They are directly involved with the nursing staff, supervising the hiring, training and development of nurse personnel. They also guide the implementation of new procedures and policies, and work to ensure legal compliance with government regulations.
Additionally, directors of nursing may develop business plans and nursing budgets. Along with strong leadership skills, directors of nursing have solid communication and critical thinking competencies, well-developed analytical skills and the flexibility to adapt to unique situations. PayScale reports that the median annual salary of directors of nursing was about $92,000 as of May 2021.
Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Hospital chief executive officers oversee all aspects of a health care facility’s daily operations, including hiring staff, implementing clinical procedures, complying with government regulations, guiding financial strategy, maintaining the facility’s culture and developing solid relationships within the medical community. They work closely with other C-suite executives and department leaders.
A hospital CEO establishes a facility’s strategic vision in a manner that optimizes care delivery, operational efficiency and public outreach. To do this effectively, they must possess strong leadership, analytical, technical and financial skills, along with fundamental clinical competence. Additionally, they must have well-developed interpersonal, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. PayScale reports that the median annual salary of hospital CEOs was approximately $154,000 as of May 2021.
Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
Chief nursing officers are nonclinical C-suite executives who oversee the nursing staff’s administration. While they don’t directly interact with patients, their duties impact a health care facility’s operational strategies, including work that indirectly impacts patient care. Some of these duties include managing nursing budgets; overseeing nurse recruitment, hiring and development; building new patient services; and representing a facility’s nursing department at board meetings.
CNOs collaborate with the hospital CEO to integrate their duties into a facility’s overall growth and stability strategies. CNOs must possess a foundation of clinical competence, as well as solid leadership, financial, analytical, communication and problem-solving skills. According to PayScale, the median annual salary of CNOs as of May 2021 was around $134,000.
What Are the Other Benefits of Earning a D.N.P. Degree?
While higher earning potential is certainly one of the advantages of a D.N.P., it is far from the only benefit. Because earning a D.N.P. opens a wide range of career options, nurses can focus on a specific element of health care that aligns with their interests. This could mean a specific type of health care facility, such as a hospital, urgent care clinic or long-term care facility, or specializing in an area such as research or education.
A D.N.P. can enable an individual to gain a position of influence that will allow them to help shape the health care landscape. Their combination of leadership skills and an extensive knowledge of care delivery can give them a platform to address national concerns about patient care, advocate for tech-driven care concepts such as electronic health records (EHRs) and AI, or focus on issues of equity.
D.N.P. graduates can also influence the future of health care as mentors, helping prepare the next generation of nurses. This is particularly critical in light of the ongoing nursing shortage; support and mentorship can affect nurse morale and retention.
Make an Impact on a Critical Field
A D.N.P. isn’t just a terminal degree, it’s a sign of your ambition to make a tangible impact on the evolving world of health care. The University of North Dakota’sonline DNP program can help you develop the knowledge and skills you need to make a difference in health care, in the present and for the future. Learn how UND can help you build a remarkable career.
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What Can You Do with a DNP?
Do DNPs make more money than NPs? DNP salaries are generally higher than NP salaries, reflecting their additional training. However, nurse anesthetists, even those with MSNs, often earn more than family practice DNPs. Individual salaries depend on specialty, location, experience, and many other factors.What is the pay difference between NP and DNP? ›
The national average salary for nurse practitioners is $122,054 per year . By contrast, professionals with DNPs earn an average annual income of $110,912 per year . It's important to remember that some of this salary data may overlap, as many NPs hold DNP degrees.What is a DNP top salary? ›
The average income of all DNPs is $157,750 with a ceiling of $205,360 for certain specializations, such as nurse anesthetists.Is a DNP financially worth it? ›
According to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey, registered nurses whose highest education was a DNP reported a median salary of about $100,000, 11% higher than the $90,000 median for those who had earned as much as a master's degree.What type of NP gets paid the most? ›
As a hospitalist NP, you can expect to have one of the highest-paying nurse practitioner jobs. The average yearly wage is about $117,880. And while hourly rates vary based on region and specific hospitals, it is $56.67 on average.What is the highest NP salary? ›
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – $202,514.
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – $132,112.
- Emergency Nurse Practitioner – $126,019.
- Cardiac Nurse Practitioner – $121,163.
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner – $120,263.
- Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner – $120,158.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), DNP programs typically contain three to five years of full-time study. In fact, nurses have comparatively more disruption to their careers and education than other professions according to the AACN.Should an NP get a DNP? ›
Nurse practitioners, including family nurse practitioners (FNPs), often seek a DNP to develop the skills, knowledge and experience needed to deliver high-quality care at the highest levels of practice, or to manage the performance of nursing staff and health care organizations.What are the benefits of DNP over NP? ›
While all nurses in advanced roles have graduate degrees, DNP graduates inherently have a higher level of education than an NP with only a master's degree. Professionals with a DNP degree can hold leadership positions in management or education, as well as advanced clinical roles.Should a DNP go by doctor? ›
Nurses With a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) Should Not Call Themselves “Doctor” in a Clinical Setting - PMC. The . gov means it's official.
The average age of a nurse practitioner is 43.4 years old, but the nurse practitioner age range starts between 20 and 24 years to 65 years old and over. Most nurse practitioners are between 35 and 44 years old, equaling almost 39% of all nurse practitioners in the United States.What percentage of nurses hold a DNP? ›
More than 64% of today's nursing workforce is prepared at the baccalaureate and higher-degree level, but only 1.2% have a DNP degree and 0.6% a PhD, according to American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) statistics.What can a doctor do that a DNP Cannot? ›
M.D: Job Duties. ○ An M.D. can prescribe medications in all 50 states and DC. ○ While a DNP can prescribe medication under their advanced practice registered nurse license, restrictions are depending on the state. ○ An M.D. can practice to the full scope of their license in all 50 states and D.C.Are DNP in demand? ›
#2: The Demand for DNP Nurse Educators Is High.
More than 892 nursing schools reported a total of 1,637 faculty vacancies for the 2019-20 academic year. Approximately 90% of the open positions required or preferred a doctoral degree.
To get your DNP, you will need to complete at least 1000 clinical practice hours, but you can reduce this number by applying some of the hours that you completed in your previous MSN degree. According to some online sources, you can apply up to 500 hours.Which NP specialty is the hardest? ›
- Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. ...
- Oncology Nurse Practitioner. ...
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. ...
- Emergency Nurse Practitioner. ...
- Armed Forces NP. ...
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. ...
- Correctional Nurse Practitioner. ...
- Substance Abuse Nurse Practitioner.
The average annual salary for a Nurse Practitioner is $118,040. The bottom 10% of average annual NP salaries is $79,470. The top 10% is $163,350 per year. The median annual wage for a Nurse Practitioner is $120,680.Are nurse practitioners millionaires? ›
So, are nurse practitioners rich? Once again, rich is a relative word, but nurse practitioners can earn a healthy average wage. The starting salary for a nurse practitioner is $82,969 per year. This income is an excellent way to start your NP career at a very livable wage that will increase with experience.What state pays NPs the most? ›
- 1. California. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the highest paying state for nurse practitioners. ...
- New Jersey. ...
- Washington. ...
- New York. ...
- Massachusetts. ...
- Nevada. ...
- Minnesota. ...
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists earn a median salary of $195,610 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it the top paying nursing specialty. CRNAs typically work 40 hours per week, making the hourly wage average out to approximately $94.04 per hour.
$103,314 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $147,044 is the 75th percentile.Can a DNP perform surgery? ›
Nurses cannot perform surgical procedures independently. Nurses can fill many different roles before, during, and after surgical procedures. Consider additional training or education to get the job you are most interested in.Will DNP be required by 2025? ›
Many NP programs are changing to the DNP degree by 2025. Discover how this move will impact nurses.What do DNP nurses do? ›
With a DNP degree, the nurse can provide medical care to patients. For a DNP degree holder that decides to become a nurse practitioner, he or she will be able to diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, order imaging tests and bloodwork, and provide education to patients about their healthcare.Is an NP as good as a doctor? ›
In the end, a qualified nurse practitioner will give accurate diagnoses, just like physicians. They will provide safe and effective treatment, just like physicians. Their training as nurses also teaches them a great bedside manner that patients love.Does anyone regret becoming an NP? ›
More and more, NPs are balking at the irregular hours of the profession, with those with families feeling it the most acutely. Mothers report that they regret becoming a nurse practitioner when it comes to the job stealing critical time from their family life.Are NPs being phased out? ›
In May 2018, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) announced that all entry-level nurse practitioner education programs would shift from the MSN to the DNP by 2025.Does DNP pay more than MSN? ›
More broadly, the difference between MSN and DNP salary is evident. According to PayScale.com, individuals with a DNP earn a higher average income than those with the MSN: DNP: $102,000 average salary. MSN: $93,000 average salary.Why to do DNP instead of MSN? ›
While an MSN requires a two- to three-year commitment beyond BSN preparedness, the DNP adds additional year(s) of education, preparing nurses for leadership positions. DNP curriculum builds on traditional master-level programs by including evidence-based practice, systems leadership, and quality improvement coursework.Why choose a DNP? ›
With a DNP, you can pursue high-level leadership and executive positions that empower you to affect real change in policy, systems, and practice, and to advocate for the profession and patients.
