What is the difference in MSN vs. DNP degree and why is a DNP degree preferred for Executive Leadership?

Posted on: August 25th, 2021 by Samantha Jean Miniard

In healthcare, many ask what the difference between a Masters in Science Nursing (MSN) degree and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is? Both degrees are advanced degrees in nursing. The DNP is a terminal degree, the highest achieved. An MSN program focuses on healthcare policy, clinical informatics, theory and evidenced-based practice to improve patient outcomes, and other topics that you will build on in a DNP program. A Doctorate prepared nurse is trained in evidenced-based research and applying the research to practice, leading quality and system leadership initiatives, and is key in influencing and assessing healthcare policy to improve population health and patient outcomes. An MSN prepared nurse can have different advance degrees. One can get a Master in Science Nursing with an Education, Administration, Informatics, Nurse Midwifery, Nurse Anesthetist, or Nurse Practitioner focus. If you have career goals of wanting to become and executive leader in a hospital, or even a chief nursing officer you need to get your DNP degree.

Career Goals: Executive Leadership
Why does one need a DNP in executive nursing? When a nurse is sitting at the table with other hospital leaders, they are surrounded with other professions that are doctorate prepared or even MDs. The Nurse executive needs to be on the same playing field as the other professions. Most healthcare professions have gone to doctorate prepared degrees. The American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) position statement claims any MSN degree seeking a leadership position in an organization should hold a DNP degree. Executive leaders need to be DNP prepared to help advocate and influence healthcare policies and issues that affect population health and healthcare facilities.

Resource & Financial Management
DNP prepared nurses learn about resource management and finances in healthcare. As executive leaders it is important to learn key strategies to help improve healthcare cost and expenditures. Nursing is one healthcare profession that holds executive leadership positions and does not cover finances like other healthcare degrees in leadership roles. A lot of the Executive leaders hold Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degrees that sit at the same table as a nurse executive.

In 2010, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a special report, “ The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Healthcare.” The IOM felt nursing needed to obtain a higher level of degree to help transform healthcare. The healthcare system has become complex and executive leaders need an understanding of how value-based care and quality care impacts finances in a healthcare system, and how to mitigate the rising cost in healthcare. The IOM feels it is important to get nursing involved with improving health of the nation because nursing is the largest group in healthcare. Nurses need to be integrated at the top with other healthcare leaders
to get their unique perspective on improving healthcare.

Career opportunities
Are you still deciding whether you should stop at your MSN or go for the DNP degree? DNP prepared nurses are more likely to get key management positions over an MSN. Getting your DNP can open opportunities that you may not get with an MSN degree. Most hospital systems require their Chief Nursing Operators (CNO) to have a DNP. Having a DNP degree can make you more marketable since there is a small percentage of nurses that have DNP degrees. If you are wanting to be in nursing administration obtaining your DNP will open more doors.

Sources

American Association of College of Nursing (2020). DNP fact sheet.
https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/DNP-Fact-Sheet

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The future of nursing leading change, advancing health.
http://nacns.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/5-IOM-Report.pdf

Ketefian, S. & Redman, R.W. (2015). A critical examination of developments in nursing doctoral education in the United States. National Center for Biotechnology Information, 23(3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4547057/

What is the difference in MSN vs. DNP degree and why is a DNP degree preferred for Executive Leadership?

In healthcare, many ask what the difference between a Masters in Science Nursing (MSN) degree and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is? Both degrees are advanced degrees in nursing. The DNP is a terminal degree, the highest achieved. An MSN program focuses on healthcare policy, clinical informatics, theory and evidenced-based practice to improve patient outcomes, and other topics that you will build on in a DNP program. A Doctorate prepared nurse is trained in evidenced-based research and applying the research to practice, leading quality and system leadership initiatives, and is key in influencing and assessing healthcare policy to improve population health and patient outcomes. An MSN prepared nurse can have different advance degrees. One can get a Master in Science Nursing with an Education, Administration, Informatics, Nurse Midwifery, Nurse Anesthetist, or Nurse Practitioner focus. If you have career goals of wanting to become and executive leader in a hospital, or even a chief nursing officer you need to get your DNP degree.

Career Goals: Executive Leadership
Why does one need a DNP in executive nursing? When a nurse is sitting at the table with other hospital leaders, they are surrounded with other professions that are doctorate prepared or even MDs. The Nurse executive needs to be on the same playing field as the other professions. Most healthcare professions have gone to doctorate prepared degrees. The American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) position statement claims any MSN degree seeking a leadership position in an organization should hold a DNP degree. Executive leaders need to be DNP prepared to help advocate and influence healthcare policies and issues that affect population health and healthcare facilities.

Resource & Financial Management
DNP prepared nurses learn about resource management and finances in healthcare. As executive leaders it is important to learn key strategies to help improve healthcare cost and expenditures. Nursing is one healthcare profession that holds executive leadership positions and does not cover finances like other healthcare degrees in leadership roles. A lot of the Executive leaders hold Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degrees that sit at the same table as a nurse executive.

In 2010, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a special report, “ The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Healthcare.” The IOM felt nursing needed to obtain a higher level of degree to help transform healthcare. The healthcare system has become complex and executive leaders need an understanding of how value-based care and quality care impacts finances in a healthcare system, and how to mitigate the rising cost in healthcare. The IOM feels it is important to get nursing involved with improving health of the nation because nursing is the largest group in healthcare. Nurses need to be integrated at the top with other healthcare leaders
to get their unique perspective on improving healthcare.

Career opportunities
Are you still deciding whether you should stop at your MSN or go for the DNP degree? DNP prepared nurses are more likely to get key management positions over an MSN. Getting your DNP can open opportunities that you may not get with an MSN degree. Most hospital systems require their Chief Nursing Operators (CNO) to have a DNP. Having a DNP degree can make you more marketable since there is a small percentage of nurses that have DNP degrees. If you are wanting to be in nursing administration obtaining your DNP will open more doors.

Sources

American Association of College of Nursing (2020). DNP fact sheet.
https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/DNP-Fact-Sheet

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The future of nursing leading change, advancing health.
http://nacns.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/5-IOM-Report.pdf

Ketefian, S. & Redman, R.W. (2015). A critical examination of developments in nursing doctoral education in the United States. National Center for Biotechnology Information, 23(3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4547057/

Comments are closed.