1. It’s one of two routes to becoming a nurse practitioner, one of the highest-paid and most in-demand nursing specialties; the other route is to get a Master of Nursing degree. But the American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommends the DNP degree for nurses who want to work as nurse practitioners.
  2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 2016 median pay for Nurse Practitioners was $107,460 per year, meaning half make more than that and half make less. The employment outlook is for 35 percent growth in the number of nurse practitioner jobs between 2014-24, and US News & World Report ranks it No. 2 on a list of The 100 Best Jobs.

    Group photo of DNP students in Spokane
    Doctor of Nursing Practice students who presented their final projects in Spokane on April 27, 2017.
  3. Who’s your doctor? The title “doctor” now means a lot of things: physician, pharmacist, physical therapist and nurse practitioner. In many states, including Washington, Idaho and Oregon, nurse practitioners can operate an independent practice where they diagnose and treat illness, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatments, including prescribing medications.
  4. Nurse practitioners are the backbone of primary care, especially in rural areas, so universities in the West and Midwest are more likely to offer a BSN-to-DNP degree track than those in more populated regions. The WSU College of Nursing has had a BSN-to-DNP program since 2012.
  5. DNPs use research and evidence to improve health care and patient outcomes. Among WSU College of Nursing DNP graduates last spring, for example, one launched a pilot project to get fibromyalgia patients to exercise more and to learn about their condition – treatments that had been proven through previous research to be effective. The pilot was successful, with 83 percent of patients increasing their aerobic exercise and all participants asking for it to be made permanent.

Applications for the DNP program open Aug. 1, to begin classes in the fall of 2018. For more information on the DNP programs offered at the WSU College of Nursing, visit nursing.wsu.edu/graduate-programs