Those more interested in teaching or exploring theories and making analyses might choose a PhD in Nursing for a career path. If you're more interested in interacting with other nurses, healthcare professionals, and patients on a regular basis, a DNP might be a better fit for your career aspirations.Do grades matter for DNP? ›
Many schools will require a 3.0 GPA to get into nurse practitioner school. Based on the type of NP program you are applying for (MSN or DNP), your GPA will be calculated from your bachelorly or master's degree coursework.How do I write my DNP credentials? ›
For example, an NP certified through the ANCC and AANP respectively would sign his/her name Kyle Andrews, DNP, AGNP-BC, FNP-C. If both certifications are of the same specialty, the name would appear as Kyle Andrews, DNP, AGNP-BC, NP-C. Here are a few more examples: Michelle Adams, DNP, MSN, APRN, ACNP-BC.What is higher than a DNP? ›
Is a DNP the same as a nurse practitioner? No, a DNP is a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and a nurse practitioner (NP) is the title bestowed on a nurse who has at least an MSN degree and has completed the nurse practitioner clinical and didactic requirements.Is DNP the highest degree? ›
A DNP is a doctorate-level degree.
The DNP is designed to help registered nurses who hold a Master of Science (MSN) in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) attain the highest level of education and advance their careers.
A BSN to DNP program may take from three to four years to complete. The shortest DNP programs take between twelve and eighteen months to complete.Is DNP equivalent to MD? ›
A DNP (doctor of nursing practice) and Ph. D. in Nursing are vastly different than an MD (doctor of medicine). The former are highly-trained nurses, and the latter is a physician, with all the scope of practice allowances that come with that title.What does DNP mean after a doctors name? ›
A doctor of nursing practice, or DNP, and a medical degree are both earned following rigorous coursework, and both lead to or accelerate careers in the health care field.How do you address a DNP in a letter? ›
A nurse who holds a doctorate degree, such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or PhD, should still be referred to as "nurse" or their name. To avoid confusion, "doctor" should only be used to address physicians with a medical degree, such as Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).Can you have two DNP degrees? ›
Some dual DNP degree programs pair the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with another specialization area to prepare the graduate for advanced leadership positions focused on patient care. With a dual-degree program, students may earn two degrees simultaneously at an accelerated schedule.
- First and foremost, be prepared to commit to a DNP program. ...
- Research well about different DNP programs and the specializations they offer.
- Give yourself plenty of time to review all the admission requirements.
- Ensure you earn a high GPA.
- Have documentation of your clinical experience.
While all nurses in advanced roles have graduate degrees, DNP graduates inherently have a higher level of education than an NP with only a master's degree. Professionals with a DNP degree can hold leadership positions in management or education, as well as advanced clinical roles.Is NP the highest level of nursing? ›
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
A DNP degree is the highest level of education in the nursing field and prepares nurses for leadership roles in their health care organizations.
You could choose to return to pursue a nursing PhD, but a PhD is the same degree level as a DNP degree. Unlike a PhD which focuses on research, students pursuing a DNP degree receive additional education in evidence-based practice methods, quality improvement, and systems leadership, among other areas.Why hire a DNP? ›
The DNP is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. DNP-prepared nurses are well-equipped to fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers prepared in PhD, DNS, and other research-focused nursing doctorates.What is the point of a DNP? ›
The purpose of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is to prepare advanced practice nurses at the highest professional level of nursing practice and to advance the application of nursing knowledge for the purpose of improving health care to diverse populations.Which nurse practitioner specialty is in highest demand? ›
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and labor statistics, the most in-demand specialties for NP include:
- Family (70.3%)
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (8.9%)
- Psychiatric/Mental Health (6.5%).
- Clinical hour requirement. ...
- Clinical Placements. ...
- Certification Exam. ...
- Demanding and complex schedule. ...
- Continuing to work full time. ...
- Coursework. ...
- Specialization. ...
- Graduate Requirements.